What Medicines Treat Hormonal Acne
Medicines for treating hormonal acne include the birth control pill and spironolactone. Birth control works by suppressing estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone hormone production, while spironolactone blocks androgen, the hormone that contributes to hormonal acne. While these medications work for some people, they often come with side effects or could worsen acne, especially once you stop taking them. You can learn more about acne after birth control here.
What Is The Best Birth Control For Acne
So weve established that a contraceptive method delivering a small amount of estrogen alongside progestin is effective in both providing contraception and reducing acne. But what about the progestin itself? Is there a certain dosage or type of progestin that will be more effective against acne?
Many progestins are androgenic, which means they boost androgens and can aggravate acne. But some progestins are actually antiandrogenic, which means they can be a powerful asset in the fight against acne.
Below is a table of antiandrogenic progestins and their associated brands of birth control. 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 androgen on your skin, these brands should be your starting point.
There are mixed reviews regarding the efficacy of one antiandrogenic progestin over the others. One study concluded drospirenone-containing birth control pills more effective in acne reduction than chlormadinone-containing pills, while a different study concluded the opposite statement. Another study concluded that dienogest-containing formulations were equally effective against acne compared to cyproterone-containing pills.
On the flip side of the scale, progestins with high androgenic properties can make your acne worse.
To the left you can see a handy chart I compiled to help you decide which progestins to look for and which ones to avoid.
What Is Menopausal Acne
Menopausal acne is when acne appears in women in their 40s and 50s. The cause of menopausal acne is a decrease in estrogen levels or an increase in androgen hormones like testosterone in menopause. Some of the hormonal treatments for menopausal symptoms can also cause hormonal acne. This is especially common in women taking a progestin.
Dietary Dos And Donts
No matter what age you are, your diet choice will have a significant effect on the condition of your skin. Research and personal testimonies strengthen this theory since food plays a huge role in balancing hormones. For instance, if you often consume dairy products a week or two before your menstrual cycle, you can trigger acne.
Contrary to popular belief, junk food alone does not aggravate acne. You should also consider limiting processed foods with refined carbs like white bread and pasta, sugary products and red meats. Organic foods are high in antioxidants and will help reduce skin inflammation for clear, smooth skin.
How The Pill Work In Treating Acne
Birth control pills contain synthetic hormones that stop the ovaries from releasing an egg for fertilization. Progesterone and estrogen are the main hormones that make birth control pills. What makes one tablet differ from the other is the ratio of the combination of the two hormones.
The birth control pills will reduce the production of the androgens that the body produces. However, not all women want to pop up a pill every morning to treat acne. Here are other effective methods that you can implement to control and manage breakouts.
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How Does Birth Control Help To Treat Acne
A common cause of acne, especially present among teens, is an imbalance of androgens, a type of hormone found in both men and women, but some people may produce it in higher amounts. One side effect of this overproduction is an increase in sebum, a type of oil that your skin naturally produces. Excess sebum can clog pores which leads to acne.
Birth control, however, can help to regulate hormones, reducing androgen production and thereby decreasing the amount of sebum production, and acne as a result.
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Can Birth Control Pills Cause Acne
Some contraceptives are progestin-only and do not contain any estrogen. Such birth control pills are known as mini-pills. Acne sufferers should avoid these pills at all costs as they can exacerbate existing acne, rather than reducing it.
In one study, 30-40% of women using progestin-only birth control reported worse acne upon using these methods. Another study reported acne present in 34% of women on mini-pills, compared to 8% of those on combination pills and 18% of those on the copper IUD.
Copper-releasing implantable contraception is non-hormonal and thus has no impact on acne. If we use this as a baseline acne rate for the group, we can gauge that mini-pills almost doubled the rate of acne in women.
Here are some popular progestin-only methods that may worsen acne:
- Progestin-only pills Camila, Errin, Heather, Jolivette, Norethindrone, etc.
- Implant Nexplanon
- Shot Depo-Provera
- IUDs Mirena, Kyleena, Skyla, and Liletta
Remember that the ParaGard IUD is not a hormonal contraceptive. Also please note that this list is not comprehensive. Confirm to your doctor to make sure you arent using progestin-only contraception.
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Get A Good Skincare Routine
Again, theres only so much you can do from a topical standpoint at home when it comes to treating hormonal acne. As long as you have a good skincare routine , the only other powerful cystic-zit fighter to try is benzoyl peroxide. Benzoyl peroxide not only kills acne-causing bacteria, but it also decreases oil production by decreasing lipid and fatty acid production, and has mild whitehead and blackhead-fighting abilities, Dr. Imahiyerobo-Ip has told Cosmo.
As a rule, always start off with a low dose of 2.5 or 5 percent benzoyl peroxide . That being said, this stuff can still be highly irritating, so if you have sensitive skin, try starting with a benzoyl peroxide face wash before trying spot treatments.
What Is Fungal Acne Vs Hormonal Acne
Fungal acne and hormonal acne are often confused with each other because both types of acne start in the hair follicles. Fungal acne occurs when excess yeast develops, whereas hormonal acne is caused by excess sebum. Fungal acne can result in whiteheads, itchiness and often becomes red, irritated and inflamed.
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Is Severe Acne A Sign Of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Polycystic ovary syndrome is a hormonal disorder that causes cysts to develop in the ovaries. Sometimes, PCOS prevents women from ovulating every month, resulting in irregular and/or painful periods. Severe hormonal acne can be a sign of PCOS, but not always. Symptoms normally show up around an individuals first menstrual cycle during puberty. Irregular periods excess facial and body hair, and trouble losing weight are some of the most common symptoms for PCOS. Going on birth control pills can help balance the hormones and, thus, decrease the severity of symptoms.
How Long Does It Take For Birth Control To Help Acne
It can take as short as 4-6 weeks or as long as a few months after starting birth control pills to see a significant decrease in acne. It is common for women to experience an initial flare-up of acne after starting birth control, but this should eventually go away. The process takes a while because the body may need a few months to get used to the new hormones being introduced.
With all of that being said, women who have more severe acne will need to use topical medications like tretinoin cream or other acne treatment products to get the best results.
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Where Can I Get Birth Control For Acne
Birth control for acne needs to be prescribed by a medical professional, like a dermatologist, doctor, physician assistant, or nurse practitioner. It can be prescribed following an in-person doctor visit or through an online healthcare service.
There are several companies available that offer online birth control services. With these services, youll review options virtually with a medical professional, and the birth control pills are sent to your home.
If youre prescribed a birth control pill to treat acne, you should be aware of the pills side effects.
Side effects of birth control pills include:
Exposed Skincare Basic Kits
Best overall hormonal acne treatment
This skincare kit includes products with a range of ingredients commonly used to treat and prevent acne, including benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, glycolic acid, sulfur, and azelaic acid.
The products also contain natural ingredients that aim to soothe irritated skin, such as green tea, aloe vera, and passionflower and sage extract.
The company states that the kit is suitable for people with all skin types, including people with sensitive skin. It recommends using the products as part of a morning and evening cleansing routine.
The cleanser and tonic come in 4-ounce bottles, and the serums come in 1.7-oz containers.
The company offers a 1-year money-back guarantee.
The basic kit costs $59.95.
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What Does It Mean For Women
Its painful to have to reject what has come to be seen as the ticket to female freedom and independence from unwanted pregnancies. Birth control pills were a hard-fought female victory at the time, needed to achieve parity with males.
But the truth must be told, no matter how painful it is at first to hear. To be vibrant, healthy women we can no longer be chained to the technology and drugs designed decades ago at a time when the hormonal functions of women were not understood. Women are amazing rhythmic creatures and require the beautiful dance of their hormones to be healthy. No woman should have a baby she doesnt want. But knowingly putting synthetic hormones that disrupt the endocrine system into her body, destroying that rhythm and destroying fertility by removing hormones and replacing them with toxins, is simply not a reasonable option. Sadly, fertility and the health of females are one and the same thing. We must accept reality and then work to design effective contraceptives, or more natural ways to prevent unwanted pregnancies, which do not slowly destroy the female body by replacing vital hormones and rhythms with chemical endocrine disruptors. Effective contraceptives are surely needed, but sacrificing female health is not an option not now AND not ever!
Stay Away From Cows Dairy :
Research shows that dairy can cause acne due to high levels of iodine. While milk itself does not naturally contain iodine, farmers give their cows iodine-fortified feed to prevent infection. They also use iodine solutions to sanitize cow udders and milking equipment. As a result, the iodine gets into the milk itself.
According to research published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology consuming dairy specifically, low fat/skim milk is much higher in teenagers who have acne. Safer options are goat and sheep milk.
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Progesterone Helps You Sleep Better
If you cant sleep or you dont get good quality sleep, hormone balance may be to blame. Progesterone is one compound released by the ovaries that helps you sleep. Low levels may make it difficult to fall and stay asleep. A small study in postmenopausal women found that 300 milligrams of progesterone restored normal sleep when sleep was disturbed. Estrogen levels decrease in perimenopause and after menopause. This may contribute to night sweats and hot flashes, which often disrupt a womans ability to sleep. See your doctor if you believe an imbalance in hormones is contributing to sleep problems.
I Started Birth Control But My Skin Is No Better
Whenever you start combined birth control pill, there can be some side effects that take a month or two to resolve.
One of these can actually be a flare up of your acne. This is only temporary and should improve as hormone levels become more regulated. Combined birth control does not tend to make acne worse.
As a rule, a minimum of three to six months of therapy is required in order to evaluate whether birth control is going to work for your acne or not.â
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How To Adjust Your Diet For Hormonal Acne
There’s no one-size-fits-all diet for hormonal acne, but there are some general guidelines that might help. The dietary changes that I suggest focus on eating foods that decrease inflammation in your body and dialing back foods that could contribute to increased androgens.
High glycemic foods break down quickly into sugar and cause a spike in blood sugar and insulin. Insulin is the hormone that helps bring your blood sugar back to normal, but it also can increase the production of hormones that contribute to acne, including androgens and insulin-like growth factor 1 .
Milk products also increase IGF-1, so you may want to limit or avoid these if you have hormonal acne.
On the other hand, beautifully colored and nourishing foods containing anti-inflammatory phytonutrients and omega-three fatty acids help decrease inflammation in your body. Fiber-rich carbohydrates can also help to regulate blood sugar and insulin levels and regulate hormone balance.
And gut healing foods are also helpful in reducing inflammation and keeping your microbiome healthy and happy. I have a diet and hormonal acne guide that goes into specific details along with a free meal plan and recipe guide to help you get started.
How Does Birth Control Treat And Prevent Acne Breakouts
Millions of people suffer from painful and embarrassing acne breakouts. Unfortunately, they can happen at any time during a persons life, not just during their teenage years. For women especially, acne can be incredibly hard to treat, as it is often related to hormonal fluctuations associated with the menstrual cycle and perimenopause.
Unlike teenage acne, hormonal adult acne is stubborn and if left untreated, can lead to physical discomfort and emotional distress. One way that individuals with a uterus can safely and effectively treat stubborn breakouts is by implementing hormonal birth control. For teenagers and adult women alike, taking the birth control pill can lead to health benefits such as clearer skin, decreased stress, and improved self-esteem. The following content will delve into the relationship between birth control and acne treatment.
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Menopause And Hormonal Acne
Entering menopause causes a normal, natural reduction in your bodys production of female reproductive hormones such as estrogen. For some women, this can lead to an increase in hormonal acne outbreaks.
Like hormonal acne for non-menopausal women, menopause-related hormonal acne is the result of fluctuations in your bodys hormone levels.
As your estrogen levels decrease, your balance of androgens to estrogenic hormones can cause your body to create more sebum.
If youre acne prone, this can lead to everything from a few occasional pimples to severe and regular acne outbreaks.
Menopausal hormonal acne can even occur if you use HRT to deal with the symptoms of aging.
HRTs use an artificial hormone, progestin, to replace estrogen and progesterone, which can cause your skin to go awry.
As always, if youre experiencing menopause-related hormonal acne, the best approach is to talk to your healthcare provider about retinoids, antibiotics and hormonal medications to limit outbreaks and control your bodys sebum production.
Do Hormonal Contraceptives Treat Or Cause Acne
In general, hormonal birth control pills are considered an effective treatment for acne in some women. In fact, using the pill to treat acne has been an accepted FDA-approved practice for many decades. Heres why it works.
As we mentioned, all women need androgens for their overall health , but when they have too much coursing through their veins, their skin gets too oily, their pores clog, and they develop acne.
But the estrogen and progesterone in oral contraceptives lowers your androgens, calms down the sebum production, and decreases your acne breakouts.
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How Do Birth Control Pills Work
Certain birth control types can help some women improve their acne by regulating preexisting hormone imbalances. Others, however, can have the opposite effect and make acne worse! Below is your guide to choosing the right birth control to help with acne. Birth control pills work by temporarily changing the hormonal balance in your body. These pills contain a different combination of estrogen
, IUDs, implants can all potentially benefit some women with acne. Unfortunately, they do not have the same effect across the board, and some birth controls that work well for certain women can be the worst nightmare for others.
Certain tend to affect the hormonal balance in a way that typically reduces breakouts, while other pills or IUDs tend to have the opposite and make acne worse. This effect typically depends on the dose of progesterone. As a rule of thumb, birth control that contains a higher level of progesterone will have a stronger androgenic effect and have a higher risk
How Can Birth Control Prevent Acne
Acne is a direct result of an imbalance of hormones produced by the ovaries: estrogen and progesterone . Sometimes, when the ovaries produce estrogen, it gets turned into progesterone it is the excess of this hormone that can lead to acne. Fortunately, birth control pills turn this function off, preventing the excess of male hormones in your system. More specifically, being on the pill creates a protein that binds to the extra male hormones, resulting in less production of them.
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