Birth Control Pills For Acne
Using birth control pills for acne flare ups may or may not be an effective method of control.
Acne first develops during adolescence, when hormone levels begin to surge. When hormone levels rise, the sebaceous glands produce excess oil. This oil combined with dead skin cells and dirt becomes trapped within the skin’s pores and acne develops.
Since acne can be triggered by fluctuating hormone levels within the body, it stands to reason that acne can appear at the various ‘stages’ in life when hormone levels are changing such as puberty, pregnancy and menopause. It also makes sense that controlling hormone levels may reduce acne outbreaks.
The use of birth control pills for acne treatment is an attempt to regulate hormones. It is important to understand that every human body contains both male and female hormones. Overactive sebaceous glands are the result of rising levels of the male hormones – testosterone and androgens. Birth control pills contain artificial female hormones – estrogen and/or progestin. The theory is that birth control pills shut down the ovaries which are producing inappropriate male hormones allowing a more balanced male/female hormone mixture.
Problems With Birth Control Pills
There are problems with using birth control pills to control acne. Some women may actually notice their acne worsen with the use of birth control pills until the estrogen levels become dominant.
Women who do take the birth control pill and who notice that their acne is getting worse should discuss the situation with their doctor. Different brands of oral contraception have different levels of hormones. Switching to another brand may bring acne back under control. There are several brands that may help clear up acne but only Ortho Tri-cyclen has been approved by the FDA for treating acne.
Using birth control pills for acne control is only a temporary solution. Many women find that once they stop using birth control pills, their acne returns – sometimes worse than before.
Birth control pills often have undesirable side effects. There are also other more serious health risks than acne to consider.
It is for these reasons that using birth control pills for acne control should be considered only after all other treatment options have failed and always with the guidance of your physician.
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