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Can Birth Control Pills Really Get Rid of Acne?

By Belo Medical Group on October 25, 2020

You probably have a friend or two who was prescribed birth control by their OB-GYN…but for reasons totally unrelated to birth control. They probably excitedly confided in you about how clear their skin has gotten, or how they’re not as oily as before. And that made you wonder: can the Pill really help control acne?

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When you think of contraception, you may immediately think of the oral contraceptive pill (around since 1961 in Australia!) 💊 BUT there are a myriad other alternatives: Hormonal e.g. ✅ Hormonal intrauterine device (Mirena IUD) ✅ Contraceptive patch ✅ Contraceptive injection ✅ Contraceptive implant (the rod) Non-hormonal e.g. ✅ Copper IUD ✅ Condoms ✅ Fertility Awareness Method In the case of hormonal forms of contraception, some will affect our mood, behavior, and wellbeing quite differently compared to others. An exciting new citizen science project at the University of Melbourne provides women with a tool to gain greater clarity on how our choice of contraception might affect us. Click the link in our bio to sign up and read more about the effect of the contraceptive pill on our neural pathways 🧠 📸 @natkringoudis

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Well, we come bearing very good news. “Combined oral contraceptive pills (cOCPs) are often used in the treatment of acne in females. They are effective, safe, and easy to use in appropriate patients in combination with more conventional acne therapies,” says a 2010 study on the efficacy of birth control for acne

How does birth control get rid of acne?

Acne is caused, or even exacerbated, by your hormones, and because birth control pills are able to regulate those hormones, that results in less (or no!) breakouts for you. Pills containing estrogen and progestin are key to battling acne; some birth control pills only contain progestin, which doesn’t improve acne.

To be more specific, birth control pills decrease the circulation of androgens in the body. Higher androgen levels are known to wreak havoc, from excessive hair growth to increased oil production (which leads to, you guessed it, acne). So the lower your androgen levels, the clearer your skin is poised to be. More and more Filipina women are braving the stigma to get a birth control pill prescription, as seen in this article by Cosmo.ph—you’ll find real-life stories there of women whose acne problems have completely disappeared. “My acne disappeared after three months. The scars faded after a year, and now I have incredibly clear skin even with minimal skin care,” one even mentioned.

Is birth control an accessible solution? 

Not necessarily. Factors like your age and your medical condition may prevent you from getting a prescription, so be sure to speak with an OB you trust so you can see if it’s truly right for you.

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Ready, Set, Contraception! There’s a lot to unpack here so I’m going to break it down from long acting reversible contraceptives like Intrauterine devices (IUD) all the way to condoms (no bananas I promise). ⁠ ⁠ Like the post above from @happyvulvaclub says, finding the right contraception for you is a bit like finding the right partner, it can take time! But it is also important that you do what is best for you, so that you are comfortable, confident, and in control of YOUR reproduction. So follow along to get the low down on all things birth control. ⁠ ⁠ If you have any questions or specific things you want us to cover, feel free to drop them in our stories or in the comments below! ⁠ ⁠ #vivalavulva #betweentulips #womenshealth #bodypositivity #womxn #bodylove #bodyconfidence #selflove #menstruation #menstrualcycle #girlpower #womenshealthmatters #factsmatter #vagina #vulva #condom #healthclass #sexeducation #period #birthcontrol #girltalk #obgyn #obgyntips #periodpower #femininecare #femininehygiene #sex #iud #birthcontrol #contraception⁠

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Keep in mind, though, that going on birth control is a huge responsibility. It’s something to consider budget-wise and commitment-wise (you shouldn’t miss pills). Also, you can’t just stop and start whenever you feel like it, as that will further mess up your hormone levels. It’s best to exhaust all your other options first, like including tretinoin in your routine or beginning an acne program that’s tailored for you by a Belo MD. 

Having acne can take an emotional toll, and we know you might want to take the quickest, easiest solution. However, even birth control takes time. Trust us when we say don’t despair—there are plenty of solutions available to you.

To book your consultation for the Belo Acne Program, call 8819-BELO, or email info@belomed.com.

Want to chat before diving in? Click here to book an online consultation with a Belo MD. If you want to speak to the Beauty Expert herself, click here to book an online consultation with Dr. Vicki Belo.

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