What contraceptives aid in the treatment of acne? #1006/14

:  I have heard it one time too often.  “I don’t need to know about birth control. I am done with that.”  She or he could go on to say “I am too old” or “I’ve had my tubes tied.” 

But there are medical conditions for which the best approach today is one of our current contraceptives.  By preventing of ovarian cancer or endometrial cancer, providing contraceptives may be life-saving to some women who do not need birth control.  Decreasing the number of missed days of work or school due to severe menstrual cramps, pain or bleeding, may benefit women from 10 to 50 years of age whether or not they need contraception.  Our current contraceptives are a many-splendored group of drugs.  They are So Much More than just contraceptives.


Acne is due to hair follicle occlusion. It can lead to follicle distention below the skin or impacted follicles with darkened masses that communicate with the exterior (blackheads). Larger cystic dilatations may lead to scarring. The face and upper torso are the areas most often affected.


CONTRACEPTION: The first hormonal contraceptives were combined pills and it is generally ac­cepted that all formulations of combined pills cause some improvement in acne in most users. “Low dose OC’s improve acne regardless of which product is used“ [Speroff-Darney p.105 in A Clinical Guide for Contraception -5 references!)



Robert A. Hatcher MD, MPH

Emeritus Professor of Gynecology and Obstetrics

Emory University School of Medicine

Atlanta, GA


To learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of birth control pills; go to: www.managingcontraception.com and click on Choices 2013 edition.  You can also order this wonderful new educational book from our website or by calling 404-875-5001.  Do you have your copy yet?  It is now available in English and Spanish.   


Key Words:   combined birth control pills, acne, hair follicle occlusion, distention, skin, impacted, darkened masses, communicate, exterior, blackheads, cystic dilatations, scarring, affected, contraception, hormonal contraceptives, improvement, low-dose, A Clinical Guide for Contraception, Speroff, Darney


Contraceptive Technology 20th Edition

Managing Contraception 2014-2015

Choices 2013


Posted on

October 31, 2014