Can Acne Be Caused by Birth Control?

Can Acne Be Caused by Birth Control

When you feel and are healthy from the inside, it can absolutely be seen on your skin. Your skincare makes your skin radiate. However, there are multiple reasons that can affect skin and one of the most prominent among them is hormonal imbalance. Women often suffer from acne breakouts due to hormonal imbalance at different stages of their lives.

Hormonal imbalance in the body can be caused due to natural hormonal changes such as during puberty and menstruation. However, it may also occur because of birth control pills. If you are wondering can birth control cause acne, this article will give you an insight.

Birth Control Pills

Birth Control Pills

A birth control pill (1) contains hormones that prevent pregnancy. It is a pill that needs to be taken daily if you don’t want to conceive. The synthetic hormones in the pills control how the ovaries and uterus function around the periods and ovulation. The estrogen and progesterone present in the pills help in preventing ovulation every month until you are taking these pills. If there is no ovulation, there is no chance of pregnancy.

Taking birth control pills is safe to consume. Usually, there are a few side effects of it, such as:

  • Blood clots
  • Irregular periods
  • Heavy bleeding
  • Nausea, headache
  • Breast tenderness

Even though these are the common side-effects of birth control pills, some women also experience acne. One of the common causes of acne (2) is hormonal changes in the body. Since birth control pills disrupt the normal hormonal functions of the body, acne could be seen as one of the outcomes.

Acne can be caused by various factors. It can be caused by hormonal changes, diet, pollution and dust, PMS, etc. When dirt, dead skin cells, and oil clog the hair follicles in your skin, it causes acne. While acne typically pops up on the face, it can also appear on different other parts of the body such as legs, arms, chest, and back.

How Can Birth Control Cause Acne?

In the market, you will find several choices for birth control options. Not necessarily do they all contain the same ingredient, but all work to prevent pregnancy. You will find most of the birth controls containing progestin and estrogen. Different progestin is used in different types of birth controls that can work distinctively in your body. The synthetic progestin increases the quantity of androgens in the body that leads to acne break outs in the skin.

Androgen (3), which is male sex hormone, is produced in the female body as well but in small quantities. The increased androgen can produce sebum or oil in excess. As a result, when excess sebum clogs the hair follicle of our skin, it leads to the formation of acne.

So, the answer to can birth control cause acne is yes. However, it is not necessary that all women will have acne after taking birth control pills. Different body reacts differently to medications. While some women may have acne breakouts due to birth control pills, others will not.

Treatment for Acne

Treatment for Acne

If the birth control you are using is giving you hard times with pain and inflammation of acne, here are a few options that might help you with them-

  • Switching to a different option of birth control that is likely to suit you.
  • Using birth control, which is non-hormonal.
  • Applying skin products containing salicylic acid and topical retinoids. You can quickly get them over the counter.
  • Using water-based skin products and oil-free cosmetics.

Beside these, you can always make efforts to maintain good skin hygiene and skincare routine. Always remember to wash your face after sweat-producing activities. At the same time, try using products with ingredients such as niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, and retinoid as they are highly effective in acne-prone skin.

If you have tried everything on the above list and many more solutions and still do not getting rid of the acne problem, seek medical help. Visit your doctor to either change your birth control option or your dermatologist who can tell the root cause behind your acne and the probable treatment for the same.


If you change your birth control method after experiencing acne from the first one, you might not see immediate results from it. Your body will take around 2-3 months to adjust to the changed hormones. Using too many over-the-counter skin products can also tend to dry out your skin. Do not try self-experimenting with your skin, as it can worsen the acne situation. The safest way to deal with it is to consult your doctor and start a reliable treatment.

Image Source : canva

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