Birth Control As Acne Medication
Most acne medications are topical skin creams and gels. There are some oral medications such as Accutane, which can decrease acne, but may have dangerous side effects. One oral medication which is often overlooked as an acne treatment is a birth control pill. Due to the effect birth control pills have on a woman's hormones, they may significantly reduce acne in women.
Birth Control Pills
According to the Mayo Clinic, there are several different types of birth control pills, also called oral contraceptives, which women can take. They state that three commonly used birth control pills which have been approved by the FDA include Ortho Tri-Cyclen, Estrostep and Yaz. These birth control pills all contain a combination of the hormones estrogen and progestin.
Acne is formed when sebum, which is very similar to oil, builds up in the pores of your skin until a pore becomes clogged. When a pore becomes clogged the inflammation and redness of a pimple is formed. The Mayo Clinic states that birth control pills reduce the amount of sebum in your skin. With less sebum, you have less of a chance of your pores becoming clogged.
The Mayo Clinic states that the FDA has approved the use of Ortho Tri-Cyclen, Estrostep and Yaz to treat acne in women. This is because they clear up sebum and stop pores from getting clogged. The Mayo Clinic recommends using birth control pills with other acne treatments, such as benzoyl peroxide for the best results. They also state that it may take several months of using birth control pills before you start to notice any difference in your skin.
The Mayo Clinic states that common side effects of birth control pills include headaches, decrease libido and depression. Columbia University's Go Ask Alice health answering service states that many women gain weight as a side effect of taking birth control pills. Some of the lower-hormone birth control pills may not cause weight gain but may not be as effective in decreasing acne.
It is important to discuss the risks and benefits of birth control pills with your doctor before asking for a prescription. Taking birth control pills may also increase your risk of blood clots and heart disease so it is especially pertinent to consider the risks if your family has a history of heart disease. The Mayo Clinic also states the birth control pills may raise some women's blood pressure, presenting greater risk to heart health.
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