Treating Acne with Contraceptive Pills: The Best Birth Control for Acne

best birth control for acne. girl with acne

It’s not a secret that a very common cause of acne is a hormonal imbalance in the body. Therefore, if you have excluded the effect of allergens, have made every attempt to cleanse and heal the skin with the help of special masks and all sorts of medicines, and have revised your diet, but there is no result, you need to consult an endocrinologist. Perhaps the cause of acne is the excess of sex hormones. In this case, pimples on the face are warning signs that the body is not all right. What’s more, you may have a disease of the ovaries or the thyroid gland. Therefore, it is worth taking acne problem more seriously. So, does birth control help with acne? What is the best birth control for acne?

Mechanism of Action

The production of subcutaneous fat by sebaceous glands is stimulated by a group of androgen hormones. That is why, for example, during menstruation, when the adrenal glands produce an abundant amount of androgens, acne can erupt in women. Hormonal drugs suppress the production of these hormones by the body. This, in turn, improves the condition of the skin. It should be noted that for hormonal treatment of acne only those drugs that combine estrogen and progesterone are suitable.

Recommendations for the Use of Birth Control for Acne

In order not to harm but to help your body, it is worth taking into account the following important factors before deciding on hormone therapy for acne.

  • Never self-medicate! Hormones are a very thin, sensitive and personal sphere. If the hormonal contraceptives prescribed by the doctor are great for your girlfriend or neighbor, it does not mean that they will also suit you. Be sure to consult an endocrinologist.
  • Oral contraceptives are suitable only for girls older than 15 who have already started menstruating. The doctor will choose exactly those contraceptives that are most suitable for your age.
  • Contraceptive pills can be taken by women who have sex and do not plan to conceive a child.

best birth control for acne. woman holding blister of pills

Ask the doctor how this or that type of oral contraception will affect your weight. Some birth control pills can cause a problem of excess weight.

Also, it is worth remembering that acne aggravation and new acne on the face can be caused by the abolition of the contraceptive pills. This happens because by stopping taking oral contraceptives, you force the body to “rebuild”. Also, you make the body enter a new hormone regimen and cope with the level of hormones itself.

All the abovementioned factors lead us to the conclusion that, although contraceptive pills really help to treat acne, every treatment should be prescribed with caution, especially the hormonal one.

Does Birth Control Help with Acne?

There are several types of hormonal contraceptives that can be used for treating acne. According to the form of release and composition, all the prescribed hormonal birth control pills can be divided into 2 types.

Combined contraceptives are the most popular option

Combined contraceptives consist of two main active substances: estrogen derivatives and progestin. Many of them have a pronounced antiandrogenic action which plays a major role in stabilizing the work of the sebaceous glands.

Modern combined hormonal contraceptives are microdosed. This can significantly reduce the likelihood and severity of side-effects.

According to the form of release, combined contraceptives are divided into the pills in a cover and dragee.

Practically, dragee and pills are equivalent since they contain an acid-resistant shell: active substances are released in a strictly defined place.

best birth control for acne. Combined Contraceptives

The main advantages of such contraceptive pills are the following:

  • The strongest action from all types of contraceptives is the main point in favor of combined pills.
  • Anti-inflammatory effect.
  • Reduction of pain syndrome;
  • Reducing the fat content of the scalp;
  • Normalization of the menstrual cycle.

Uncombined Birth Control Pills

Uncombined contraceptives – monopreparations (the second name – mini-pills). This means that in their composition there are exclusively gestagenic hormones in small dosages.

Uncombined contraceptives are not usually prescribed for the treatment of acne due to a low anti-androgen effect. However, if you have estrogen intolerance, uncombined contraceptives may become an alternative.

best birth control for acne. mini-pills

Advantages of These Pills Include:

  • Compatibility with bad habits. If you smoke or drink alcohol, mini-pills are your choice.
  • The possibility of prescription for women with severe heart diseases, migraines, diabetes, obesity, and hypertension;
  • Such pills are compatible with lactation;
  • A good therapeutic effect is observed in women older than 40 years.

Vital Tips and Warnings

Before you start a “war” against hateful pimples using contraceptives, be sure to consult a doctor. Irregular taking birth control pills can lead to very serious consequences.

And instead of beautiful skin, you can:

  • Disrupt the natural hormonal balance in the body;
  • Acquire a few extra pounds and diseases of the cardiovascular system;
  • Lower the level of libido;
  • Significantly worsen the skin condition.

It is necessary to say about the duration of the use of such drugs. Birth control pills are undesirable to use for a long time even on doctor’s recommendation.

If birth control pills do not help to get rid of acne during 2-3 months (no positive dynamics), then it is worth thinking about the use of such treatment.

Remember that hormones are not vitamins. Be as cautious as possible when using even the best birth control for acne.

What Is the Best Birth Control for Acne?

A contraceptive method which delivers a small amount of estrogen alongside progestin is effective in both providing contraception and in reducing acne. But what about the progestin itself? Is there a certain dosage of progestin that will be effective against acne?

best birth control for acne. pimple on the face

Many progestins are androgenic, which means they boost androgens and can aggravate acne. But some progestins actually have antiandrogen properties, which means they can be a powerful asset in the fight against acne. Here’s a list of the birth control pills that have antiandrogen properties:

Chlormadinone acetate

  • Belara
  • Luteran

Cyproterone acetate

  • Brenda-35
  • Diane-35


  • Climodien
  • Valette
  • Qlaira


  • Gianvi
  • Loryna
  • Ocella
  • Syeda
  • Vestura
  • Yasmin
  • Yaz
  • Zarah

These progestins block androgen receptors, effectively preventing androgen hormones from doing their job. If you suffer from hormonal acne and want to reduce the effects of androgens on your skin, pay attention to the mentioned above pills.

The FDA has approved the following types of birth control for acne:

Ortho Tri-Cyclen. Ortho Tri-Cyclen uses estrogen combined with a progestin called norgestimate. A progestin is a synthetic, or manmade, form of progesterone. The pill is available with different doses of progestin.

Estrostep. Estrostep uses estrogen combined with a progestin called norethindrone. The pill is also available with different doses of estrogen.

YAZ uses estrogen combined with a manmade form of progestin called drospirenone. The FDA has concluded that birth control pills containing drospirenone may have increased risk for blood clots compared to pills containing other progestins. Other brands containing drospirenone include Beyaz, Gianvi, Loryna, Ocella, Safyral, Syeda, Yasmin, and Zarah.

Studies have not shown a major difference among these three pills in terms of how well they treat acne.

best birth control for acne. birth contril pills

Birth Control Which Isn’t Suitable for Treating Acne

Also, there are the progestins which have high androgenic properties. If you are offered any of these pills by your doctor or a family planning clinic, do not accept them – they could make your acne worse.


  • Lo/Ovral
  • Low-Ogestrel


  • Alesse
  • Altavera
  • Amethyst
  • Enpresse
  • Lessina
  • Levlen
  • Levora
  • Lutera
  • Nordette
  • Portia
  • Sronyx
  • Triphasil-21 and Triphasil-28


  • Desogen
  • Mircette
  • Marvelon 28


  • Minulet
  • Trioden
  • Femoden
  • Harmonet
  • Gynera

Of course, this is not a full list of all the types of birth control you should take or avoid. It’s worth learning which types of progestin are androgenic or antiandrogenic so you can decide which one is the best birth control for acne and for your own needs in particular.

Reviews About the Treatment of Acne with Birth Control Pills

Reviews about the use of birth control pills for acne are very diverse. There is no unequivocal answer because the body of each person is unique. On two different people, even the best birth control for acne can act quite differently.

best birth control for acne. healthy skin of the face

However, there is such a thing as statistics which states a positive effect when birth control is applied correctly. The main condition for the success of contraceptive treatment is the competent selection of the drug after all diagnostic measures.

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