Do you struggle with severe acne that doesn’t respond to topical creams, lotions, or medications like antibiotics? Cystic acne is severe acne that results in breakouts that go deep into the skin, causing painful cysts, nodules, and inflammation that doesn’t heal quickly. Untreated, this type of acne can also lead to scarring on your skin.
Living with severe acne is difficult. Many people report feeling depressed, anxious, or embarrassed by their skin. As a result, they tend to avoid social situations and express lower self-esteem.
Teenage girls and adult women with stubborn acne may consider birth control pills to treat their breakouts. That said, how effective are birth control pills, and are they safe?
Can Birth Control Pills Clear Severe Acne?
There are many causes of acne. For people with severe, cystic acne, breakouts are often due to hormonal imbalances. High levels of androgens like testosterone can cause the overproduction of sebum. Typically, sebum, an oily substance produced by glands in your skin, protects and moisturizes your skin. However, too much of this oil can contribute to breakouts.
Some birth control pills help clear acne by reducing the amount of testosterone in the body, which reduces the amount of sebum. Oral contraceptives can help reduce the number of pimples, the frequency of breakouts, and result in less inflammation. That said, birth control pills are only used when other types of treatments fail to work.
Do All Types of Birth Control Pills Clear Acne?
Not all birth control medications treat acne. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has only approved four birth control pills for acne treatment. These four oral contraceptives (Ortho Tri-Cyclen, Estrostep Fe, Beyas, Yaz) are combination pills that contain both progestin and estrogen.
Birth control pills that only contain progestin don’t help with acne breakouts.
How Quickly Will You See Results and Are There Side Effects?
Birth control pills can take several weeks to months before you see an improvement in your skin. It takes time for the synthetic hormones to begin working on your acne. Taking the pills at the same time each day may help to regulate your system.
That said, birth control pills are not for everyone. Oral contraceptives change the natural hormone levels in otherwise healthy women and teenagers, which some people don’t want to do. While current birth control pills are safe for healthy women in general, they can cause side effects. Some side effects may include:
- Mood swings
- Weight changes
- Breast tenderness
Birth control pills are not recommended if you are:
- Over the age of 35 and smoke
- Currently pregnant or breastfeeding
- Severely obese
- Have a history of migraines
- Have a history of heart disease
- Have a history of cancer
- Have a history of liver disease
Are There Natural Options to Treat Stubborn Acne?
Women who already use oral contraceptives can benefit from the secondary effects of reduced acne. However, not everyone can—or wants—to use synthetic hormones for acne control. Additionally, some women are concerned about the return of their acne once they stop using oral contraceptives, and sometimes acne can come back much worse than it was before. Fortunately, other, more natural options can help, even with hormonal acne.
Vitamins are a holistic approach to healing hormonal imbalances that can cause acne. By ensuring the right balance of critical vitamins, you can heal your body from within. Unfortunately, it can be challenging to get all the different types of vitamins in the amounts needed through foods. Taking vitamin supplements designed to help reduce acne takes care of this problem.
Different vitamins can help reduce cystic acne. Studies have shown that correcting imbalances in vitamins A and E can help improve acne. Another naturally occurring substance, DIM (diindolylmethane), can help hormonal acne by balancing your hormones to help reduce acne.
If you’re seeking a natural approach for clearer skin, Innate Skin has a variety of products that may work for you. To boost your intake of acne-fighting vitamins and minerals, consider Innate Skin’s Clear Skin Vitamin Pack. If you’re interested in a DIM supplement to help maintain a healthy hormonal balance and clear your skin, take a look at Innate Skin’s Acnevites DIM Complex. You really do not need to put synthetic hormones in your body just to stop acne, there are natural treatments for acne!