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Does Birth Control Really Help Manage Acne?

You may have heard that birth control can help clear your skin, but does it really work to manage acne? Rickie Guida, WHNP-BC, and the team at Alpenglow Gynecology, in Littleton, Colorado, provide the answer. Learn more about birth control and whether it can help you get clearer skin. 

Can birth control really help my acne?

Millions of American women struggle with acne. It doesn’t matter if you're 14 or 44, acne can appear at any age. Not all acne is the same, and different types of acne respond to different treatments. To better understand the answer to this question, it’s important to take a closer look at acne and the root cause.

A closer look at acne

Some types of acne are triggered by changes in hormone production, while other times acne can develop because of genetics, the types of makeup or skincare products used, stress and anxiety, excessive sweating, and even the weather. 

Acne is most common in the preteen and teen years due to its strong link to your hormones, but it can also appear when you experience other hormonal imbalances related to pregnancy, nursing, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and perimenopause.  

Non-inflammatory acne results when sebum (oil) and skin debris, like dead skin cells, clog your pores. With this type of acne, you may develop blackheads or whiteheads. Considered a mild form of acne, non-inflammatory acne is typically the easiest to treat.

Inflammatory acne, on the other hand, is triggered by bacteria, not sebum and skin debris. It causes your skin to swell and become inflamed and can be quite painful. There is more than one type of inflammatory acne, ranging from moderate to severe, including:

The moderate forms are papules and pustules while nodules and cystic acne are the most severe types of acne and the most difficult to treat. 

Birth control and acne management

Acne is closely linked to shifts and imbalances in hormone levels. Your ovaries produce estrogen and progesterone, the hormone needed to make testosterone. When you have an excess of progesterone in your system, you can develop acne. 

Hormonal birth control can prevent your ovaries from producing too much of the hormone that triggers acne, helping clear your skin. Not all birth control pills will help, however. Only pills that contain both estrogen and progestin can help manage your acne. 

The good news is that birth control pills also help improve other symptoms, including giving you lighter periods, periods that come more regularly, and less cramping.

It’s important to choose the right pill for you. At Alpenglow Gynecology, Rickie takes time to answer your questions and provide insights as to which brands might best help manage your acne and meet any other needs you may have. 

If you’re ready for clearer skin, learn if birth control can help you by scheduling an appointment at Alpenglow Gynecology in Littleton, Colorado. You can schedule online or call our friendly staff at 303-797-9199 to book an appointment. 

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