How do birth control pills affect the skin?

Birth control pills can have both positive and negative effects on your skin. As a result, it is increasingly being investigated for use in the treatment of skin conditions such as acne.

Birth control pills are useful for more than just preventing pregnancy and may be effective in treating dermatological problems as well. It has even been shown to be effective in correcting some conditions such as acne, female hair loss, and hirsutism. Many women also use birth control pills, especially because of their effect on the skin.

There are many types of birth control pills, and they all have positive and negative effects on the top layer of the skin. If you have any additional questions after reading this article, always consult your doctor.

side effects of birth control pills

A study published in “Australian Family Physician” found that hormonal contraceptives can affect the skin in three different ways.

  • Reduces the amount of masculinizing hormones produced by the ovaries and adrenal glands.
  • It limits the amount of testosterone circulating in the bloodstream and quenches the biological activation that causes physiological effects.
  • It reduces the level of estrogen present in the body, which affects sebum production by the sebaceous glands.

Contraception can also have side effects or negative effects on the skin. For example, some women suffer from skin depigmentation or hyperpigmentation. This is an unpleasant reaction that typically occurs after exposure to ultraviolet light without adequate sun protection.

In other words, hormonal contraceptives can cause or aggravate melasma, a condition in which dark brown irregular patches appear on the upper lip, forehead, and cheeks. This skin condition can occur during pregnancy, which highlights the influence of the hormonal component.

effect on the skin

Acne is a skin condition that can benefit greatly from the hormonal effects of birth control pills.

How do birth control pills affect the skin?

Just like hormone levels vary from woman to woman, the effects of birth control pills are all different. That said, it is impossible to predict the side effects that someone may experience when taking birth control pills. However, there are several types of contraceptives that have been extensively studied and are now commercially available and reliable. Read more about the different types below.


The main reason acne occurs during puberty is because the body produces large amounts of the male hormone testosterone. Despite the male hormone’s name, both boys and girls produce testosterone.

Inflammatory acne and non-inflammatory acne can be improved by using birth control pills. These medicines contain two types of female hormones, estrogen, and progestin, to combat androgens.

Even so, most birth control pills aren’t specifically approved for treating acne. There are also non-hormonal treatments that can help, some of which have fewer side effects.

birth control injection

One contraceptive injection can last up to 90 days. Your doctor will give you an injection into your deltoid muscle (the upper part of your arm) or your gluteal muscle.

Contraceptive injections combined with progestin are a good option that is safe, effective, and reversible contraceptives. In the past few years, contraceptive injections have become popular because of their practicality and because they relieve users of the daily reminder to take their pills, which has been a problem for many women who take the pill.

Contraceptive injections can help improve acne because they reduce the activity of the sebaceous glands. The description is the same as for oral contraceptives.

Intrauterine device (IUD)

Loop, like condoms, natural contraception, and surgery, is one of the contraceptives that do not contain hormones. Therefore, the loop does not affect the skin condition.

The hormonal loop, on the other hand, releases limited amounts of progestin while in the womb. Of course, this means that it can change sebum production.

subcutaneous contraceptive implant

Subcutaneous contraceptive implants are almost always small rods that are inserted under the skin in the upper arm. This contraceptive provides a sustained release of progestin.

It is important to mention that the effects of progestins on the skin are not as evident as those of estrogens. However, progestin implantation not only increases sebum but also increases its effect on the vascular system.

birth control ring

This birth control method is a transparent, flexible polyethylene or vinyl acetate ring that is inserted into the vagina and slowly releases estrogen and progestin into the body. This prevents the ovaries from releasing an egg during each menstrual cycle.

People who have been using this birth control method for a long time noticeably improved their acne symptoms. In other words, it is the hormonal component of contraceptives that is responsible for this positive effect.

morning after pill

This type of emergency contraception is intended to prevent pregnancy after a woman has had unprotected sex or contraception has failed (for example, if the condom is damaged or the pill is forgotten). The morning-after pill is so named because, unlike other options, it must be taken after sex rather than before.

This drug differs in its effectiveness because of its high progestin content. As it is decomposed in the body, it can have androgen properties, so skin diseases can get worse or more sebum than usual can be produced.

effect on the skin

The hormonal loop can have beneficial effects on the skin. The loop does not affect the skin.

Read more:  How the morning-after pill affects your body

Can I use birth control pills for my skin?

According to a study in the American Journal of Dermatology, antibiotics may have a better effect on acne after 3 months of use, but oral contraceptives have the same effect after 6 months of use. This shows that contraceptives have tremendous potential in the dermatology industry.

As a result, opting for contraceptives for the skin instead of antibiotics may be the best option as an alternative to treating acne in the long run. This can be seen as a secondary benefit of hormonal contraceptives in addition to their effectiveness as a method of preventing pregnancy.

If you are interested in birth control for skin problems, consult a dermatologist. They will help you gauge the severity of the acne you have and weigh your risks to identify the best course of treatment.

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