The Contraceptive Pill & Acne
Is it the answer to your skin concern or just a temporary fix?
For some people, acne isn't just a pesky skin issue that appears every so often; it's a chronic skin condition ranging from mild to severe irritation. Instead of dealing with the occasional breakout or two, the skin is consistently red, inflamed, and sometimes even painful to the touch.
There are many factors that contribute towards people having acne-prone skin (diet, gut health and stress just to name a few). But acne is often caused by an increase in androgens, which are male sex hormones. Androgens are present in women and become active in the teenage years for both men and women. They cause sebaceous glands to produce more sebum, or oil. Sebum is an oil made by glands in your skin. Along with skin cells, sebum can clog pores and promote the growth of bacteria that contribute to acne.
Hence why if you’re a woman who has acne, the contraceptive pill is an option many dermatologists prescribe to help treat it. The synthetic hormones found in the pill can help decrease the secretion of oil from your glands that can usually lessen breakouts.
Dermatologists have been prescribing the contraceptive pill to treat acne in women for decades. But just like taking any other prescribed medication, you need to do your research and talk to a doctor before using the pill especially for an extended period.
Side Effects of the Contraceptive Pill
If you’re prescribed a contraceptive pill to treat acne, you should be aware of the pill’s side effects.
These may include:
- Stomach cramps
- Weight gain/ weight loss
- Changes in your period
- Breast tenderness
Serious side effects of birth control include deep vein thrombosis (DVT), heart attack, and stroke. People who smoke, are older than 35, and have risk factors for cardiovascular disease are at a higher risk of these severe side effects.
The contraceptive pill, although can help clear your acne, may not be suitable to take long term. You should always consult with your doctor to find out what options is best suitable to you & your overall health.
What Happens When we Stop Taking the Pill?
When we stop taking the pill our body begins to produce sebum at a normal rate. However, this rate is somewhat more aggressive than before due to a temporary surge in androgens.
While it’s normal for everyone to have some level of androgens in their body, a dramatic increase can lead to acne breakouts.
Typically, your androgens will be at their highest around the three to six-month mark after stopping the pill. This is when you are most likely to see a flare-up. However, there’s no need to go back on the contraceptive pill to clear up your skin. There are some easy strategies you can put in place with your diet to ensure that your transition is smoother.
Restore key nutrients
Starting with your diet is one of the easiest ways to improve your overall health.
Re-establishing key nutrients is our first point of call. Many nutrients are depleted while taking the oral contraceptive pill. Fundamental nutrients include B vitamins, magnesium, vitamin C, zinc and vitamin D.
Stick to nutrient-dense whole foods. Some simple add-ins include a good mix of seeds (hemp, flax, sunflower, pumpkin, sesame). As well as foods high in antioxidants such as blueberries, dark chocolate, green leafy veg and nuts.
Eat enough protein
Protein provides us with energy and is full of amino acids that are used in the cell renewal process. If you are vegan or vegetarian focus on eating a wide variety of plant-based protein to maximise your amino acid intake.
Give your liver a boost
Our livers detoxify our bodies every day and there are ways that we can boost this process to be as efficient as possible. One of the liver's main roles is to take hormones that are no longer being used, metabolise them and excrete them from the body.
If our liver is not functioning properly, our hormones are not broken down effectively and circulate around in our bloodstream.
Foods that help up-regulate your liver include Brussel sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower. Herbal teas such as dandelion, turmeric, and green tea also work wonders.
Balance your blood sugar by eating regular meals
We want our blood sugar levels to be stable throughout the day. Ideally with no dropping and no spiking. Eating regular meals that have a good supply of slow-burning carbohydrates will help keep your blood sugar levels in check.
Spending long periods of time without food can cause your blood sugar levels to drop. This results in a craving for sugary foods to bring it back up. Constant exposure to this dysregulation of blood sugar can cause inflammation. Safeguarding against inflammation gives your body the best conditions for optimal skin.
The AMPERNA® Skincare solution
We know that it can be difficult to manage skin concerns like acne, so we developed the AMPERNA® range for people like you. All of AMPERNA®’s products have been tested on real people with real skin concerns, including acne prone skin.
AMPERNA® products contain a unique probiotic complex that delivers good bacteria to your skin gently and effectively. Recent studies have found that probiotic supplements and probiotic skin care can help to effectively reduce total acne lesion counts and help decrease oil production over a 12 week period.
So how do topical probiotics for acne work? Probiotics applied directly to the skin sit on the skin’s surface and create a “bacterial interference". They work in a similar way to antibiotics in the treatment of acne and rosacea. Probiotics have antimicrobial properties as they can create holes in bad bacteria and kill them which stops the bacteria from triggering inflammation.
You can read up more about one of our customers experience coming off the pill for her acne.
When it comes to skin health, Kiri, founder of AMPERNA®, helps many people suffering from a variety of skin & health conditions. You can book a Holistic Skin Coaching Service to discuss your skin concerns and develop a tailored plan to work towards healthy skin.