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Can Birth Control Make Acne Worse?

By Mary Smith. Updated: January 16, 2017
Can Birth Control Make Acne Worse?

Dermatologists have been considering birth control a good treatment against acne for decades. However, many women are worried that it might make acne actually even worse. Severe cases of acne are caused by a disruption of hormones levels in the body, something that can be treated with the contraceptive pill. However, there are some things that need to be considered before using this treatment, as every woman will have different needs. In this OneHowTo article we're going to explain whether birth control can make acne worse.

You may also be interested in: How to Prevent Acne

How birth control treats acne

There is a very close relationship between hormones and acne. Acne is produced by a excess of sebum, which clogs the pores and helps bacteria to grow, causing pimples. There is a group of hormones in the body that, if found in excess, creates more sebum than normal. These hormones are called androgens, a group that includes testosterone.

Birth control pills that contain estrogens and progesterone can control testosterone and lower the levels of androgens, reducing the sebum in our body and thus reducing acne.

However, although all the pills contain estrogens, not every pill available in the market contains the same forms of progesterone. For this reason, some will be more successful when it comes to treat acne.

Best types of birth control to treat acne

As previously said, all the pills contain estrogen and progesterone, but different pills contain different forms of progesterone, some better to treat acne than others. There are three different types of contraceptives accepted by the FDA (United States Food and Drug Administration) to treat acne:

  1. Ortho Tri-cyclen. It uses estrogen combined with a type of progestin called norgestimate. Progestin is a synthetic, man-made form of progesterone.
  2. Estrostep. It uses estrogen with norethindrone, another form of progestin.
  3. YAZ. It uses estrogen combined with drospirenone, another man-made form of progestin. However, according to the FDA, birth control pills that contain drospirenone may increase the risk for blood clots compared to pills containing other forms of progestins. Other brands that contain drospirenone are Beyaz, Yasmin, Zarah and Ocella.
Can Birth Control Make Acne Worse? - Best types of birth control to treat acne

Can the pill make acne worse?

Taking birth control shouldn't make acne worse, however, it is very important that you check with your doctor which type of birth control is the best for you. Birth control pills change the levels of hormones in your body, which could lead to complications if not taken properly.

Regardless of it, many women still experience severe break outs of acne right after starting their contraceptive treatment. These break outs might be caused because the body hasn't got used to the pill yet, and they usually disappear within two or three months.

However, if you have just started taking the pill and you experience severe acne, visit your gynecologist as soon as possible so he/she can make the appropriate diagnose.

Tips to make the most of birth control as an acne treatment

Some things need to be considered when treating acne with contraceptives for getting the best results:

  • Continue taking any other acne treatment that you were taking before. Birth control will tackle the problem from the inside, but it is necessary to carry out a good skin hygiene as well.
  • Be sure to follow the indicated schedule for birth control pills.
  • Talk with your doctor about the possible effects of contraceptives.
  • Talk with your doctor about any other medication you're taking. Some types of antibiotics taken with contraceptive pills may make it necessary to use back-up forms of contraceptives.

Should you start taking contraceptive pills to treat acne?

Although contraceptive pills might help treat acne, doctors only recommend using birth control pills if the main reason for using them is for contraceptive purposes. Birth control pills work well as a contraceptive method but have many side effects that can vary depending on the person.

Talk with your doctor before starting any contraceptive or acne method, he/she will know which method is the best in your particular case.

If you want to read similar articles to Can Birth Control Make Acne Worse?, we recommend you visit our Beauty & Personal Care category.

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