Birth control pills, also known as oral contraceptive pills, are typically considered when acne does not respond to the other prescription treatments. Currently there are three estrogen-progestin birth control pills that are approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) to effectively treat acne in women:
Ethinyl estradiol and norgestimate (Ortho Tri-Cyclen)
Ethinyl estradiol and norethindrone (Estrostep)
Ethinyl estradiol and drospirenone (Yaz)
Birth control pills work for acne by reducing the amount of sebum, the oily substance that makes your skin cells build up in hair follicles. Because the pill will only target the sebum, which is only one cause of acne, it is best to use other treatments alongside the pill to treat acne more effectively. You might have to wait several months to see noticeable result with birth control and your skin might get worse before getting better.
Using birth control to treat acne is generally safe and effective; however, they are not for everyone. Side effects include:
- Change in menstrual flow
- Potential fetal problems, if taken when pregnant
- Breast tenderness
- Nausea and vomiting
- Decreased sex drive
Ladies, talk to your doctor about whether birth control is suitable for you since there are a lot to choose from. Also, you might want to reconsider a different acne treatment if you have a health history of cardiovascular disease, breast or liver cancer, or blood clots.