Oral Contraception Pills and Acne

Combined oral contraceptives (COCs) are approved for treatment of acne.  A few of them even have FDA approval for acne treatment. If there is a noticeable cyclic activity to acne breakouts, such as right before the start of the menstrual cycle, then hormones may be contributing to the acne. Androgens, “the male hormone”, stimulate sebum production in the skin causing follicles to accumulate debris, forming comedones.  These comedones can be open or closed, forming whiteheads or blackheads, respectively. In this way, androgens stimulate acne. Balancing the hormones can be key to controlling acne flare ups for young women. COCs decrease the amount of circulating androgen thus decreasing sebum and acne stimulation.

As a contraceptive method, COCs fail at a rate of 8% with typical use and at a rate of 0.1% with perfect use. COCs are available in different formulations with varying amounts of estrogen and progestin.  COCs are also used in the treatment of other medical conditions such as premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), dysmenorrhea, abnormal uterine bleeding, and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).

Author
Kirstie Cunningham, MD, FACOG President, Metro Health and Wellness, LLC

You Might Also Enjoy...

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT INFERTILITY

Infertility is a medical issue that is usually not talked about but is often emotionally painful. This article discusses the definition and causes of infertility and the disparity in infertility treatment.

BLACK MATERNAL HEALTH

Did you know that black women are 3-4 times more likely to die from a pregnancy related issue, compared to white women? This article discusses the disparities in maternal health.

BioTE Couples Valentine's Day Hormone Seminar

Valentine's Day is right around the corner. Do you know someone with any of the following symptoms: hot flashes, moodiness, reduced libido, reduced muscle strength, weight gain, trouble sleeping? If so, call 470-336-9616 to register.

ORAL CONTRACEPTIVE PILLS

This article discusses oral contraceptive pills including their benefits and mechanism of action. It also answers commonly asked questions regarding oral contraceptive pills.