Popping the Question: Can Birth Control Cause Acne?

Do you find yourself constantly battling breakouts? Have you tried every remedy under the sun, but you still haven’t found anything that clears up your acne? Can birth control pills cause acne or cure it… or maybe have little to no effect on your skin at all?

Everyone is different, but according to WebMD, birth control, when paired with a cleanser or healing lotion, can potentially help clear up breakouts.

If you find yourself asking, “Can birth control cause acne?” you’re not alone. Here’s everything you need to know about acne and birth control.


What Causes Acne?

Several factors determine the condition of your skin and the possibility of acne.

When pores get clogged with dirt, dead skin cells, or sebum from overactive oil glands, your pores become clogged, resulting in pimples. However, this acne can usually be managed in part with regular cleansing, moisturizing, and oil absorption lotions.

A diet high in dairy and sugar can have a negative impact on your skin, as well. Consuming sugar and dairy increases your insulin levels, which increase the amount of sebum produced. Cutting back on eating these kinds of foods can do wonders for your skin over time.

High levels of stress don’t necessarily cause acne breakouts, but they certainly don’t make things better and can even worsen existing breakouts. Researchers believe this is because stress can lead to an increase in sebum production. Relaxation techniques, like meditation, can help rein in your stress levels and keep your breakouts under control.

If you’re already on birth control or considering being put on birth control to clear your acne, you’ve likely exhausted most other options and determined that you have hormonal acne.

Click here to get acne treatment and relief.


What Is Hormonal Acne?

Hormonal acne is harder to treat because it comes and goes depending on your hormones. It can start around puberty, but last into adulthood. It’s especially a problem with women whose menstrual cycles cause their hormones to flare up on a monthly basis.

If you get breakouts on the lower half of your face, especially around your chin and jawline, you could be suffering from hormonal acne. Hormonal acne can also appear along the side of your face and on your neck.

Hormonal acne can be serious and appear in the form of cysts that are deep underneath your skin and are difficult to clear up. Because these cysts are deep, topical acne treatments may not work in healing them. That’s where birth control pills come in.

Combination birth control pills can help get your hormones under control and can clear up hormonal acne.


Can Birth Control Cause Acne or Heal It?

The FDA has approved oral contraception as a hormonal acne treatment in addition to birth control. Typically, birth control pills heal acne, though women occasionally report that it makes their acne worse.

If you find yourself agonizing over the question, “Can birth control make you break out?” know that when you first begin taking the pill, you may go through a time when your skin becomes worse. Likewise, taking yourself off the pill may cause your hormones to be out of balance for a while, making you break out during that time too.

According to Hers, the female hormones in birth control are designed to balance out the male hormones in your body that cause acne breakouts.


Which Types Of Birth Control Are Best For Treating Acne?

Combination birth control pills that contain both estrogen and progesterone are typically the best birth control for acne because they help lower your body’s androgen levels, which are responsible for increased sebum levels and ultimately acne.

Be sure you specify to your doctor that you want a combination pill because the FDA has not approved any progestin-only birth control pills to treat acne.

Before trying birth control, talk to your doctor to decide if it’s a safe option for you. You may also have to do some trial and error to figure out the birth control pill that works the best for you and your skin.


Acne Fighting Alternatives

If you’ve tried a few variations of birth control and had no success with any of them, you can always partner it with a topical cleanser. Doubling up like this will lower your androgen hormones while keeping your face clean, possibly allowing for better results.

When choosing a cleanser, look for ingredients like benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid, which will keep pores clear of dirt buildup while exfoliating your skin to prevent clogged pores in the future. Topical retinoids are great for treating hormonal acne because they help slough off dead skin cells and help prevent future breakouts.

If you have sensitive skin, look for products that use sulfur or resorcinol, good alternatives to benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid. They work in the same way because they absorb excess oil and unclog pores, but are gentler and don’t have as much potential to irritate skin.

If you don’t want to use birth control, treating acne breakouts with just a topical medication is an option too. Our tinted Rezamid acne lotion acts as a liquid foundation that conceals breakouts while clearing them. It’s important not to cover breakouts with makeup because that can irritate them, but our tinted acne lotion masks your breakouts while healing them. That’s what makes it unique! If you’d like to use something that acts more like a cover-up, and still has a healing agent, but not as much as Rezamid, you could try our Liquimat Medium acne fighting foundation.


Combating Acne With Birth Control

In choosing a path of birth control or no birth control, talk to your doctor to make an informed decision. There are lots of acne healing solutions to try before opting for a hormonal treatment, but birth control may be the solution you’ve been looking for! In the meantime, products like Rezamid® Acne Lotion and Liquimat Medium allow you to cover up your acne while simultaneously treating and healing it, helping you feel comfortable and confident in your skin!

Click here for acne treatment and relief today!









  • Michael Reed

    Michael Reed is a medical writer at Sumlab, focusing on dermatological studies and treatments. His articles help demystify complex clinical results for a broad audience.

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