If you are a woman with chronic acne, you are most likely prescribed a birth control pill as a solution.
And the question is: does it work? Should you use this to cleanse your skin from acne?
And if you are going to use it, are there any that better than others relieve acne?
So, let's start with the first question.
Does a birth control pill stop acne?
In many cases, yes. I testify that when I was a teenager for two years I was taking the slow-release hormonal contraceptive (Depo Provera). And my skin was amazing.
But of course, clean skin came at a cost. Other side effects of Depo-Provera's blow that I experienced included hunger and weight gain, possibly some bone loss, and a rare side effect when my vagina seemed to be stabbed if you touched it.
So it pushed me a little.
I stopped it, and then my acne began to appear again. On the other hand, at least my vagina was no longer like knives.
This does not mean that the control shot cured acne. No, he just crushed it while I was on it.
Hormonal birth control does this by completely blocking your natural hormones with its synthetic versions. This forces your hormonal system in a straight line, often preventing the cyclic breakouts that we may experience.
Please note that in the above photo, the straight lines are fake estrogens and progestin tablets. Your natural hormones will actually be recorded as close to 0 in the test. Therefore, it is important to note that it is useless to test your hormones on tablets.
Birth control pills can clear acne, but with side effects
What I am saying is that yes, often contraceptives help get rid of acne and other hormonal symptoms.
But usually this is accompanied by a number of other crappy side effects, disconnection from the true health of our body, and there are risks with prolonged use.
And he never heals acne, he just covers them until you get rid of them, after which you may find that it actually got worse.
This is another important thing to keep in mind … women often experience worse acne for some time after they stop taking the pills, which you will probably need at some point in your life.
This is called a terrible “breakthrough after taking the pills.”
For this reason, I do not recommend this solution solely to eliminate acne. There are healthier ways to get rid of acne.
However, birth control is very personal for women. Some women do not experience the negative side effects of hormonal contraception, like many.
And for many of us we have acne And we must protect ourselves from pregnancy. So in some cases it may seem that it makes sense to go further and use it.
Of course, there are other methods of contraception … for example, I have not had a hormonal copper IUD for almost 10 years, and I like it.
But if you decide that the pros outweigh the cons and hormonal birth control for you, then you can also choose a pill that is likely to cleanse your skin.
And the reason I say this is because not all birth control pills are created equal when it comes to cleansing acne.
Some clean up acne while others can actually cause it.
What birth control pills remove acne?
So, first of all, let's admit that the pill is not the only option in the country of hormonal contraception.
There are many different forms of hormonal contraception classified by delivery method. For example, a daily pill, a three-month injection, a slow-release implant under the skin, a ring that you put on the cervix, a patch on your arm, or an IUD in the uterus.
However, they all work the same way: using synthetic hormones to disrupt signals from the pituitary gland that tell your ovaries that it's time to ovulate.
What kind of hormones they use plays an important role in whether a contraceptive helps get rid of acne or worsen it.
Against acne and combination pills against mini-pills
There are almost two types.
One type contains a combination of synthetic estrogen (“ethinyl estradiol”) and synthetic progesterone (aka progestin).
Another type of birth control pill contains only progestin (sometimes known as “mini pill").
Many sustained release methods, such as Depo Provera shot, implant and hormonal IUDs, are also available only for progestin.
There are also many different types of progestin that can be used, which also affects whether a particular brand of birth control pills is acnegenic or not.
In general, options that contain both estrogen and progestin are better for acne. Progestin-only options have the potential to aggravate acne.
This also suggests that there is actually nothing black and white. The Depo Provera shoot that I used as a teenager is for progestin only and is known to aggravate acne, and for me it completely cleared me up.
The type of progestin used matters when it comes to acne.
The presence or absence of estrogen in tablets is not the only factor in skin cleansing. The tablet should also have the right type of progestin.
Many types of progestins are androgenic, which means they look like male hormones that aggravate acne.
If you are wondering if your brand of birth control pills has acnegenic progestin in your brand, compare the type of progestin with the following lists.
Please note that this list of progestins and brands is not exhaustive – there are other possible progestins, and you will need your own research to find out if they are acnegenic or not.
Progestins that are known to aggravate acne, especially the top four on this list:
- Norgestrel (e.g., low / oval)
- Levenorgestrel (e.g. Alesse)
- Desogestrel (e.g. Mircette)
- Gestodes (e.g. Femoden)
- Etonogestrel (e.g. NuvaRing)
- Norethindrone (e.g., Aygestin)
- Noretendron acetate (e.g., Ortho Micronor)
- Ethynodiol Diacetate (e.g., Femulen)
- Norethinodrel (e.g., eidoid)
- Norgestimate (e.g., Ortho Tri-Cyclin)
Progestins that contain antiandrogenic properties that are likely to help cleanse your skin:
- Cyproterone Acetate (e.g. Diana-35)
- Chlormadinone Acetate (e.g., Belara)
- Dienogest (e.g. Claira)
- Drospirenone (e.g., Yaz)
Please note that, unfortunately, these specific antiandrogenic progestins also seem to have a higher risk of fatal blood clots (although the real chances of getting one of them are still low).
In particular, I would be very careful to stay away from Diana-35, which, although very effective in cleansing acne, is also very dangerous in terms of clot formation. It is not even approved as a contraceptive.
So, which brands of birth control pills are best for acne?
So far, we know that to eliminate acne we need a pill or hormonal method, in which there is both estrogen and progestin. And that progestin should be antiandrogenic.
Another consideration is to find a pill or method that contains a low dose of estrogen (35 mcg or less). Higher estrogen levels can lead to more unpleasant side effects, but lower doses also do not seem to reduce acne cleansing effects. So go on a low dose.
Keep in mind, this does not reduce the potential risk of a clot with these specific progestins.
So, here is a list of them to consider:
Yaz, Yazmin or Beyaz (or any of their common names: Ocella, Syeda, Zarah, Gianvi, Loryna, Nikki, Vestura and Rajani)
Claira (or other names: Valletta or Climodien)
One that sounds like it is the safest in terms of clot formation, as well as with all these other benefits, is called Belara (also called Lutéran and Prostal).
Remember, this article was written mainly if you are already taking hormonal birth control, have weighed your options and want to stay on it.
Please think long and hard about starting taking birth control pills only for acne.
For one, it’s risky, but for two it’s just a delay in the problem. This is certainly not a cure. As already mentioned, many women believe that their skin becomes even worse after quitting smoking.
It may also take several months, usually about six, to completely cleanse the skin during birth control. Some of them will also flare up during the first three months of use before it cleanses your skin.
So this is not a magic wand.
It still takes time, and at this time you could use healthy lifestyle changes and supplements that are more likely to work even faster and better and keep you clean for a long time.
But what if you want to get rid of pills, but are afraid of acne?
Maybe you are in a place where you are under birth control and most likely you will not accept it, but fear stuck after fear.
I totally understand that!
There are safe and effective ways to get rid of the pill without a terrible breakthrough of the pill. Some people use excommunication as a successful strategy.
But diet, lifestyle and nutritional supplements can also be used successfully to prevent serious outbreaks, whether you are weaning or not.
If you need my help navigating the tablet and without it, contact me at Naturally Clear Skin Academy.
What is your story with hormonal birth control and acne? Drop us a line in the comments!