Birth Control Pills For Acne Treatment

by W. Darren -

Posted on Wednesday 15th of April 2009

Other than specific acne treatment creams and gels, birth control pills can also be used to treat acne among women. In the early years, doctors were just conceptualizing the possibilities that oral contraceptives can be used to treat acne. These days however, there are already a great number of oral contraceptives that have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as efficient acne treatment medications. These include Ortho Tri-Cyclen and Estrostep.

Not as the first option

Although birth control pills can be used to treat acne, dermatologists point out that these contraceptives should not be used as the first line of defense against acne breakouts. Such are prescribed by physicians only after careful consideration of the woman’s reproductive capabilities and needs. In most cases, such is only recommended only after all the other topical and systemic medications for acne manifestations have been tried and tested. This can also be used if the woman with acne really wants to use birth control anyway.

According to experts, birth control pills should be used with other forms of acne treatment methods. The medications that are usually paired with oral contraceptives are topical retinoids and other forms of treatments that make use of benzoyl peroxide.

How oral contraceptives work against acne

Most birth control pills contain certain amount of progestin and estrogen. These pills work by altering the natural hormonal patterns of females using the estrogen ingredient – ethinyl etradiol. They decrease the amount of testosterone in the body and prevent acne breakouts caused by hormonal imbalances. Once testosterone production is reduced, the skin’s oil glands also produce less amount of oil. As a result, plugging and clogging of the pores of the skin can be reduced, if not totally prevented.

Women who have polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) are more prone to acne breakouts. In these cases, birth control pills can be thoroughly effective in clearing the lesions and scars caused by the syndrome. Birth control pills which have progesterone ingredients can also reduce the breakout activity by decreasing the amount of androgen hormones in the bloodstream. Aside from clearing acne, oral contraceptives can also reduce the excessive hair growth caused by PCOS.

Birth control pills should be taken on a daily basis. During the first three weeks of the month, you should take the “active” pills. The placebo pills are then taken on the last week, during the time when menstruation occurs as well.

Some possible side effects

The side effects of birth control pills may vary from one person to another. Others do not experience side effects while others may suffer from serious illnesses. Some patients report of nausea, weight gain, breast tenderness, menstrual spotting, and mood swings. A few studies also reported that oral contraceptives as acne treatment solutions can also cause blood clots, stroke, headaches, gallstones, increase in blood pressure, and depression.

Depending on the formulation and the ingredients of the pills, they can also cause an increase in the testosterone levels of the body. If this happens, the acne condition can eventually get worse. For best results, it will be best if you consult your doctor before taking any pill. Basically, there are many kinds of pills that you can use, depending on the cause and severity of your skin condition. The dermatologist knows which pill will be best for your acne problem.

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