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Birth Control for Acne


Birth control pills are widely used today and prescribed often as a means to control acne. Most pills can have the potential to cause acne and weight gain in those susceptible. Typically the pills are divided up as estrogen or progestin dominant and have varying degrees of androgenic (testosterone like) effects. As a general rule of thumb, pills with the potential for higher androgenic symptoms should be avoided for people prone to acne because they promote breakouts. As an acne sufferer it is important to speak with your doctor about selecting a pill that is higher in estrogen and lower in androgen potency.


The most commonly prescribed pills in this category are:


  • Brevicon

  • Demulan/Zovia/Kelnor

  • Modicon

  • Ortho tricyclen

  • Necon

  • Sprintec/Tri-Sprintec

  • Ortho-Novum

  • Previfem/Tri-Previfem

  • Ovcon

  • MonoNessa/Tri-Nessa

  • Femcon


It is best to avoid the following pills that are high in androgen activity and low in estrogen.


  • Alesse

  • Triphasil/Trivora

  • Azurette

  • Amethyst

  • Cryselle

  • Caziant

  • Jolessa

  • Lo-Ovral/Ovral

  • Cyclessa

  • Lessina

  • Low-Ogestrel/Ogestrel

  • Desogen

  • Levonest/Levora

  • Lo-Feminol

  • Emoquette

  • Lutera

  • Ortho tricyclen Lo

  • Implanon

  • Kariva

  • Nordette

  • Estrostep Fe

  • Linessa

  • Portia

  • Loestrin

  • Marvelon

  • Seasonale/Seasonique

  • Microgestin

  • NuvaRing

  • Sronyx

  • Apri

  • Depo-Provera

  • Mirena IUD

  • Mircette

  • Reclipsen

  • Nexplanon

  • Norplant


Only you and your doctor can determine what pill is right for you. The above is just a basic guideline that should be used to initiate a conversation between you and your physician. If you are considering taking birth control pills, it is important to know that they are associated with a high risk of blood clots, weight gain, nausea, mood changes, depression and breast tenderness. Serious side effects include strokes, digestive issues and embolism.


Finally, it is entirely possible to treat acne without going on the pill at all. If you have no underlying health issues that require you to be on birth control and are considering taking birth control pills only to control your acne, please feel free to talk with one of the estheticians to get some additional perspective on how we can help you with the use of topical products and treatments.


Content provided courtesy of Face Reality Acne Clinic




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