Birth Control and Acne Explained

Birth control pills, IUDs, implants and shots are widely used today and prescribed often as a means to control acne. Most forms of birth control can have the potential to cause acne and weight gain in those susceptible. Typically birth control is divided up as estrogen or progestin dominant and have varying degrees of androgenic (testosterone like) effects. As a general rule of thumb, those with the potential for higher androgenic symptoms should be avoided for people prone to acne because they promote breakouts. As an acne sufferer it is important to speak with your doctor about selecting a form of birth control that is higher in estrogen and lower in androgen potency.

The most commonly prescribed in this category are:

 Brevicon  Necon  Tri-Nessa
 Demulan  Ortho Tricyclen  Tri-Previferm
 Femcon  Ortho-Novum  Tri-Sprintec
 Kelnor  Ovcon  Zovia
 Modicon  Previferm
 MonoNessa  Sprintec


It is best to avoid the following that are high in androgen activity and low in estrogen:

 Alesse  Kariva  Nexplanon
 Amethyst  Lessina  Nordette
 Apri  Levora/Levonest  Norplant
 Azurette  Linessa  NuvaRing
 Caziant  Loestrin  Ogestrel
 Cryselle  Lo-Feminol  Ortho Tricyclen Lo
 Cyclessa  Lo-Ogestrel  Ovral
 Depo-Provera  Lo-Ovral  Paragard/Copper IUD*
 Desogen  Lutera  Portia
 Emoquette  Marvelon  Reclipsen
 Estrostep Fe  Microgestin  Seasonale/Seasonique
 Implanon  Mircette  Sronyx
 Jolessa  Mirena or Skylar IUD  Triphasil/Trivora

Only you and your doctor can determine what form of birth control is right for you. The above is just a basic guideline that should be used to initiate a conversation between you and your physician. If you are considering using birth control, it is important to know that it can be associated with a high risk of blood clots, weight gain, nausea, mood changes, depression and breast tenderness. Serious side effects include strokes, digestive issues and embolism.

Finally, it is entirely possible to treat acne without using birth control. If you have no underlying health issues that require you to be on birth control and are considering using birth control only to control your acne, please feel free to talk with one of the estheticians to get some additional perspective on how we can help you with the use of topical products and treatments.

*Although the Paragard/Copper IUD does not contain any hormones, we have observed that it has aggravated acne with our clients.

Please talk with one of our HAC Specialists for more info.

© Face Reality Acne Clinic

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