Acne is no easy condition. It can lead to social isolation, permanent skin scarring and even anxiety in severe cases.
One of the most effective forms of acne treatments is birth control pills. Dermatologists have been using it for decades to help women achieve healthier, clearer skin. Despite this, only three specific birth control pills have been FDA approved to treat acne.
The advantage of using birth control to treat acne is the fact that it doubles as a contraceptive.
Most dermatologists recommend it after other acne treatments have failed to provide relief, particularly oral antibiotics and topical creams. However, there are still some risks associated with taking birth control for acne. Use this information to make a decision that best suits you.
How Does it Help?
Dermatologists have long since known there is a relationship between hormones and acne. Many women have consistently experienced breakouts during their premenstrual cycle which denotes their acne problems relate back to their hormone levels. However, it can persist far beyond the childbearing years and into menopause.
The belief is that acne is triggered by excess sebum production. Sebum is the oil your glands in your skin produce. It can promote bacteria growth alongside skin cells which do the same. Equally, androgens, a group of hormones, encourage your skin to produce sebum.
The ovaries are responsible for producing low levels of androgens, but for some, they produce higher levels of the hormone which can lead to excess sebum production. Because birth control pills contain both estrogen and progesterone, they help regulate the level of androgens in the body. This, in turn, reduces the impact of acne on the skin by lessening the levels of sebum it produces.
Risks Associated with Birth Control
There are several risks tied to the use of birth control pills which you need to be aware of. These include:
- Heart Attack
- Dangerous Blood Clots
- Migraine headaches
- Liver and gallbladder disease
- Depression and mood changes