Exploring Birth Control for Acne Treatment and Important Considerations

Nishi Kashyap
Medically reviewed by
Dr. Kaushal

Review medical content on WOW Rx Pharmacy, so that accurate drug use information is easily accessible to everybody.
Dr. Akansha is a licensed Clinical Pharmacologist. She possesses remarkable knowledge in Pharmacovigilance, prescription analysis, drug information, and drug safety services. Additionally, she is a keen learner and an educator.

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birth control for acne

Birth control pills, also called oral contraceptives, have long been associated with preventing unwanted pregnancies. 

However, beyond their primary contraceptive function, these pills have found a role in managing various health conditions, including acne.

The development of acne is linked to the increased production of Androgens.

Increased levels of Androgen can stimulate the sebaceous glands to produce more oil. It leads to the formation of acne.

In this article, we will discuss how birth control works and also explore different types of birth control for acne treatment.

How birth control works for acne

Most combination birth control pills contain synthetic forms of Estrogen and Progestin.

These are the two hormones that play a crucial role in regulating the menstrual cycle. 

By introducing these hormones into the body, birth control pills can effectively suppress the natural hormone Androgen that contributes to acne.

It subsequently reduces sebum production, helping to prevent clogged pores and the formation of pimples.

Sebum is an oily substance produced by the sebaceous glands.

The minipill, which contains only Progestin, does not provide the same acne-fighting benefits. 

Birth control for treating acne

Woman holding birth control pillsSource: towfiqu_ahamed_barbhuiya
Woman holding birth control pills

There are several types of birth control for treating acne.

Consult with a doctor to find out the most suitable option based on the individual’s health history and needs. 

Keep in mind that individual responses to these medications can vary.

Ortho Tri-Cyclen (and its generics)

This is an oral contraceptive that contains a combination of Norgestimate (a synthetic Progestin) and Ethinyl Estradiol (an Estrogen). 

It is FDA-approved for the treatment of moderate acne in women who are at least 15 years old.

Exercise caution for potential side effects with the use of Ortho Tri-Cyclen. These may include nausea, headaches, and breast tenderness. Serious risks like blood clots, and increased blood pressure, demand attention.

Yaz (and its generics)

Yaz is a combined birth control pill that contains Ethinyl Estradiol and Drospirenone. 

It is also FDA-approved for the treatment of moderate acne.

Estrostep Fe (and its generics)

This birth control pill contains a combination of Norethindrone Acetate, Ethinyl Estradiol, and Ferrous Fumarate. 

It’s another option that may be prescribed to help manage acne.


Diane-35 is a combination oral contraceptive that contains Cyproterone Acetate (anti-androgen) and Ethinyl Estradiol. 

It is used for the treatment of acne, Hirsutism, and other Androgen-related conditions unresponsive to antibiotic medicines.

Hirsutism is a condition known for excessive, unwanted hair growth in areas where men usually grow hair. It often occurs in women and is associated with an excess of male hormones.

Important considerations

There are a few important things that should be considered when taking medicine for acne.

It includes the following:

Consultation with a dermatologist

Woman taking consultation from a doctorSource: Getty_images
Consultation with a dermatologist

It’s important to note that the medications described in the above section are prescription-only.

Not all birth control pills have the same effect on acne, and individual responses may vary.

Before incorporating acne medications, it is essential to consult with a dermatologist.

Prescription medications

Dermatologists may prescribe topical or oral medications based on the type and severity of acne.

Prescription options can include retinoids, antibiotics, or oral contraceptives for hormonal acne.

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Individualized treatment plans

Acne is a highly individualized condition, and treatment plans should be made according to a person’s needs.

A dermatologist considers factors such as skin type, medical history, and lifestyle when recommending medications.

In some cases, they may recommend combining birth control with other acne medications for a comprehensive approach.

It’s advisable to opt for combination pills with Progestin having low androgenic potential to minimize side effects such as oily skin and acne. 


Birth control pills can be effective in acne treatment by regulating hormone levels and reducing androgens in the body. 

Ortho Tri-Cyclen, Yaz, and Estrostep Fe are some examples of birth control pills known for their acne-fighting properties.

However, individual responses may vary.

Considering the individualized nature of acne, consulting with a dermatologist is essential.

Dermatologists may prescribe topical or oral medications based on the type and severity of acne, including retinoids and antibiotics. 

Acne treatment plans should be tailored to each person’s needs, considering factors such as skin type, medical history, and lifestyle.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does birth control help in treating acne?

Elevated Androgen levels contribute to acne development. Birth control helps treat acne by regulating hormones, specifically by reducing Androgens (male hormones) in the body. Some birth control pills containing Estrogen and Progestin help stabilize hormone levels.

Which birth control pills help in treating acne?

Birth control pills such as Ortho Tri-Cyclen, Yaz, and Estrostep Fe are known for treating acne. They comprise a combination of Estrogen and Progestin, regulating hormones to reduce androgens. Consultation with a healthcare provider is necessary to find out the most suitable option based on individual needs.

Do all birth control pills help treat acne?

No, not all birth control pills have the same effect on acne. Individual responses may vary. Some birth control pills are specifically FDA-approved for treating acne, while others may have this as a secondary benefit.

What are the considerations while taking drugs for acne treatment?

Considerations when taking acne medication include consulting a dermatologist for advice. Individualized treatment plans and potential side effects awareness are necessary. In some cases, combining birth control with other medications is crucial for effective acne management.

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