Zits, pimples, blemishes, facial constellations; whatever you choose to call them, the truth is that we’ve all experienced acne in our lifetime. Whether on the day of a career-changing interview, holiday or hot date, an acne ambush shows no bounds. Creeping on to our faces with less notice than a mother-in-law on your doorstep, acne is so unpredictable that a psychic couldn’t predict its arrival. But what if we could eliminate acne altogether? Or, at the very least, treat acne to the point where our trusty tube of concealer would last longer than a week (kudos, concealer, we worship your zit-disguising abilities).

Well, we have three words. Oral contraceptive pill. Those three words could be the best weapon in your acne combatting arsenal. Even though dietary habits, skin care products and cleansing rituals can play a huge role in causing acne, achieving blemish-free skin really is an inside job. So, stop throwing your dollars down the drain (aka hoarding topical products) and continue reading to learn the best birth control for acne.

First things first; what causes acne?

When it comes to the cause of acne, the lead culprit is a group of hormones called androgens. They’re typically considered male hormones (testosterone is the most well-known), but don’t let that misconception fool you – female bodies naturally produce androgens in small amounts, too. The purpose of androgens in women is to trigger hair growth during puberty, support bone health via estrogen conversion, and regulate the function of several organs, including the reproductive tract, kidneys and liver. That aside, androgens play a key role in maintaining a woman’s sex drive (bonus!).

When the body’s hormonal profile swings towards a male dominance, the sebaceous glands become more active. This leads to an overproduction of oil that blocks the sebaceous glands and causes inflammation on the surface of the skin. That inflammation; that’s what we call acne.

And, how does birth control work?

The main goal of the oral contraceptive pill is to stop ovulation. If there’s no ovulation, there’s no egg. If there’s no egg, there’s no chance of growing a baby. Comprende? To stop ovulation, the pill blocks signals from the pituitary gland to release ovulation-triggering hormones. As a back-up measure, the pill also thickens the consistency of cervical mucus, making it hard for sperm to make their way through to a potential egg. Yep, we’re comparing this to swimming through quicksand – good luck, spermies!

The final piece; how does birth control help to treat acne?

Combined oral contraceptives contain two ingredients; estrogen and progestin. Together, these ingredients lower the production of androgens in the body. With less androgens floating around, there’s a slimmer chance of excess oil production. Less oil = less pimples busting onto the facial scene.

Which birth control pills are approved to treat acne?

The best birth control for acne is a combination pill containing both an estrogen (ethinylestradiol) and progestin (drospirenone). We have three contraceptive pills that treat acne available through Youly:

– Yaz

– Yasmin

– Petibelle

NB; The minipill only contains progestin, so it won’t be beneficial in the treatment of acne.

How long will it take to clear acne using birth control?

Once you commence your birth control plan, it may take some time for your body to adjust to its new hormone levels. Keep in mind that acne may flare up before your life becomes completely blemish-free. While some people may experience acne relief within a few weeks, a noticeable improvement should occur around the 3-month mark.

This blog is designed to be informative and educational. It is not intended to provide specific medical advice or replace advice from your medical practitioner.