BackgroundMany women report significant changes in the frequency and severity of their acne outbreaks after beginning a program of hormonal contraceptives. For many women the use hormonal birth control leads to a decrease in their acne symptoms, particularly in acne corresponding to their menstrual cycle. However, some women do report an adverse impact on their acne. The effects of birth control on acne are likely due to the elevated or stabilized levels the female hormones, estrogen and progestin. These female hormones can counteract the effect of androgen hormones, causing a decrease in the growth and activity of the sebaceous glands. As a result, sebumproduction is often decreased and normalized, leading to a reduction in acne symptoms. There are a wide range of different birth control medications. There are few comprehensive studies that indicate which medications are better or worse for the control of acne symptoms.
Hormonal Birth Control Combinations and Brand Names
Levonorgestrel and Ethinyl Estradiol
Etonogestrel and Ethinyl Estradiol
Norgestimate and Ethinyl Estradiol
Norethindrone and Ethinyl Estradiol
Desogestrel and Ethinyl Estradiol
Drospirenone and Ethinyl Estradiol
Norgestrel and Ethinyl Estradiol
Ethynodiol Diacetate and Ethinyl Estradiol
Estradiol Valerate and Dienogest
Norelgestromin and Ethinyl Estradiol
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Prescription Medications and Acne Vulgaris
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Light and Laser Therapies and Acne Vulgaris
Over the Counter Medications (OTC) and Acne Vulgaris
References and Sources
PDR Staff Writers. 2011. 2011 Physicians’ Desk Reference (PDR)
Habif. 2009. Clinical Dermatology
Goodheart. 2006. Acne For Dummies
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