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:
Diane 35 (Dianette) Demulan/Zovia/Kelnor Ortho tricyclen Sprintec/Tri-Sprintec Previfem/Tri-Previfem MonoNessa/Tri-Nessa
Brevicon Modicon Necon Ortho-Novum Ovcon Femcon
It is best to avoid the following pills that are high in androgen activity and low in estrogen, which are some of the following:
Lessina Levonest/Levora Lutera
Portia Seasonale/Seasonique Sronyx
Triphasil//Trivora Cryselle Lo-Ovral/Ovral Low-Ogestrel/Ogestrel Lo-Feminol
Ortho tricyclen Lo Estrostep Fe Loestrin Microgestin
Azurette Caziant Cyclessa Desogen Emoquette Kariva
Linessa Marvelon NuvaRing Depo-Provera Reclipsen
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 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 schedule an Acne Consultation and get some additional perspective on how I can help you with the use of topical products and treatments.