If you are a woman having a problem with acne and don't seem to be able to find anything topical that helps you, you may want to consider birth control pills. Adult women and teenage girls whose acne has resisted treatment with antibiotics and topical treatments may want to consider hormonal therapy in the form of the birth control pill (a combination of estrogen and progestin taken orally). ("Fighting Pimples with the Pill") Here's how it works.
For some women, treatment resistant acne is caused by excessive production of hormones called androgens. Some progestins (one of the hormones in the pill, see above) have effects that can be androgenic (meaning they act like male hormones, such as testosterone), while some can be anti-androgenic (meaning they block the production of androgens or block androgen receptors, which allow your body to absorb and use the androgen).
("Acne Treatment - Birth Control Pills and Other Hormone Therapy") For fighting pimples, the pills that produce little or no androgens seem to work the best. (Id.) When the amount of male hormones in your body is suppressed, the amount of oil produced by your sebaceous glands (the glands that produce the oil that causes your acne) is reduced, thereby lessening the chance of pimple-causing pore blockages.
("Oral Contraceptives") A doctor will be able to review this information with you in more detail and answer any questions you may have. This article does not constitute or replace medical advice, it is meant only to provide you with some information that you will hopefully find helpful in fighting acne.
In 1997 the FDA approved low-dose birth control pills to be used for acne control. In more than 80% of the patients who used Ortho Tri-Cyclen (one brand of birth control pills) for acne control, there was a notable improvement in acne. ("Reducing Acne with Birth Control Pills") Ortho Tri-Cyclen helps to treat acne by reducing the output of hormone glands.
Estro-Step is also approved by the FDA, as well as YAZ and Alesse. Your doctor can recommend the right brand for your needs after discussions with you regarding your concerns and objectives. This article is not meant to recommend any brand or form of birth control pills for actual birth control, only for helping you with your acne! If your main interest in birth control pills concerns actual birth control, this article does not address that aspect of these medications.
It may take a while (sometimes three months or longer) for you to see an improvement in your acne once you start taking birth control pills. And it is not unusual for acne to get worse before it gets better, so hang in there.