What Are The Best Oral Contraceptives For Women With Hormonal Acne
We know that dealing with hormonal acne can be super frustrating, so the idea of taking a birth control pill sounds like an appealing way to help to regulate hormones and get breakouts under control. However, before you start taking birth control pills, you should know that not all contraceptives work the same way and that some birth control pills can actually make acne worse. Seriously. Talk about a bummer. But knowledge is power, and here’s what you need to know.
The best oral contraceptives to control hormonal or adult acne are the ones that contain Ethinyl estradiol and one of the following: drospirenone, norethindrone, or norgestimate. Beware that oral contraceptives are contraindicated in women with a history of blood clots, high blood pressure, breast cancer, and women that smoke.
A study recently published in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology categorized the different types of contraceptives by their efficiency in clearing acne. These are the birth control pills the study said significantly improve hormonal acne: Yaz, Ocella, Yasmin, Trinessat, MonoNessa, Apri, and Reclipse. Pretty long list, right?
There are also some contraceptives that the study found to have little or no effect on acne. Those are Nuvaring, Microgestin pills, and Orthoevra . The study also found that some contraceptives can actually make acne WORSE. That list includes Depo-Provera , Skyla, Lylema, Implanon, and Nexplanon .
Are There Any In
Dermatologists carry out in-clinic acne treatments for teenagers. Acne can be what is called retentional, where the pores of the skins sebaceous glands are blocked by lots of comedones and microcysts. The skin therefore needs to undergo dermatological cleansing. A painless minor extraction procedure is performed on the surface of the skin to drain the blackheads and microcysts. This enhances the treatments effectiveness.
How To Deal With Pimple Breakouts As A Teen
Acne is very common in teenagers and heres why:
When youre a teenager, you have an increased level of sex hormones which then increase the size and production of oil glands.
Once those oil glands get blocked, youve got a pimple or several.
Heres a short interview with dermatologist and All About Acne member, Dr Philip Tong about teenage acne including the best treatments and the most common mistakes teens with acne make.
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Acne Treatment For Teens
Most cases of teen acne can be referred to as hormonal acne. Hormone fluctuations when teens reach puberty can cause a myriad of problems including overactive sebum glands, which leads to oily skin, blocked pores and sadly, acne.
There are other reasons acne can develop in teens. Stress is a proven trigger for acne – we can all remember the stresses and anxieties of our teen years. Sweating from exercise or hot climates can also be a cause of acne as it creates the perfect breeding ground for bacteria that helps acne to develop.
How Can I Treat Acne Scars
A persons acne needs to be under control before scars can be treated, but typically acne scars take two forms, says Dr. Martinez:
- Scars with a gradual dip or depression, which are sometimes called rolling scars
- Scars that are deep and narrow
Most serious scarring is caused by the more severe forms of acne, with nodules or cystic acne more likely to leave permanent scars than other types of acne.
Most of the time though, red or brown acne marks that are left behind after pimples clear up will fade with no need for treatment, though they can sometimes take up to 12 months to go away.
If a teen is upset about acne scars, contact a dermatologist for advice about possible solutions. Treatments depend on how severe the scars are. In some cases, a doctor or dermatologist may suggest a chemical peel or microdermabrasion to help improve the appearance of scars. These treatments can be done in a doctors office.
For serious scarring from previous bouts with acne, several types of treatment can help:
For rolling scars, dermatologists sometimes inject material under the scar to raise it to the level of normal skin. Finally, in some cases, a dermatologist may recommend surgery to remove deeply indented scars.
We are excited to offer the pediatric COVID-19 vaccine for children and teens. To receive a vaccine, contact your CHOC primary care pediatrician to make an appointment.
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Dont Wear Bandages Or Tight Clothing
It can be tempting to try to hide your acne behind bandages or tight clothing. However, this can actually aggravate acne by further trapping oils and bacteria into your skin.
Loose, cotton clothing is your best bet for acne. Its also helpful to shower immediately after sports and other forms of exercise so you can keep your pores as clean as possible.
Gently Wash Skin Twice A Day
You know that washing your skin is important in your overall acne care plan, but the frequency and technique is just as important.
Twice a day is ample. You may have to wash your face really quick in the middle of the day after gym class if you get sweaty, but overdoing it can dry out your skin and lead to more breakouts.
After washing your skin, pat your skin gently with a clean towel. Rubbing it will irritate your skin and any pimples you have.
Warm water is also most effective in cleansing your skin. Hot water is too drying, while very cold water doesnt do enough to help cleanse your skin properly.
Aside from morning and night washes, weekly exfoliation can also help keep acne breakouts at bay. A mud mask is ideal for all types of acne, as it helps unclog your pores and get rid of dead skin cells.
You may also consider gentle exfoliating treatments containing salicylic acid or alpha-hydroxy acids for the same effect.
Clean And Moisturise Your Skin
Although acne isnt usually caused by dirt, its still a good idea to cleanse your face twice a day.
Just like cleaning your teeth, get into the habit of washing your face in the morning and again before bed. All About Acne skin experts recommend using gentle soap-free cleansers that wont irritate or dry your skin.
Moisturisers arent always necessary if your skin is very oily.
Your skin could be dry because of the weather, from over-scrubbing, or as a side effect of an acne treatment. Choose a light, oil-free moisturiser, which wont clog your pores.
What Does Acne Look Like
Acne can appear as one of the following:
Whiteheads: White dots that are pores impacted with oil and skin covered by skin layers.
Blackheads: Black bumps that are impacted pores in which material pushes out through the follicles. The black color is not from dirt. It may be from bacteria, dead skin cells, and matter that react with oxygen.
Papules, pustules or nodules: More serious lesions appearing red and swollen due to inflammation or infection of the tissue around the clogged follicles, which are often painful and feel hard.
Cysts: Deep, pus-filled pimples.
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When To See A Healthcare Provider
If over-the-counter acne products aren’t doing much, you might need a prescription medication. This means a trip to your healthcare provider.
Yes, you’d rather treat acne on your own with products you find at the store or salon, but sometimes OTC acne treatments aren’t quite strong enough. In this case, you’ll be much happier with a prescription medication, especially once you start seeing results.
Acne is so common in teenagers, your family doctor, pediatrician or healthcare provider more than likely has experience treating it. Your medical professional can prescribe an acne treatment medication, or refer you on to a dermatologist if need be.
Don’t wait the sooner you start treatment, the sooner you’ll see improvement.
Ways To Eliminate Hormonal Acne
If learning how to get rid of hormonal acne seems complex, heres your wrap-up.
If youre experiencing hormonal acne, theres no need to endure the breakouts. Visit an Epiphany Dermatology location near you to find the best treatment plan for your skin.
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Things To Know Before Treating Acne
Since there are varying degrees of acne, there are different treatment recommendations. The degree of acne varies from person to person and can come and go, getting better or worse without prediction. Before deciding on an acne treatment, consider these tips:
- The goal of treatment is to reduce breakouts, prevent new breakouts and limit acne scarring.
- Treatment plans are gradual and take time and patience.
- Being dedicated to the treatment plan is important, so you can see if the treatment is working or causing side effects.
- Do not pick at or irritate acne because this can cause more inflammation.
- Laser hair removal, waxing and exfoliating should be avoided during acne treatment.
Is There A Way To Balance Hormones Without Birth Control
There are several medications besides birth control that can help balance hormones and effectively treat acne. One of the most effective is called Spironolactone , an oral medication used to treat high blood pressure does not contain hormones or synthetic hormones. Its actually a diuretic that works as an androgen blocker, which means it blocks the effects of male hormones in the body like testosterone, contributing to oil production and, ultimately, acne.
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Additional Challenge For Girls
As girls enter puberty and begin menstruation, they experience additional cyclical hormone fluctuations that can worsen acne. Even in adult women, monthly acne breakouts can be a common occurrence. A study published in the Archives of Dermatology asserts that up to 63 percent of women prone to acne also experience cyclical breakouts. Estrogen is the main hormone during the first half of a girls menstrual cycle and progesterone asserts dominance in the second half. When progesterone increases, so does sebum production. Occurring concurrently to this progesterone increase is a swelling of the skin and the follicles, which acts to trap this excess sebum, increasing the incidence of acne in the 10 days prior to menstruation.
Body Acne Can Be Treated Too
The face isn’t the only place that acne can pop up. It also commonly appears on the following areas:
Many of the same medications that are used on your face can also be used for other body parts. Benzoyl peroxide soaps and body washes are often used to treat body breakouts.
Your healthcare provider might also prescribe other medications, like oral antibiotics or even isotretinoin. This will depend on how serious your breakouts are.
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What Causes Teenage Acne
Did you know that nearly 80% of teenagers suffer from acne: Thats the vast majority! If you are dealing with spots issues, you are most certainly not alone. But what is the root cause of teenage acne? Well, its all about puberty and the associated hormonal changes our bodies experience.
Click HERE for an overview of hormonal acne and pre-menstrual acne.
At puberty, our sex organs start producing different hormones. One group of hormones is called androgens, and its most famous member is testosterone. Androgens have many effects on the body: In both boys and girls, they stimulate the growth of body hair and increase muscle and bone mass. In boys, the higher levels of androgens also cause the voice to break and facial hair to grow.
As for the effects of androgens on skin, they communicate directly with the sebaceous gland, telling it to produce lots of oil. As a result, during puberty, the face, and often the back, become oily and the skins pores become blocked with a mixture of sebum and dead skin cells. From here, different types of spot can form ranging from blackheads to pustules to deep, painful cysts.
For full information on oily skin, acne and the different types of spots, click HERE.
Take A Look At Your Diet
Decreasing your intake of high-glycemic foods, like sugar and refined carbohydrates, may help with acne. Sugar and refined carbohydrates are rapidly digested and absorbed in your body, which results in a drastic increase in your blood sugar , says Tamar Samuels, MS, RDN, NBC-HWC, a registered dietitian, national boardâcertified health and wellness coach, and co-founder of Culina Health. Elevated blood glucose triggers a reactive and exaggerated release of the hormone insulin into your bloodstream. High levels of insulin in the blood trigger the release of growth hormones that are known to increase sebum production, unregulated cellular growth, and androgen production, all of which are involved in the development of pimples.
Registered dietitian Claire Virga, RDN, MS, CDN, of Rooted Wellness adds that a diet primarily made up of unprocessed foods and focused on fruits, vegetables, high-fiber legumes, whole grains, healthy fats, and lean protein may provide some protection against hormonal acne.
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What Helps Get The Best Results
When taking hormonal therapy for acne, it helps to:
Give the medication time to work
Take the medication at the same time every day
Use everything on your acne treatment plan
Keep all follow-up appointments with your dermatologist
Contact your dermatologists office right away if you experience signs of a serious side effect, such as cramping in your leg or arm
Hormonal therapy is an option for many women with stubborn acne, but its not always the only option. A dermatologist can tell you what can help clear your stubborn acne.
ReferencesCarol, R. Hormonal therapies serve as key adjunct acne treatment. Dermatol World. 2012 May . 2-6.
Ebede TL, Arch EL, et al. Hormonal treatment of acne in women. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2009 2: 1622.
Harper JC. Use of oral contraceptives for management of acne vulgaris. Practical considerations in real world practice. Dermatol Clin. 2016 34:159-65.
Kim GK, Del Rosso JQ. Oral spironolactone in post-teenage female patients with acne vulgaris: Practical considerations for the clinician based on current data and clinical experience. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2012 5:37-50.
Plovanich M Weng QY, et al. Low usefulness of potassium monitoring among healthy young women taking spironolactone for acne. JAMA Dermatol. 2015 151:941-4.
Zaenglein AL, Pathy AL et al. Guidelines of care for the management of acne vulgaris. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2016 74:945-73.
What Are The Possible Side Effects
To reduce the risk of a woman developing serious side effects, dermatologists carefully screen their patients before prescribing hormonal therapy. Possible side effects include the following.
The pill. Taking the pill increases the risk of:
High blood pressure
While these side effects may not seem worth the risk, most women who are healthy do not have side effects. In fact, the risk of developing blood clots is greater during pregnancy and just after having a baby than when taking the pill.
Its also important to know that there is less risk of serious side effects today than in past. Today, the pill contains less estrogen.
Some women taking the pill develop melasma, or dark patches on their face. Protecting your face from the sun can help prevent these patches.
Breakthrough bleeding is another possible side effect. You can often prevent this by taking the pill at the same time each day.
Acne and the pill
If you take the pill, you can reduce your risk of blood clots by staying active, drinking lots of water, and not smoking.
Spironolactone. When taking spironolactone without a birth control pill, the most common side effects are:
Painful periods and cramping
These side effects may be decreased when women also take the pill.
Other possible side effects of taking spironolactone include fatigue, headache, and dizziness. These rarely cause a woman to stop taking the medication.
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Prevent Treat And Overcome Teenage Acne
Did you know that our skin is the largest organ of our bodies? Its essential for protecting our internal organs, muscles and bones. It holds us together! Skin reflects who we are and it is the first impression of us upon others. For teenagers, this can be a painful and embarrassing impression when acne strikes. To learn more about the condition and offer helpful tips, I reached out to Terry Renteria, RN, wound ostomy and continence nurse specialist at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles.
Acne comes upon each person differently some go through life with few issues and others feel burdened by the condition. Acne is fairly commonthree-fourths of all Americans ages 11 to 30 have acne and 17 million Americans have acne at any given time. It can persist into adulthood too. It shows up most commonly on the face, neck, chest, back and shoulders.
Why Do Some People Get Acne And Others Don’t
It is not clear why some people are more prone to acne than others.
The exact cause of acne is not known, but hormones called androgens can play a role. Androgens increase in both boys and girls during puberty. Androgens make the skin’s oil glands get larger and make more sebum. Androgens also can increase because of hormonal changes related to pregnancy or starting or stopping birth control pills.
Genetics may also matter. If your parents had acne, you may have inherited that tendency.
Some medications can cause acne.
Cosmetics that have a greasy consistency may also clog pores. Water-based products are less likely to cause acne than oil-based makeup.
Other things that can make acne worse include:
- Friction caused by leaning on or rubbing the skin harsh scrubbing
- Picking or squeezing blemishes
- Pressure from bike helmets, backpacks, or tight collars
- Changing hormone levels in adolescent girls and adult women two to seven days before the start of the menstrual period
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