Oral Contraceptives

Adult women and teenage girls whose acne still remains after trying every acne-fighting antibiotic or topical medication available can be considered for hormonal therapy.

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For some female patients, acne that's resistant to treatment is caused by excessive production of hormones called androgens. Once your acne has been identified as "hormonally influenced", your doctor will likely prescribe an oral contraceptive to help manage your acne.

Oral contraceptives are normally called birth-control pills or simply "the pill". They contain two types of synthetic female hormones - progestin and estrogen. Low amounts of estrogen have been known to suppress the androgens produced by the ovaries. Oral contraceptives also reduce the amount of testosterone produced by ovaries and the adrenal glands.

Studies have proven that women with comedones, papules, pustules and nodules have observable improvement after taking oral contraceptives for six months. By adding the hormones to your body in an oral contraceptive, the male hormones are effectively lessened and acne is prevented from forming. Normally it takes several months for oral contraceptives to work, so it may be 2 to 3 months before you notice your skin clearing up.

There may be some side effects to taking birth control pills. They include headache and mood swings. However, if you feel that your options have run out with over-the-counter and even prescription acne treatments - it may be time to give oral contraceptives a try!

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