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Types of Birth Control That Clear Acne

Types of Birth Control That Clear Acne Types of Birth Control That Clear Acne Types of Birth Control That Clear Acne

Acne is one of the most irksome issues for a teenager to deal with. But while most people have acne during adolescence, some people still have it in their 30s and 40s, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Acne occurs when glands produce too much oil and the pores become clogged with dirt, debris and bacteria. According to the NIH, acne breakouts can be triggered by hormonal changes, cosmetics and hair products, high levels of humidity and sweating, and certain drugs like steroids, testosterone, estrogen and phenytoin.

Oral Contraceptives

Certain forms of oral contraceptives can help clear acne in women. Most birth control pills contain synthetic estrogen and progesterone, though progesterone only pills are also available. According to Dr. Risa Kagan, author of the article "Acne and Birth Control Pill", pills that contain low doses of estrogen work the best: the low levels of estrogen suppresses androgen production. Androgens stimulate oil gland production, leading to acne formation. In addition, the National Women's Health Information Center also states that birth control pills help to slow down the overactive oil glands in the skin.

Combined with Spironolactone

Both the National Women's Health Information and Dr. Kagan recommend combining an oral contraceptive with an anti-androgen for severe acne. One drug in particular, Spironolactone, works well in treating acne in adult women. Spironolactone is a high blood pressure medication, and possible side effects include breast tenderness, headaches, fatigue and frequent urination.

Combined with Corticosteroids

Corticosteroids, like prednisone and dexamethasone, when used with oral contraceptives, can curb inflammation of the skin and suppress androgen production. However, Dr. Kagan does warn that corticosteroids can aggravate acne in some users and recommends talking to a dermatologist. Dr. Kagan also states that the anti-acne quality of corticosteroids works best when combined with oral contraceptives.

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