Can Birth Control Help With Acne?

can birth control help acne
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Acne is one of the most common skin problems that can affect people of any sex, age, or race. It’s a frustrating condition that can cause anxiety, depression, and even embarrassment, leading to lower self-confidence. Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to treating acne, so sufferers often turn to a number of methods—including birth control—to get their breakouts under control. But does birth control really help acne?

The answer is a bit complicated, as it depends on the type of birth control you’re taking and the severity of your acne. Birth control pills, for example, contain hormones that can reduce the production of sebum, which is the oil produced by your skin’s sebaceous glands. This can help reduce the number of breakouts you experience, but it’s not a guaranteed solution. Additionally, some birth control pills can actually worsen acne, so it’s important to talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits.

How Does Birth Control Work for Acne?

Birth control pills work by releasing hormones that regulate your body’s production of sebum. If you have an excess amount of sebum, it can mix with dead skin cells and clog your pores, leading to breakouts. By regulating the amount of sebum your body produces, birth control pills can help reduce your risk of developing acne. Additionally, some birth control pills contain a form of progesterone that can also help reduce inflammation, which is a common symptom of acne.

Types of Birth Control that Help Acne

There are several types of birth control that may help reduce acne. The most common type is the combination pill, which contains both estrogen and progestin. This type of pill is effective at reducing acne, but it does come with some risks, such as an increased risk of blood clots and stroke. Additionally, the combination pill can also cause side effects, such as nausea, headaches, and weight gain.

Another type of birth control that may be effective for treating acne is the progestin-only pill. This type of pill is similar to the combination pill, but it only contains progestin and does not contain any estrogen. This pill is generally considered to be safer than the combination pill, as it carries a lower risk of side effects. However, this type of pill may not be as effective at treating acne as the combination pill.

Finally, there are also intrauterine devices (IUDs) that contain progestin. These devices are inserted into the uterus and release a steady dose of progestin over a period of time. While these types of IUDs are not as effective as the pill at treating acne, they may still be helpful for some people. Additionally, IUDs are considered to be a safe and effective form of contraception.

Are There Any Risks Associated with Taking Birth Control for Acne?

While there are some benefits to taking birth control for acne, it’s important to remember that there are also some risks. As mentioned earlier, birth control pills can increase your risk of blood clots, stroke, and other serious health conditions. Additionally, some types of birth control can cause side effects, such as nausea, headaches, weight gain, and mood swings.

It’s also important to note that while birth control can help reduce acne, it’s not a cure-all. If you’re using birth control to treat your acne, it’s important to also practice good skin care habits, such as washing your face twice a day and using non-comedogenic products. Additionally, it’s important to continue using your birth control even after your acne has cleared up in order to prevent new breakouts.


In conclusion, birth control can be an effective way to treat acne in some cases. However, it’s important to remember that birth control is not a cure-all and that it can come with some risks. Additionally, it’s important to practice good skin care habits and to continue using your birth control even after your acne has cleared up. If you have questions or concerns about using birth control for acne, it’s important to consult with your doctor.

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