brittany0859

birth control for acne?

I went to the derm 3 months ago and was prescribed Aczone Gel and Solodyn and it works wonderfully, but I still get a few pimples right before my period (I get cystic acne around my jawline/chin). I have my followup visit Wednesday and she might prescribe me birth control since I'm still getting some right before my period. I'm not sure I want to go on birth control though because to me it's not a long term solution, I can't be on it for the rest of my life and I've heard horror stories of the acne that comes back when you stop. Do any of you ladies take it for acne, and would you recommend it? The only other option I know is spironolactone, which I highly doubt she'll prescribe because she didn't mention it when we were discussing hormonal acne treatment options.

jdgrant

Re: birth control for acne?

(0) Hearts

I have (or had, to be correct) severe cystic acne that is caused by a severe hormone disorder. I have Mirena, a low-dose hormonal IUD, which works wonders for my skin. It also stops your periods and is 99% effective, but is completely reversible at any time. I would highly recommend it.

meecheroo

Re: birth control for acne?

(0) Hearts

I've been on birth control since I was 19. My sister, me, and my half brother all had acne to the point where we went on Accutane. That was the ONLY thing that has ever cleared my skin. I don't advise Accutane for just anyone though. I'm still on birth control (tried Yaz/Yasmin/Ortho Tricyclin Lo) but I can't say they're all that helpful as I still break out .

mafan

Re: birth control for acne?

I agree that the hormones in birth control these days is much lower in general than they used to be.  You may be young and not want to be on birth control, but I think that most low dosage birth control is safe for women to be on for many years now.  (I'm on progesterone only pills and my gynecologist said I should stay with this because it's similar to the hormone replacement that women my age sometimes need.)  And as you get older, you may want the pill for things other than acne, so starting with something that serves more than one purpose might be something to consider.

 

One thing to note is to make sure you don't have any family history of blood clots.  If you do, there are genetic predispositions to getting blood clots that could make hormonal birth control problematic.  Other than that, millions of women take the pill safely every day.  Now, if it's just a few pimples that aren't bad for a few days a month, you have to decide whether more medication makes sense.  But for severe outbreaks (50 cystic pimples at one time is my idea of hell) I'd be on anything that worked and the doctors thought was safe for me right away.

 

chlotam

Re: birth control for acne?

(0) Hearts

I've been on birth control, come off, and then back on without any real noticeable difference in my skin. Any breakouts that people do have when coming off the pill is temporary as the body adjusts to being in charge of your hormone levels again. Take the pill if you want, but honestly it isn't magic and it won't necessarily do anything at all for your skin

waterbaby1981

Re: birth control for acne?

(0) Hearts

To be quite honest, any type of birth control pill will help acne, not just specific ones (although there are ones that have been advertised as such in the past decade).  I've been on birth control pills for over ten years with no side effects (other than the preventing pregnancy one).  If this was 1970 I'd be wary of being on pills, but the hormones in THOSE ones were far higher doses than what's in them now. 

 

I've been on Ortho Cyclen (generic Sprintec) for over 10 years and have done quite well, with two breaks when we decided we wanted to have a baby.  It's a monophasic pill, so there's no gradual drops in estrogen-the same dose of hormones each day.  Triphasic pills like TriCyclen or TriCyclenLo have a lower dose or each week have a gradual drop in dosage leading up to the period.  I didn't really have issues with my skin and once I was on the pill?  It was like once every blue moon I would get one.

 

The pill is pretty safe to be on indefinitely, and there are actually studies out there that show a link between a decrease of endometrial and ovarian cancers after so many years of being on the pill, which I view as a definite good side benefit.  But decide with your doctor what's right for you.  Just food for thought.  Although I've got a few friends with stories about the patch and the ring though.  The patch usually tried to come off before it was supposed to (in the shower) and there's really only a few places you can put it.

 

 

 

Sn4rky

Re: birth control for acne?

(0) Hearts

I take BC mostly to keep my skin clear from cystic acne and it has worked wonders!  I had the same concerns as you before I took it, but I'm so happy I started taking it.. so worth it!  Also, you're lucky Solodyn is working for you.  I had a horrible experience with it.  After just 2 weeks of taking it, my body went into toxic shock... really terrible stuff.  I know my experience is rare, but be aware!  

HawaiianEyes7

Re: birth control for acne?

(0) Hearts

I've been on Diane 35 for about three years now. It's a birth control, but it's specially formulated for acne, so it's not strong enough to actually prevent pregnancy. It took about a year, but it cleared up my face almost completely! Since it cleared up, I only get maybe five zits at the most at a time, and they're not nearly as huge and painful as the ones I used to get. Also, it has regulated my period, which is a huge plus because my periods used to be hell. My face and hair are less oily, too, and I al,ost never get acne on my back and chest anymore (I used to get it really bad in these places too). It's definitely something to consider. For me, burth control was my last resort, but I wish I went on it sooner! I forgot to mention, I didn't get any side effects from the Diane 35 that you usually get with birth control, like weight gain etc. Talk to your doctor about which one would work best for you, because there's a lot to choose from! Good luck! :smileyhappy:

HawaiianEyes7

Re: birth control for acne?

(0) Hearts

Ok, so I should make a correction. There have been deaths resulting from Diane 35, and it sounds like it will be or already has been pulled off the shelves. I'm on the generic form of Diane 35, which is called novo-cyproterone/ethinyl estradiol, and I haven't had any side effects (and I couldn't find any cases of people dying from it). If you're considering a birth control, make sure you do your research!

crayzeeRN

Re: birth control for acne?

(0) Hearts

I've never heard of this! Curious if it is safe during pregnancy, will have to do some research! I've been dreading the day come when I would have to stop my BC if I wanted to have children- I've taken BC on and off since I was about 18, and each time I have stopped it my acne has returned in full, angry force.

gogreyhound

Re: birth control for acne?

(0) Hearts

while you would never use BC during pregnancy, I wanted to let you know that during my pregnancies my skin was amazing!! hopefully your hormones will do the same...I am anxiously awaiting menopause right now, because I still break out monthlly and get migraines. I can't take oral contraceptives due to diabetes and blood pressure issues, but have faith that your body will produce its own "good skin" hormones when yo are pregnant!

HawaiianEyes7

Re: birth control for acne?

(0) Hearts

I'm not sure if any kind of birth control is safe to take during pregnancy, but yes definitely research because I could be wrong!

brittany0859

Re: birth control for acne?

(0) Hearts

Not sure where you live, but I'm pretty sure Diane is banned in the States because it increases your risk for blood clots/heart failure. Many people died from it, so they banned it here. 

HawaiianEyes7

Re: birth control for acne?

(0) Hearts

I'm from Canada. I think you may be thinking of Yaz, which has caused a lot of deaths. I'm sure my doctor and pharmacist would have told me if it caused a lot of deaths. They told me about blood clots, but you can get them from any birth control. I don't think Diane 35 is strong enough to cause that many deaths.

mdelrosario91

Re: birth control for acne?

I was prescribed Ortho Tri Cyclen Lo to help with my cystic acne and to regulate my period. I was on Seasonique the year before, but it gave me two horrible cystic acne breakouts. I'm not exaggerating lol, at one point, I had 50 cystic pimples on my forehead alone.

 

It took about 2 months for the OTC Lo to finally help my skin. I've been on it for 6 months now, and I don't get any more breakouts whatsoever. I'll get a little whitehead on my nose every now and then, but that's because I have dry skin, and it goes away a day later.

 

I think Ortho Tri Cyclen would be a good option for you to try because it is FDA approved for acne. My OB prescribed the Lo version for me because the estrogen dosage is lower, and the dosage gradually increases over 21 days.  The higher dosage of estrogen and persistent dose for 84 days from Seasonique angered my skin, according to my doctor. 

irenet

Re: birth control for acne?

Everyone is different but I got back on birth control just for my acne. I've already made my decision not to have children so being on birth control for the duration is no big thing for me. I found that the year I went off birth control nothing seemed to work for my acne. It didn't get worse, it just wasn't getting better. Since being back on birth control I've had months acne free with only minor breakouts if I get stressed. You can always try it for a year and if you don't like it, you can stop.

TrysBeautyItems

Re: birth control for acne?

There are low doses of birth control, so it shouldn't cause side effects, if you may experience any - I never did. Ortho Tricyclen and O.T.Low are one of the first to help with acne. Did the doctor mention a blood test, to test hormone levels? If you are experience pain, rather than cramps, like you can't get out of bed during that time, birth control will help. I prefer pills as they are easier to stop or change, if needed. My acne has not been worse, only much better, and over the years I've used topicals, currently using Aczone which helped very fast as it's not salicylic acid nor benzyol peroxide.

brittany0859

Re: birth control for acne?

(0) Hearts

I've heard a lot about those for acne. While I think they would help me a lot, I'm still on the fence because I will eventually have to come off of it. Also, the hassle of finding the right birth control. I've heard a lot of things about really bad mood swings and weird symptoms when people start birth control and they had to change a lot to find the right one for them. She didn't say anything about hormone tests because my period are regular, and that's why she didn't put me on birth control three months ago, she wanted to see how the topical and antibiotic would help. I get cramps, but only on the first day of my period and they're not bad, I can just take some pamprin or something and they're gone. 

TrysBeautyItems

Re: birth control for acne?

[ Edited ]
(0) Hearts

Personally I've been on both version of OT and didn't have any symptoms, reviews are usually of the few people who it didn't work for rather than those who did :smileyhappy:

 


As for the hormone test, it was actually my dermatologist who suggested it, not because of how my period is..it was to see if my acne is more bacterial (for antibiotics) or for a imbalance, which birth control would help. I take BC for something else first anyways, acne is a second priority for me, even though mine isn't really either hormonal or bacterial. You can always cut back dairy (if a big dairy eater) to see if it helps acne since it's extra hormones.

 

If do you decide BC, you'll know soon enough if it works and remember the typical pill dosage is just taking 3 weeks of active pills in a row, then 1 week off or take the sugar pills (4th row of pack) and get a period.

smoestoe

Re: birth control for acne?

The patch (EVRA), which I have been on for four years, is one of your best options.  Because it's slow and steady stream of hormone, you don't get ups and downs.  It's a constant induction which not only gets rid of symptoms like headaches but also gets rid of acne. In my four years, I have had only a couple pimples every couple months compared to my usual mine trap.  I would definitely look into it.

LauraBellSue

Re: birth control for acne?

I've been through what feels like millions of different acne regimens.  Bactrim, doxycycline, solodyn, tazorac, retin-A, clindamycin, etc.  You name it, I've been on it.  I have horrible hormonal acne and none of it really worked for me until I started birth control.  I still had a few breakouts here and there when I was on the birth control along with an oral antibiotic, but it was significantly better than being on an oral antibiotic and topical alone.  I will admit that when I went off it for about a year just to test the waters, my acne came back with a vengeance.  I wouldn't say it was worse than before I had started, but it was just awful to have to start all over again since that cystic acne is SO hard to get rid of.

 

Because I still would get small breakouts while on birth control, my derm did add spironolactone to my regimen about a year ago and cut out the antibiotic.  I'm completely acne free now and it feels AWESOME.  I do have to get my blood drawn every three months to check my potassium levels, but it's worth it to me. 

 

If you're nervous about the birth control and your hormonal acne truly isn't that bad (a few pimples around your period, although annoying, doesn't sound out of control to me) I would definitely bring up the idea of starting spironolactone.  You can titrate your dosing based on how your skin looks and feels.

Advanced
You must be signed in to add attachments
Conversation Stats
  • 22 replies
  • 613 views
  • 7 hearts
  • 15 in conversation
    • waterbaby1981
    • smoestoe
    • mafan
    • crayzeeRN
    • brittany0859
    • mdelrosario91
    • TrysBeautyItems
    • HawaiianEyes7
    • meecheroo
    • gogreyhound
    • irenet
    • chlotam
    • Sn4rky
    • jdgrant
    • LauraBellSue