Birth Control for Acne

Top Pills for Clear Skin

For women with mild to severe acne, doctors will often prescribe birth control for acne treatment.

In general, birth control pills that help acne do so by reducing the amount of androgens (male sex hormones) that are created in your body. Androgens are partly responsible for acne formation, as discussed in my hormones and acne page.

By reducing the amount of androgens in the body, the sebaceous glands produce less oil. Since oil clogs the pores and increases the risk of acne, this helps prevent acne breakouts.

Most Popular Brands of Birth Control for Acne :

  • Ortho Tri-Cyclen is generally regarded as the most popular birth control pill used for preventing breakouts. Ortho Tri-Cyclen contains the hormones progesterone and estrogen. These two female sex hormones work to lower androgen levels by:

    1. telling the ovaries and adrenal gland to produce less testosterone
    2. inhibiting the conversion of free testosterone into dihydrotestosterone
  • The second most popular brand of birth control pills that help acne is Yasmin (also called Yaz).

  • Additionally, women have had some success treating acne using the brands Estrostep and Diane 35 (in Canada).

It can take up to 3 months to start seeing results with birth control. And some women have reported that their skin actually got worse before getting better.


Potential Side Effects :

There's a whole load of side effects to consider. Here are some common ones:

  • high blood pressure
  • weight gain
  • loss of libido
  • mood swings
  • dizziness
  • breast tenderness
  • breakthrough bleeding
  • headache
  • nausea


Using birth control for acne may be a good option to help you control your breakouts; however, there are risks involved, especially for women who smoke and those over 35 years of age. Always consult your doctor and discuss all the risks before starting a treatment plan.


Return from Birth Control for Acne to Acne Skin Solutions