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Can Birth Control Cause Acne?

Hello Clean Beauty Babes, we are back with another informative article on skincare. Can birth control cause acne? Okay, so first, what is birth control? Birth control is a contraceptive method used to prevent pregnancy. It has been around since ancient times and many women use birth control as a way of not only preventing pregnancy but also controlling their acne and cramps. But just like there are birth control brands that can help prevent acne, there are others that will cause it. Just like your skincare you want to be sure you are checking out the ingredients list on the items you choose to use on your face, ingest or apply elsewhere on your body. Something like birth control is no different. Some contain an ingredient called progestin which can not only promote acne – meaning you may see some new acne even if you’ve never had it before. Or in other cases, increase and/or worsen breakouts.

Let’s talk candidly, shall we? What causes acne? Skin type, hormone fluctuations, stress. Hormone fluctuations are one of the biggest factors in the development of acene, this can occur during puberty, pregnancy, menstruation or menopause. According to, “This fluctuation results in a rise in androgens—hormones that are found in both men and women. While a woman’s ovaries and adrenal glands generally produce low levels of androgens, when the adrenal glands are stimulated, more sebum is produced in the skin’s follicles. As pores fill up with excess sebum the oily substance may combine dead skin cells, debris and acne; bacteria all begin the formation of a pimple.”

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So, what does all of this have to do with your birth control? While birth control itself is not a direct cause of acne it can play a keen role in increasing the level of hormones your body produces, therefore indirectly impacting the frequency and severity of acne breakouts. Birth control contains both progestin and estradiol – the prevention of ovulation. An abundance of this can decrease the occurrence of clogged pores and acne. While on the other hand, progestin is also present in birth control and can increase androgens. This can be a direct result in having an increase in acne once you start birth control.

Our recommendation for birth control that has a good balance to help prevent acne breakouts is YAZ. While the contraceptive has faced lawsuits for their side effects, it is not uncommon for many birth control pills to have side effects (i.e. nausea, mood swings, blood clots etc.) but for a contraceptive that uses a combination of estrogen and synthetic progestin known as drospirenone, YAZ is one of our recommendations.

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Now you maybe wondering, is birth control safe? Ultimately the answer lies with your gynecologist, who is the person you should take these concerns to. We are not offering medical advice, only some insight into how these things work so you are equipped with prior knowledge before heading to the gyno for final confirmation on whether or not birth control is right for you and which one is right for you. Overall, birth control is a safe treatment option. There are a variety of side effects associated with oral contraceptives, including bloating, cramping, changes in menstruation cycle, soreness in breasts, fatigue, increased risk of blood clots, heart attack, stroke, feeling faint and more.

To close, birth control cannot directly cause acne, but the use of birth control can have an impact on which direction your skin will go in the production or suppression of acne once you begin on birth control. If you are looking to take birth control for the sole purpose of solving your acne problems, we recommend starting with our acne mini collection first. The best thing you can do for your body is to exhaust all other options topically before thinking of an oral solution.

Still have questions? Feel free to schedule a free virtual consultation with us today.

Written by Anna Barnes
Photo by Polina Tankilevitch from Pexels

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