Birth Control Pills, Pregnancy and Acne – A Complete How-To Guide
Acne first comes about during adolescence, when hormone levels begin to increase.This sudden flucturation of hormones causes the sebaceous glands to go into overdrive. They start generating increased levels of such oils that end up becoming clogged inside the glands. When the oils can’t escape, acne results!
So it goes without saying that when there is a fluctuation in the hormone levels within the body, it can trigger an increase in sebaceous oil production, and therefore increases the chance that an outbreak of acne will likely occur. With women, acne breakouts are common while they are taking birth control pills and also when they become pregnant.
Using Birth Control Pills to Control Acne
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 types of oral contraception have differing levels of hormones and one side effect of some contraception is an increase in acne. Switching to another brand may bring acne back under control.
Any woman who is healthy, and is at least age 15, who has begun menstruating and who has decided to start using oral contraception can discuss getting a prescription for a birth control pill with their doctor. There are several brands that help clear up acne but only one so far has been approved by the FDA for treatment of acne and that is Ortho Tri-cyclen.
It is important to note that taking the birth control pill as a way to treat acne should be the last alternative, after all other acne treatment options have been attempted without success. The birth control pill does have side effects and it must be taken exactly as prescribed to be effective.
Acne During Pregnancy
Women who have become pregnant often report an increase in acne, too. Many changes occur within a woman’s body in an effort to properly prepare the body for the growing fetus. The two primary female hormones at work in every woman’s body are progesterone and estrogen. Progesterone is more androgenic than estrogen, which basically means it is more like the hormones found in men. Increased progesterone during pregnancy can cause the sebaceous glands to produce more sebaceous oils than normal and that is what can cause outbreaks of acne.
If possible, the best way to handle acne during pregnancy is to realize that it is a short-term problem that will usually go away once the baby is born. If this isn’t possible, discuss your options over with a dermatologist who has experience working with patients during their pregnancy. After going through your situation, the dermatologist will be able to suggest treatment options that’ll make you happier with your appearance and that won’t harm your baby.