Anyone who has not gone through the horrible battle with acne is such a lucky person! Having break ups or zits can cause so much disappointment and even anxiety. Acne is so common that it’s considered a normal part of growing up. In fact, about 17 million people in the United States have acne. It is a common skin disease that is closely associated with pimples. Pimples form when hair follicles under the skin clog up. Most pimples form on the face, neck, back, chest, and shoulders. Wile it is not considered a serious skin problem, pimples and acne can cause scars, and worse, low self-esteem. No one knows exactly what causes those annoying facial bumps. Hormonal changes during the teenage years and even during pregnancy somehow contribute to the development of acne.
What are the other causes of acne? Well, there are many myths about what causes acne. Chocolate and greasy foods are often blamed as the culprits for those nasty breakouts. Others point to sleeplessness, lack of hygiene, and stress as the main causes of acne for both teenagers and adults.
There are a number of prescribed medications for the treatment and prevention of acne. But not many know that birth control pills are now being used by many women for acne treatment. Since acne can be triggered by fluctuating hormone levels within the body, it is understandable that acne can appear at the various stages in life when hormone levels are changing, specifically during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause. It also makes sense that controlling hormone levels may help reduce acne outbreaks. Hence, the use of birth control pills for the treatment of acne is an attempt to regulate hormones.
It is important to understand that every human body contains both male and female hormones. Overactive sebaceous glands are the result of rising levels of the male hormones, namely: testosterone and androgens. Birth control pills contain artificial female hormones (estrogen and/or progestin). The theory is that birth control pills shut down the ovaries which are producing inappropriate male hormones allowing a more balanced male/female hormone mixture.
There are many issues which have to be considered before using birth control pills as an acne reducing treatment. Probably the most important issue is whether the person has used any other treatment before resorting to the use of birth control pills. There are many pros and cons about taking birth control pills as medication for acne.
While it is true that birth control pills can be useful to manage hormone levels, people with acne problems should also consider their skin type, hygienic practices, and genetics. Almost all birth control pills contain a combination of estrogen and progestin hormones in various combinations. Birth control pills that contain estrogen and progestin hormones with higher androgen (male hormone) activity are more likely to make acne worse. Some women may actually notice their acne worsen with the use of birth control pills until the estrogen levels become dominant. If one notices such change, they should discuss the situation with their doctor. Switching to another brand may bring acne back under control. There are several brands that may help clear up acne but it is important to use a product that has been approved by the Food and Drug Agency (FDA). The advice of a doctor is still needed before a person uses a birth control pill for acne treatment.
Birth control pills can have undesirable side effects including nausea, weight gain, water retention, and mood swings. There are also other more serious health risks than acne to consider. Prolonged use may increase your chances of heart attack or stroke.
Keep in mind that using birth control pills for acne control is only a temporary solution. Many women find that once they stop using birth control pills, their acne returns. It is for these reasons that using birth control pills for acne control should be considered only after all other treatment options have failed.
Indeed, looking good must never come at the expense of feeling good and being healthy.