Acne treatment Acne treatment

Birth Control That Fights Acne

Birth Control That Fights Acne


Acne, a common skin disease, causes our skin to breakout and become inflamed. It affects all ages, and while it can occur anywhere on your body, it usually appears on your face, neck, shoulders, chest, back and/or upper arms. Some types of acne can be treated by birth control pills with or without other medications. There are a number of side effects and risks to using birth control, so be sure to talk with your physician about the pros and cons of this treatment option.

Causes of Acne

According to the U.S. National Institutes of Health, acne occurs when the oil glands at the base of your skin pores produces too much oil, causing the pore to become blocked with accumulating dirt and bacteria. There are numerous causes of acne, including changes in hormones levels that can cause the oil glands under your skin to enlarge and make too much oil. Genetics can also play a role in acne. You can inherit the tendency to develop acne from your parents. Some medications and greasy cosmetics can also cause acne by causing cells to stick together and block the pore.

Who Birth Control Helps

Birth control pills can help women who have fluctuating hormones, women with premenstrual acne flares and women with excessive androgen production. Birth control can be used alone or in conjunction with other medications.

How They Work

The Mayo Clinic reports that there are three types of birth control approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat acne in women: ethinyl estradiol and norgestimate, ethinyl estradiol and norethindrone, and ethinyl estradiol and drospirenone.

Birth control pills can help reduce or clear up acne in a number of ways. The Nemours Foundation reports that birth control pill can help stabilize fluctuating hormones that can cause acne. By keeping those hormones under control, acne can be controlled. The National Women's Health Information Center highlights birth control's ability to help clear acne by slowing down oil glands. Women with hormonal acne can also benefits by the reduced androgen produced by their ovaries, according to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. Androgen stimulates the skin's oil glands.

Side Effects

According to the National Women's Health Information Center, side effects can include irregular menstruation, breast tenderness, fatigue and headaches. Additional side effects identified by the Mayo clinic include decreased sex drive, depression and nausea and vomiting.


Risks identified by the Mayo Clinic include an increased risk of blood clots, high blood pressure, heart disease and high potassium. There are also potential fetal problems if you take birth control pills while pregnant.

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