Taking a contraceptive pill is a responsible choice if you want to avoid getting pregnant for any reason. Birth control pills are a prescription medication, so you’ll need to work with your doctor to find one that works for your needs. As with any medication, there are some side effects to keep in mind. They aren’t all bad ones, though. In fact, using a contraceptive pill can help alleviate acne and provide relief from skin issues that you might be dealing with. Here’s what you need to know.
Birth Control Options
There are many options when it comes to birth control for women, including pills, IUDs, and patches. However, the most common is a contraceptive pill, which is taken daily and prevents pregnancy. For healthy women who also suffer from acne, a birth control pill regimen is ideal for preventing pregnancy, and as a way to control acne and alleviate its appearance and symptoms.
Pills that Work for Acne
As of right now, there are only three birth control pills approved for treating acne, though there are others that might also have a positive effect. Each of the three approved by the FDA is considered a “combination” birth control, which means it contains both progesterone and estrogen. There is not a significant difference between the three in terms of their effectiveness for treating acne, so work with your doctor to decide which one might be best for you.
Candidates for the Treatment
In general, a woman must meet three criteria to be considered a good candidate for the use of oral contraceptives to treat acne. Depending on the brand, a woman must be at least 14 or 15 years old, must have started menstruating and should need contraception. The approved birth control pills can be prescribed for acne from mild to severe, making it a viable option for many women.
Benefits of Birth Control for Acne
Clinical trials have proven that certain kinds of birth control are effective for acne. This includes a decreased incidence of flare-ups, a reduced number of pimples and blemishes, less inflammation, and a reduction in severe and widespread acne. For some women, oral contraceptives can help treat acne on their own. In contrast, other women might need to combine them with other traditional acne treatments, such as topical creams or facial cleansers.
Birth Control That Doesn’t Work
It’s important to note that the only contraceptives that are proven to treat acne are those that contain progesterone and estrogen. Those that only have progesterone in them can actually worsen acne and its symptoms.
Skin Disorders Caused by Birth Control
For some women, birth control can cause or exacerbate skin conditions, acne being one of them. However, it can also cause melasma, skin candidiasis, dermatitis, and other skin infections. If your combination birth control produces any kind of skin symptoms, be sure to tell your doctor right away. It’s not usually recommended that women with malignant melanoma use birth control pills, nor should women experiencing hair loss. If you have either of these conditions, talk to your doctor about alternate contraceptive options that might work better for your health needs.
Getting the Most Out of Your Birth Control Pills
To get the best results for your acne, make sure that you take the pills following the precise schedule given to you. This means taking your pill at the same time every day. The pills may take a month or so to produce the results you want, so stay patient. If you notice any new symptoms or things aren’t improving after a few weeks, talk to your doctor about your next steps.