What Birth Control Pill Is Best For Acne – Confusingly, women are more likely to suffer from acne in adulthood than men, suggesting that hormones may play an important role. Perhaps not surprisingly, many women find that changing birth control affects their skin. In this article, we’ll look at birth control methods (such as the pill, patch, or copper IUD) that can help or hinder your efforts to remove blemishes.
Acne is a very common skin condition, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t bothersome. This causes black, white or red spots on the face. Some people also get acne on their back or chest.
What Birth Control Pill Is Best For Acne
While it’s true that acne is common among young people (about eight out of 10 teenagers will develop it at some point), it can also affect older people.
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There are many myths about the causes of spots. Some people think it’s related to eating certain foods like chocolate or fizzy drinks or poor hygiene, but it’s usually garbage. No specific foods are recommended to treat acne, but a healthy, balanced diet is probably the best for your skin.⁷ Avoiding oil-based products and removing makeup at the end of every day probably helps too.⁷ However, the best explanation for acne is hormonal changes, and so it tends to flare up during and after a rocky ride.
Certain hormones cause the glands in your skin to produce more oil (called sebum) than normal. Sebum can interact with normally harmless bacteria on the skin, causing inflammation and pus. Some hormones also thicken the hair follicles, causing the pores to become clogged.
Have you noticed that there are more spots on the moon at certain times? You are not alone. Your menstrual cycle can have a big impact on your skin. Acne is also a common symptom of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a condition that can also cause irregular periods and excess unwanted hair. Check out our guide to PCOS and talk to your GP or one of The Lowdown’s gynecologists if the symptoms sound familiar.
Our skin glands are very sensitive to hormones called androgens. Androgens are sometimes called male hormones, but they are produced by both men and women. Read more on our androgen blog. Androgens cause our skin to produce more sebum, which often leads to blemishes.
How Birth Control Affects Acne
Estrogen – one of the main hormones involved in the menstrual cycle – has the opposite effect on sebum production. Experts believe that high estrogen levels reduce sebum production by preventing the ovaries from producing androgens. This may explain why some women get acne before their period when estrogen levels drop.
Progesterone is the second major hormone involved in the menstrual cycle. It is not yet clear how progesterone affects acne. But some studies show that it can make skin problems worse.
Therefore, hormonal birth control affects your skin. As a general rule, combination methods with both estrogen and progestin (a synthetic form of progesterone) improve acne, while progestin-only birth control can cause breakouts or worsening. acne in some people.
But remember that it is not for everyone. As you can see from our user-generated reviews, some people find that birth control gives them a clearer complexion, while others find that the same procedure makes it worse! Star Flower Oil is also said to help clear skin by maintaining a healthy skin barrier to prevent further flare-ups – which you can buy directly from The Lowdown!
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The good news is that people who take combination pills often see improvement in their acne. Some people are prescribed combination pills to clear their skin even though they don’t need birth control.
Research¹ shows that women with acne who take the combined pill tend to have better skin compared to people who don’t use birth control. But different pills can have very different results.
And after starting the pills, it may take a few months to see a noticeable improvement in your skin. Some people’s skin gets worse even after starting a new pill, but it usually goes away after a few months.
There isn’t a ton of research on which brands of combined pills are most likely to improve acne, but researchers think the type of progestogen in them makes a difference. One study² found that pills containing a progestogen called drospirenone were most helpful in controlling acne. It also concluded that pills containing levonorgestrel and norethindrone are less beneficial.
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Brand names of pills that contain drospirenone include Yasmin, Eloine, and Lucette. Drospirenone is known as an antiandrogen because it reduces the effects of male hormones such as testosterone.
You can buy Yasmin and other drospirenone pills here at The Lowdown. You can also view more information on our product pages here, such as the side effects of Yasmin.
You may have heard that the Dianette pill can help treat acne. This pill contains a progestogen called cyproterone acetate, which, like drospirenone, blocks the production of androgens. Dianette was previously a licensed contraceptive in the UK, but Dianette has a higher (smaller) risk of dangerous blood clots than other birth control pills. Because of this, Dianette is no longer prescribed just for contraception.
Doctors sometimes prescribe Dianette to treat moderate to severe acne and excessive facial or body hair in young women when other treatment options have failed. Dianette offers birth control for women who need it to treat these conditions, but it is not prescription birth control. You can see Dianette’s reviews here.
Best Contraceptive Pill For Acne
The birth control patch (such as Evra) and vaginal ring (NuvaRing) prevent pregnancy by releasing small amounts of progesterone and estrogen into the body. Like the combined pill, these birth control methods can improve acne in some women.
One study³ found that women who used the ring had less acne than women who took the combined birth control pill. But more research is needed on the effect of these contraceptives on the skin.
Popular brands of progestogen-only pills (also called minipills) include Cerazette, Cerelle, and Hana birth control. This type of birth control does not contain estrogen.
Some women find that the mini-pill has many benefits – especially if they are experiencing side effects from the combined pill. But unfortunately, progestogen-only pills have not been found to help improve acne. Some women find that taking the mini pill makes their skin worse. This may be because the mini-pill contains only progestagen, which can cause the skin to produce sebum that clogs pores.
Birth Control For Acne: What Types Of Acne Can Birth Control Treat?
Women who use the birth control shot or implant also often report worsening acne, since these methods are progestagen-only.
A hormonal IUD (or IUS), like the Mirena IUD, slowly releases progestogen (usually levonorgestrel) into your uterus to prevent pregnancy. This method of birth control does not contain estrogen. This is great if you don’t want to think about birth control for years. Some women experience more acne after a hormonal IUD, but the amount of progestogen in the IUD is lower than birth control pills, so the skin may have a less noticeable effect.
If you’ve sworn off hormonal birth control because you hate the side effects, rest assured that hormone-free methods like copper IUDs, condoms, or using an app like Natural Cycles aren’t necessarily making your acne worse.
But if you’ve switched from a hormonal combination contraceptive (such as the pill, patch, or vaginal ring) to one without hormones, you may notice some changes in your skin. This is because the birth control you took in the past may have helped prevent flare-ups.
What’s The Best Birth Control Pill For You?
If you’ve tried birth control with both estrogen and progestin and found it doesn’t help your acne, or you can’t get off the combined pill, patch, or ring, talk to your family doctor about Other acne treatments may help. Possible options include creams with ingredients such as benzoyl peroxide or retinoids. They may even recommend antibacterial cream or antibiotic pills.
Don’t suffer in silence. Acne is weird, but there are many effective treatment options. Your GP should be able to help find the right one for you and if you want more advice on the best birth control for acne, our team of GPs at Women’s Health have virtual appointments available at hours that suit you, including weekends!
Natalie is a London-based freelance science journalist, copywriter and content strategist who has written about science and health for various print and online publications for many years. Formerly Editor-in-Chief of Patient, he has also written for publications including WIRED UK, What?, Nature, The Times and Harper’s Bazaar. Natalie loves interviewing interesting people and her superpower is conveying complex information in a clear and engaging way. Although there are many different types of acne with different causes, hormonal acne usually affects adult women. For some, birth control pills may help.
Hormonal acne occurs due to changes in the secretion of certain hormones, along with
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