For years, doctors have known a secret to clearing up breakout-prone skin. Usually coupled with topical anti-acne ingredients like salicylic acid, retinoids and benzoyl peroxide, dermatologists have known of the pimple-busting power of birth control.
Hormonally caused acne can sometimes be kept under control with birth control because contraceptives contain a progestin and sometimes estrogen (they can either contain estrogen or not contain it). Estrogen is believed to help hinder acne by reducing the amount of testosterone in the blood.
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But a new study in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology reports that taking contraceptives could help or worsen your acne depending on which type of birth control is taken. The study observed the effects of multiple different types of contraceptives in over 2,000 patients who were taking the medication to control acne and discovered that hormonal intrauterine devices (IUD) and depot injections made acne worse, and oral contraceptives showed signs of improvement in some and no improvement in others.
The study names Mirena, Depo Provera, Levora, Previfem and Seasonale as worsening acne, and Yaz and Ortho Tri-Cyclen as generally improving acne.
So, if your using birth control as a way to control your acne and it’s not working for you, it may be time to make a switch.