Acne Treatment: Birth Control Pills

Acne treatment can be of several types. Birth control pills may be effective in reducing acne that is caused by a hormonal imbalance. The birth control pills will reduce the testosterone production, resulting in the clearing of skin.

Birth Control Pills

Birth control pills, also known as oral contraceptives, are typically made up of progestin and estrogen. The main target of birth control pills is to stop ovulation and prevent conception. However, certain birth control pills may also be used to treat acne.

Birth Control Pills and Acne

The birth control pills will reduce the levels of the testosterone hormone, which is considered a cause of acne outbursts. Women with acne may have a normal amount of testosterone, but it may be reduced to treat and prevent acne. The contraceptive pills will also reduce the activity of oil glands, which can be responsible for the formation of acne.

Birth Control Pill Effectiveness for Acne

Birth control pills typically give great results in the majority of patients. Over 80% of the patients taking contraceptive pills for acne have shown improvement after only 2 months of treatment. The treatment should be applied for as long as needed and may be continued afterwards. Discontinuing the pills may result in acne formation.

However, the pills are only effective if the acne forms due to an increased amount of testosterone or oil on the skin. The birth control pills are only recommended for patients that have minor to mild acne. If the patient has severe acne, the birth control pills should be used in conjunction with other topical treatments. The birth control pill cannot be used in patients with acne that is due to different other underlying conditions.

Contraceptive Pills Approved for Acne Treatment

The best contraceptive pills that reduce acne on the skin are the pills that have no androgen compounds or contain substances that stop the production of androgen hormones. The androgen hormones may have negative effects on the skin by stimulating the sebaceous glands, resulting in acne. There are a few birth control pills that have been approved for acne treatment. These pills include:

  • Diane 35 is another approved birth control pill which contains anti androgen agents and will reduce the production of acne if administered for at least 6 months. Diane 35 has been proven to have similar effects as tetracycline or minocycline and may fully treat acne after 12 to 18 months of treatment.
  • Allesse--which is poor in estrogen and doesn’t have many side effects (no major weight gain)
  • Ortho Tricyclen contains hormones that will reduce acne and is effective in women with mild to moderate acne. Results will be visible after 3 months of treatment.
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