Studies indicate that certain birth control pills can be
used to treat severe acne in girls and women.
is a common
skin condition that usually affects adolescents. Pimples flare up on the facial
skin due to underlying hormonal changes that are seen at this age. Excessive
androgens in the blood cause increased sebum production in the skin
, which leads
Mild acne subsides on its own or with
over-the-counter medications like benzoyl peroxide or antibiotic
Severe acne may require treatment with oral medications.
One of the options for treating severe acne in women
is the use of the oral contraceptive pill
The pill contains the hormones, estrogen and progesterone, which may counteract
the effect of androgens on the skin. Studies indicate that the effect may not
be dramatic; it may take days or weeks for the acne to disappear. In fact, the
problem may initially appear to worsen.
It is not clear, however, if a particular type of birth control pill
is more effective than others in controlling
acne. Pills that contain
only progesterone can worsen acne and should be avoided. The pills should also
be used with local treatments for better effect.
Side Effects of Birth Control Pills
It should not be
forgotten that birth control pills are not without side effects. They can be
used only to treat girls and women who are menstruating
, and are therefore unsuitable for younger girls.
Though the currently available pills are comparatively much safer than the
older ones, the patient is at an increased risk of conditions like deep vein thrombosis
(blood clots in the veins of the legs).
Other potential risks of birth control pills include high blood pressure
, liver disease, gall stones, migraine headaches
, irregular bleeding, breast tenderness and depression
Birth control pills may therefore not be advisable
for people at risk for the above conditions. Women at a higher risk for certain
avoid taking these medications for acne.
Thus, birth control pills are an option for the treatment of acne in
menstruating women, who also desire its use for contraception