If you have acne, you know that is can cause anxiety or embarrassment in social settings, permanent scarring and, in some women, severe depression. Studies conducted in the UK show that having severe acne can lower the chance of employment. These factors have caused many women to see a dermatologist in hopes for a cure for their acne.
What many dermatologists do in cases of severe acne where other medications aren’t working, is to prescribe birth control pills. This has been a common practice for quite some time and it has proven effective at reducing the signs of acne but is prescribing birth control for everyone and does it have any drawbacks? Let’s take a look:
First, let’s take a look at some of the benefits of prescribing birth control for acne. Clinical trials in the US and the UK have shown that taking birth control pills can result in:
- Decreased Acne Flare-Ups
- Fewer Pimples
- Less Inflammation
- Less Severe Acne
The Hidden Dangers of Taking Birth Control Pills for Acne
While today's birth control pills are much safer than they used to be and they do contain lower doses of estrogen and progesterone, they could still pose a health risk for many women. Taking birth control pills for acne creates a higher risk of certain side effects including heart attack or stroke, as well as potentially fatal blood clots. Hypertensionand other cardiovascular problems, liver and gallbladder disease, migraines and depression are also some of the potential risks of taking birth control pills for acne.
Who Shouldn’t Take Birth Control Pills for Acne
The decision to take birth control pills for acne is your own and you should always consult your physician before doing so. They will let you know if you have any other medical conditions which could be worsened as an effect of the oral contraceptive. Basically, if you have any of the following conditions, birth control pills are usually not advised to prevent acne:
- History of heart disease or hypertension.
- A history of blood clots in your legs or lungs.
- History of cancer, especially breast, uterine, or liver cancer.
- Liver disease.
- Migraine headaches.
- You are a smoker over the age 35.
- You are currently pregnant or breastfeeding.
- You are severely obese.
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