How does birth control help acne?

How does birth control help acne?
How does birth control help acne?

“The Pill” helps you call the shots when it comes to pregnancy, but did you know it can also help control hormonally caused acne? But all oral contraceptives aren’t created equal—especially when it comes to the skin—and research has shown that a pill that combines estrogen with a medication called c... yproterone acetate is your best bet for preventing pregnancy and pimples.

How the pill stops acne
The root cause of acne is hormones, and your complexion is affected as their levels go up and down throughout your monthly cycle. The male hormone testosterone (yes, women have it, too!) tells the skin to produce more oil, which increases the chances of clogged pores and breakouts. The estrogen found in most birth control pills counteracts the oil-stimulating effect of testosterone, in turn minimizing hormonal acne.

Why your prescription might change
Since the debut of oral birth control in 1960, we’ve seen four distinct generations of pills with different hormone variations and combinations. Recent studies have shown that the second-generation oral contraceptive is actually safer than more recent versions, especially when it comes to the risk of clot formation in the legs. But keep in mind that this potential side effect is very rare regardless of the specific birth control you take, but doctors have become more cautious in recent years so don’t be surprised if your physician recommends you switch.

What can I expect if I switch pills?
Fourth generation birth control pills that combine estrogen and cyproterone acetate have a stronger anti-acne effect, so it’s common to experience a worsening of acne before it gets better. If you’re trading a third or fourth generation pill for a safer second generation version, you’re unlikely to experience an acne flare-up as your body acclimates.

What if the pill’s off-limits?

If the pill isn’t for you, whether for medical reasons or personal preference, talk to your doctor about alternative anti-acne strategies, there are many ways to win the battle against blemishes!

This article is intended as general information only.  You should seek advice from a professional before starting any new regime or course of conduct.