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Acne-Friendly Birth Control Pills

Birth control pills can help improve acne in women with moderate acne, severe (cystic) acne, and hormonal acne. Additionally, they provide effective contraception. Moreover, birth control pills can also elevate mood in patients with pre-menstrual dysphoric disorder (a severe form of PMS).

The choice of birth control pill matters when it comes to acne. Not all birth control pills are created equal. Certain birth control pills can improve acne; others can worsen acne; others neither help nor hurt acne.

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We recommend the following hormonal contraceptives:

Ethinyl estradiol/drosperinone

Yasmin (zarah, ocella, syeda)
Yaz (gianvi, vestura, nikki, loryna)

Ethinyl estradiol/norgestimate

Ortho Tri-Cyclen (trinessa, tri-sprintec, tri-previfem, tri-estarylla, tri-linyah)
Ortho Cyclen (mono-linyah, previfem, estarylla, mononessa, sprintec)
Ortho Tri-Cyclen LO (tri-lo-sprintec)

Ethinyl estradiol/desogestrel

Cyclessa (cesia, velivet, caziant)
Mircette (pimtrea, azurette, viorele, kariva)
Desogen, Ortho-Cept (apri, solia, emoquette, reclipsen, enskyce)

The Acneologist does not recommend any other hormonal contraception for acne.

This includes Hormone-releasing IUDs (Mirena, Skyla), Implantable Rods (Implanon, Nexplanon), Depo-Provera, Nuvaring, and all other pills.
Not all women are good candidates for hormonal contraception. Here’s a list of reasons not to take hormonal contraception:
• Age ≥ 35 years and smoking ≥15 cigarettes per day
• Multiple risk factors for heart attack/stroke such as smoking, diabetes, and high blood pressure
• Uncontrolled high blood pressure
• Venous thromboembolism (blood clots in a vein)
• Known thrombogenic mutations (genetic predisposition to develop blood clots in veins)
• History of stroke, heart attack, or angina
• Complicated valvular heart disease
• Systemic lupus erythematosus with positive or unknown antiphospholipid antibodies
• Migraine with aura at any age
• Breast cancer
• Cirrhosis
• Hepatocellular adenoma or malignant hepatoma