Acne and Birth Control

Much has been written about birth control pills and how they interact with the body.  Once used exclusively to keep you from getting pregnant, today they are also used for controlling acne in some women. There is, however, conflicting information out there regarding the effectiveness of using birth control to fight breakouts. 

 To understand how it works we need to take a look at oral contraception and what is found within those pills we pop every morning.

 There are three primary oral contraceptives on the market today; Ortho Tri-cyclen, Estrostep and Yaz. Birth Control pills decrease the amount of testosterone in a woman’s system.  This decrease in testosterone reduces the amount of oils produced by the skin. The amount of oils becomes relative to the amount of dead skin cells clogging pores leading to acne breakouts. The idea here is less oils on the skin means fewer blockages and a reduction in the number of breakouts.

 For women on birth control pills, this can be a very nice little extra. They get the benefits of the oral contraceptive and at the same time have clearer skin. I really liked this benefit myself, especially when I was in college. I could enjoy my night out more while still looking great.  Today it’s a triple advantage. Reduced acne, great skin and I can enjoy sex with my man more.

 However, you should keep in mind that there are some women whose body chemistry makes them predisposed to having these oral contraceptives actually increase acne breakouts. Talk to your physician or your dermatologist about using oral contraceptives for controlling breakouts.  If you are one of the unlucky few who are affected rest assured there are alternatives that can keep your skin on track.


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