Acne treatment Acne treatment

Birth Control Pills & Acne

Birth Control Pills & Acne Birth Control Pills & Acne Birth Control Pills & Acne


There are a few ways that acne is formed. Blackheads and whiteheads can occur when overactive sebaceous glands block and clog pores. Dead skin cells also shed and clog the inside of pores where the hair follicle grows. Hormonal acne, a type of acne caused by menstruating, may not respond to typical acne treatments. In this situation, your doctor may recommend taking birth control pills to help regulate your hormones and prevent breakouts.

FDA-Approved Medications

There are three birth control formulations that have been approved by the FDA for treatment of acne, ethinyl estradiol and norgestimate (brand name Ortho Tri-Cyclen), ethinyl estradiol and norethindrone (brand name Estrostep) and ethinyl estradiol and drospirenone (brand name Yaz). These medications combine the female sex hormones estrogen and progestin. The Office on Women's Health reports that, "sometimes, birth control pills are used along with a drug called spironolactone to treat acne in adult females. This medication lowers levels of the hormone androgen in the body. Androgen stimulates the skin's oil glands."

How It Works

Oral contraceptives reduce sebum, the oils that accumulate in the pores and cause inflammation. Because birth control pills only help control the oil-stimulating hormones, if you have acne caused by dead skin cells or bacteria in your pores, you won't see an improvement with oral contraceptives. That's why the Mayo Clinic recommends continuing to use benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid treatments.

Seeing Improvment

It could take several weeks or months before you start noticing an improvement after starting birth control pills. Some people also report seeing their acne getting worse before seeing an improvement.

Side Effects

Like any medications, birth control pill can have side effects. Some people report having headaches, changes in menstruation, tenderness in the breasts, nausea, lower libido and depression. Oral contraceptives can also raise your risk for developing heart disease, high blood pressure, high potassium and blood clots, especially if you're over the age of 35 and smoke cigarettes.

Of course, if you are planning to get pregnant, you should not take birth control pills.

Who is At Risk

If you are over the age of 35 and smoke cigarettes, have a family history of cardiovascular disease; breast, uterine or liver cancer; or blood clots (called deep vein thrombosis), your doctor may suggest avoiding medications with estrogen and progestin, especially if you have a sister, mother or grandmother with these health problems. Your risk is lower if you have female cousins or other distant relatives with serious health conditions.

For Men

Men with severe acne will not benefit from taking oral contraceptives because the same hormones that cause breakouts in women do not affect them.

Related Articles

Acne & Conceiving
Overview Acne is a relatively common skin problem that may vary in presentation and severity from pe...
Acne & Contraceptives
Overview Around 85 percent of teens will get acne at some point, says the American Academy of Dermat...
Yasmin Birth Control & Acne
Overview Acne, an extremely common skin condition that affects nearly everyone at some point, usuall...
Birth Control & Acne Medicine
Overview For teenage girls and young women who are in their 20s and 30s, there are many causes for a...
Birth Control As Acne Medication
Overview Most acne medications are topical skin creams and gels. There are some oral medications suc...
Birth Control That Fights Acne
Overview Acne, a common skin disease, causes our skin to breakout and become inflamed. It affects al...

Comment «Birth Control Pills & Acne»