Hormone therapy is used to reverse production of excess male hormones in women. This is important for controlling and treating acne because excess male hormones (androgen specifically) often leads to enlargement of oil-producing glands. In turn, such enlargements produce more sebum, which leads to acne breakouts.
There are many forms of hormone therapy. The most common are birth control pills or oral contraceptives. In general, such pills could help in mopping up free androgen that may circulate in the bloodstream. For acne control, oral contraceptives block or inhibit male hormones that give way to a situation that is perfect for acne formation.
For many years now, a rising number of doctors have been using birth control pills as hormone therapy and as an off-label acne treatment. No less, the US Food and Drug Administration have approved the use of several birth control pills as possible acne medicines. Such pills are often prescribed following failure of other common options to treat and control the skin problem.
What Makes Birth Control Pills Effective?
Birth control pills are complied with estrogen and progestin which alter the natural reproductive cycle and hormonal patterns in women. Most of these pills have etradiol, which is an estrogen booster. The main goal of the substance is to lower testosterone levels in the body and improve hormone-caused acne breakouts. After production of the male hormone is suppressed, oil production in the sebaceous glands is significantly reduced.
There's no doubt that oral contraceptives are helpful in eliminating acne problems, especially in women who suffer from polycystic ovarian syndrome. Some oral contraceptives have progesterone that limit or regulate androgen hormones in the body to lower acne breakout activity. In this regard, excessive hair growth is also controlled.
However, it still is a must to get a prescription before taking birth control pills and other methods of hormone therapy to treat acne. The doctor could prescribe a particular brand that would certainly work as cure for acne problems. Beware because not all oral contraceptives bring about acne treatment. Some could actually make the problem worse.
Usage and Directions
Birth control pills are usually taken daily at about the same time of day on a 28 day cycle. Some contraceptive packs have 28 pills. Only 21 of those are actually 'active.' The other seven are just 'placebo' or reminder pills. Other contraceptive packs have just 21 pills and no pills are taken for the remaining 7 days. You should be very familiar and knowledgeable about the sequence of taking the pills if you do not want to incur unintentionally consequences.
You should also be reminded that birth control pills and other hormone therapy taken as a cure for acne will not bring about noticeable effects overnight. The ideal effect in acne control is usually noticeable approximately three months following initial intake. In some cases, it may take longer. It is also common for acne breakouts to get worse before any improvement is noticed. Thus, you should be properly advised before deciding to use it as acne treatment.
Possible Side Effects
Although the use of oral contraceptives may be effective for acne treatment, they could also bring about several side effects. Some side effects include headaches, episodes of depression, rise in blood pressure, breast tendness, mood swings, menstrual spotting, and nausea. Plus, intake of birth control pills could also lead to weight gain.
Birth control pills could be perfect as acne treatment for the long term, especially for women who also need to prevent unwanted pregnancy at the same time. Such pills are ideal if a woman normally experiences acne breakouts during menstruation and ovulation.