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Marla Ahlgrimm: Oral Contraceptives May Help Control Acne in Women

March 18, 2017

Marla AhlgrimmMarla Ahlgrimm explains that traditional birth control pills may offer a number of benefits for women. For example, the hormone combination in oral contraceptives may help improve acne in certain women.

According to Marla Ahlgrimm, dual estrogen and progestin pills can lessen acne in women whose skin problems are caused by the hormonal changes triggered each month during the menstrual cycle. Birth control pills are typically considered safe and effective for women of all ages. According to the CDC, approximately 62% of childbearing-age women in the United States utilize oral contraceptives for birth control or other purposes.

Side effects

Side effects of oral contraceptives are typically mild and may include change in menstrual flow, breast tenderness, and headache. Some women may be at a slightly increased risk of blood clots, high blood pressure, and heart disease, says Marla Ahlgrimm. Women interested in oral contraceptives for acne treatment should consult with their healthcare provider and discuss the pros and cons.

Who should avoid birth control pills?

Birth control pills are not for everyone, asserts Marla Ahlgrimm. Women who are over the age of 35 with a BMI of 30 or higher should avoid birth control solely to control their acne. Those with a history of migraines; heart disease; liver, breast, or uterine cancer; or blood clots should not take birth control pills. Birth control pills are not an effective acne treatment in prepubescent girls and should not be taken by women who are pregnant, trying to become pregnant, or have given birth within the last month.

According to Marla Ahlgrimm, birth control pills work to treat acne by balancing the levels of estrogen and testosterone in a woman’s body. Higher levels of testosterone are associated with increased dermatologic oil production, which is one of the key triggers of severe acne in both men and women.


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