Oral contraceptive (hormonal therapies)

Can oral contraceptive improve acne in woman?

Acne is a common skin disease that affects more than fifty  million people in the United States, of which more than half are women older than 25 years old. Compared with men, traditional acne treatment methods fails to cure acne among women.

  • Nobody knows how, but acne increases during menstrual and premenstrual cycle. Experts says, there is something associated with hormonal changes. When we come to the prevention, acne induced by hormone can be hard to treat easily as it appear a week  before the onset of menstruation.
  • Acne is also emerged during pregnancy especially in the first trimester.  This is by far due to the level of hormonal change. Any time when there is a hormonal fluctuation, acne can be worsen or developed. In the second and third trimester, and also for three months after delivery, the level of acne become reduced. Surprisingly, after the hormone returned to the normal level, some mother experience acne flare-up. 
  • Before using any over-the-counter or prescription acne medication, pregnant and breast feeding women should consult their physicians. One of the many acne medication that is unsafe during pregnancy is isotrtinoin. It causes birth defects therefore, should be avoided if you plan to become pregnant.

How hormonal therapy help to reduce acne?

When androgen is in excess, it cause the skin oil gland to enlarge and produce more oil. As more oil is produced, the skin pores become clogged and result acne flare-ups. Therefore, oral hormonal therapies that are made of progestin's and estrogens minimise the production of androgen in the body.

  • Birth control or oral contraceptive known to reduce male sex hormones (androgens) that are responsible for the formation of acne. Studies showed that, females with acne or pimples have a tendency to have elevated levels of androgens.
  • Not all birth control pills have the ability to reduce acne. There are three major contraceptive pills that are effective for the control of acne associated with pregnancy and menstruation. Those pills includes Estrostep, Yaz and Ortho Tri-Cyclen.

Side effects of oral contraceptive

Some of the common side effects include:

  • Irritability
  • Nausea
  • Breast tenderness
  • Headache
  • Mood changes
  • Breakthrough bleeding
  • Bloating Fatigue
  • Vaginal infections
  • Weight gain
  • Dizziness
  • High blood pressure
  • Loss of libido

Less common But more serious side effects:

  • Blood clots
  • Heart related problems
  • Risk of cancer

Facts about women acne

  • Even if female acne occur repeatedly, it can be treated effectively
  • Acne in men is somehow constant and more consistent compared to women due to hormonal variation. Women's hormone tends to vary more than men's.   
  • More than fifty percents of adult female experience rare acne flare-ups
  • A large number of women experience pre-menstrual breakout
  • Pimples can appear at any ages in women's life. It can be during menopause, pregnancy, in early adulthood.
› Oral contraceptive



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