Answering 7 Common Questions About Using Birth Control Pills for Acne
Let’s face it: treating acne is a frustrating, and at times, embarrassing ordeal. If you’ve tried everything, from anti-acne diets to derma-approved skincare, and still get abysmal results, then maybe you ought to consider birth control pills.
You might be confused, after all, controlling acne is not its intended purpose.
However, believe it or not, many young women turn to birth control pills to treat hormonal acne. If you want to find out how it works and how you can incorporate it into your routine, keep on reading.
How does birth control pills treat acne?
Combination birth control pills is the type of birth control that works against acne. It should contain both estrogen and progestin hormones in order to be effective. Taking this kind of birth control can help decrease the amount of testosterone in the body. Therefore, less testosterone = reduced production of oil/sebum = reduced chances of blocked powers that cause acne formation.
When should I consider taking birth control pills for acne?
Combination birth control pills can not only treat hormonal acne, it can also help get rid of blackheads, whiteheads, and inflammatory acne. Your dermatologist may endorse this treatment option when other solutions like topical acne creams fall short of the desired effects.
Are there any restrictions when taking birth control pills for acne?
Combination birth control pills are typically safe and effective, but despite that, they aren’t for everyone. One should undoubtedly have started menstruation and has to be at least 14 or 15 years old. We recommend consulting with a health care provider so they can properly evaluate and ensure that there are no present health conditions that may affect your risks with birth control pills for acne.
Do not take birth control pills for acne if you:
- Are pregnant or trying to get pregnant
- Are over 35 years old
- Are a smoker
- Have high blood pressure or any vascular disease
- Have a history of migraines, blood clots, breast or uterine cancer
This is because estrogen-containing birth control pills can increase the risk of stroke if you have a history of migraines, blood clots, or high blood pressure. This is also true for women who are 35 years and older, especially if they are a smoker. In the case of breast or uterine cancer, birth control pills may possibly make the cancer come back.
Any side effects I should watch out for?
Birth control pills come with side effects, as with all medications. Although, changing the type of birth control or dose may help. These are the most common birth control side effects:
- Headaches, dizziness, or fainting
- Stomach cramps
- Weight gain or loss
- Changes in period
- Breast tenderness
It may take some experimentation before landing on a pill that works best for you.
How does it compare to using anti-acne topical treatments?
Like any other topical treatment, using birth control for acne will take some time. You should allow your body to get used to the new hormone levels. Sometimes, your skin may go through purging or flare-ups before things get better. But don’t worry, this is only temporary and should improve as your hormone levels acclimate. Expect your skin to improve within 2 to 3 months of beginning birth control pills.
One should also be open to the fact that it can possibly make your acne worse. Remember, everybody reacts differently to treatments, similar to topical solutions. What may be effective for your favorite influencer may not work for you.
I started birth control pills for acne, does this mean I should stop my topical skincare?
Combination birth control pills shouldn’t be treated as a solo solution to all your acne problems. It’s best to stick to whatever topical treatments you already have in your anti-acne arsenal including spot treatments and salicylic acid. It’s also important to keep your skin extra hydrated as your skin is producing less oil than normal. Go for an oil-free moisturizer that can hydrate your skin without the excess greasiness.
Also, never skip sunscreen. According to dermatologists, birth control pills can make melasma, aka sun spots, worse. Wear sunscreen even if you’re indoors as UV rays can pass through glass windows.
I want to treat my acne from the inside, but is there a way I can avoid the birth control side effects?
Yes, taking over-the-counter anti-acne medications like Lactoferrin + d-Alpha Tocopheryl Acetate + Zinc (Lactezin) will not give you the unwanted birth control side effects mentioned above. It is specifically formulated to help treat and prevent pimples in as early as 2 weeks.
It uses an iron-binding protein called Lactoferrin that helps fight pimple-causing bacteria and reduce sebum and inflammation. It also has Vitamin E that helps fight free radical skin damage and Zinc which has oil-regulating properties to help improve skin appearance.
Lactoferrin + d-Alpha Tocopheryl Acetate + Zinc (Lactezin) is available in all leading drugstores nationwide. You may also purchase online through Lazada and Shopee.
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