Curbing breakouts with birth control

Written by Bedsider on November 7th, 2018

Whether you deal with acne all month or just around your period, birth control may be able to help.

From the pill to the patch, ring, and IUD, there are a few options to choose from to keep your birth control covered and your skin clear.

Option 1: A combined hormonal method

If you have acne, any combined hormonal birth control method may be able to help you manage it. Combined hormonal methods, which contain progestin and estrogen hormones, include a bunch of different kinds of pills, the ring, and the patch. One advantage of the combined (a.k.a. combination) pill is that there are a few types to choose from, so you have flexibility to find a different formulation if you don’t like the first one you try.

Use this side-by-side method comparison to check out the additional benefits of combined pills, the patch, and the ring, and get in touch with your health care provider. Your provider can make a recommendation for the best combined method to try based on your individual health history and lifestyle.

When it comes to choosing a combined pill, there are a lot of different options. Three brands—Estrostep, Ortho Tri-cyclen, and YAZ—might seem the most familiar because they are approved by the FDA for the treatment of acne. This means the makers of these three brands asked the FDA for approval to advertise treatment of acne—but research has shown that other combination pills are just as effective for treating acne.

Progestin-only methods have shown mixed results with acne. If you’re acne-prone and considering a progestin-only method, your provider can make a recommendation for the best method for your skin.

Option 2. A hormonal IUD, plus

With a hormonal IUD, you can have all of the effectiveness and ease that IUD users love paired with a combined pill or prescription acne medication. Using the hormonal IUD and a combined pill is a great way to back up your birth control, manage hormones, and treat acne.

Option 3. Non-hormonal IUD, plus

Another option for serious pregnancy prevention and serious acne control is to pair that little T with prescription acne medication. Your provider can help you choose a highly effective birth control method to pair with an acne prescription. Together you can make a plan that meets your birth control and skincare needs.

Q&A Time!

Is my hormonal birth control method making my acne worse?

If your pill is making you break out, a different formulation may work better for you. If you are on a formulation of a pill that is making your acne worse, talk to your provider about switching.

What if I’m using birth control to manage acne, but it’s not working?

If you’ve just started using a new method to improve your acne, it might take a while for your body to adjust to the change. Try waiting a few weeks, or even a few months, to see if your acne improves. Check in with your provider periodically if your skin isn’t clearing up.

Can I improve my acne without using hormonal birth control?

If you don’t want to use hormonal birth control, you can try working with certain prescription medications and topical solutions for acne.

There are plenty of options for avoiding pesky pimples—from using one method to several together. When it comes to choosing the best option for you, do your research, talk with your provider, and be ready to try a few methods to keep your skin clear and your birth control covered.

The views expressed in this article intend to highlight alternative studies and induce conversation. They are the views of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of HeyDoctor, and are for informational purposes only, even if and to the extent that this article features the advice of physicians and medical practitioners. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.