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Which Birth Control is Best for Acne?

For women, acne is a nightmare and leads to social embarrassment along with skin scarring in several situations. In a few industries, severe scarring lowers the chance of employment. The use of birth control pills by dermatologists has been the best treatment and in existence for decades. Although there are several drugs that are available for both control, Food and Drug Administration approved only three birth control pills for treating acne. However, an important factor to consider is that choosing the birth control pill is possible only when the receiver is in good health.

What is Acne?

During puberty, the body undergoes changes where it produces several hormones. Out of these, a particular kind of hormone is the reason for causing acne. As the relationship between hormones and acne varies from person to person, the existence of it can continue even after menopause in some cases.
The cause behind the occurrence of acne is due to excessive secretion of sebum. Sebum is the oil produced by oil glands lying underneath the skin. Apart from the dead skin cells, sebum, and dirt clog the pores of the skin, which promote the growth of bacteria that is responsible for causing acne. The hormones that are responsible for secreting excessive production of sebum are androgens, which also have the presence of testosterone.

Which Birth Control is Best for Acne?

Which Birth Control is Best for Acne?

In a woman, adrenaline glands and ovaries are the birthplaces of androgens. They usually produce a low level of these hormones. However, when the levels are excess, using birth control pills consisting of progesterone and estrogen can help in lowering the secretion of sebum due to androgen hormones. Due to this, it is possible to prevent the occurrence of severe acne.

The Three Types of Birth Control Pills to Treat Acne:

Over the last few decades, there has been an increase in research and development of new products for birth control. However, Food and Drug Administration gave approval only for three medications that are helpful in treating acne. All the three medicines are combinations and oral birth control pills containing both progesterone and estrogen. In a few cases, birth control pills consisting only progesterone as the component can worsen the acne situation.

All the birth control drugs contain a low level of estrogen or in some cases the same form of the molecule. However, the content of the progesterone changes along with its formation. It is here that the drug given to the recipient affects the output of the treatment. The following are the approved medications by FDA:

  • Ortho Tri-Cyclen: This birth control pill for acne is a combination of estrogen and progestin called as norgestimate. Progestin is the artificial form of progesterone and human-made. It is available in different doses and combinations.
  • Estrostep: This birth control pill for acne uses a combination of progestin called as norethindrone along with estrogen. The medicine is available in different doses of estrogen.
  • YAZ: YAZ is a birth control pill for acne which uses a combination of human-made progestin call as drospirenone with estrogen. However, according to FDA, the human-made progestin may cause an increase in blood clots in comparison to other birth control pills.

Although all the three birth control pills for acne have different combinations with estrogen, a study conducted on the results did not show a significant difference. Therefore, only a dermatologist can recommend the prescribed dosage level and a change in the medicine depending on the results. Additionally, they can also prescribe other oral contraceptives along with topical creams.

If you are already continuing with a particular brand of a birth control pill for acne, then do not make a switch. You can use the above mentioned FDA approved medicines for treating acne if it is your first time.


  1. American Academy of Dermatology Association – Acne: Who gets and causes Information on the causes of acne and its connection to hormonal changes.

  2. Mayo Clinic – Acne
    Overview of acne, its causes, and treatment options, including hormonal therapies.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 24, 2023

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