Use of Oral Contraceptives in Treating Acne
Acne is a skin condition that occurs when the sebaceous glands release sebum, an oil, from the hair follicles. Sebum, along with bacteria and dead skin cells, can clog the follicles. If acne is mild, it can be treated with over-the-counter face washes and topical medications. If acne is more severe and does not respond to other medications, a dermatologist may prescribe oral contraceptives, also known as birth control or the pill, to help reduce sebum on the skin.
Get a prescription for the pill from your dermatologist. Your dermatologist may decide to treat your acne with oral contraceptives if you have not responded to other prescription treatments. Your doctor may prescribe ethinyl estradiol and norgestimate, ethinyl estradiol and norethindrone, or ethinyl estradiol and drospirenone, which can help reduce acne, reports the Mayo Clinic. Your primary care doctor or gynecologist can also prescribe birth control pills.
Get an internal examination and pap smear from a gynecologist if required. Your gynecologist may also give you a pregnancy test, because birth control pills may cause birth defects.
Take the oral contraceptive medication exactly as directed. Birth control pills must be taken every day at the same time in order to be effective, and it may take several months for your body to get used to the medication in order to see results. If you skip a dose or stop using the medication, your acne is likely to return and you may require additional acne treatment.
Consult your doctor if you experience side effects. Side effects of birth control pills may include nausea, changes in mood, spotting, changes in weight, headaches and breast soreness.
Use oral contraceptives alongside other acne medications, if directed. The Mayo Clinic suggests that oral contraceptives may be more effective in clearing acne if they are combined with a topical medication that contains benzoyl peroxide.
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