Birth control pills, IUDs, implants and shots are widely used today and prescribed often as a means to control acne. Most forms of birth control can have the potential to cause acne and weight gain in those susceptible. Typically birth control is divided up as estrogen or progestin dominant and have varying degrees of androgenic (testosterone like) effects. Generally, those with the potential for higher androgenic symptoms should be avoided for people prone to acne because they promote breakouts.

The most commonly prescribed in this category are:

  • Brevicon
  • Demulan
  • Femcon
  • Kelnor
  • Modicon
  • MonoNessa
  • Necon
  • Ortho Tricyclen
  • Ortho-Novum
  • Ovcon
  • Previferm
  • Sprintec
  • Tri-Nessa
  • Tri-Previferm
  • Tri-Sprintec
  • Zovia

It is best to avoid the following that are high in androgen activity and low in estrogen:

  • Alesse
  • Amethyst
  • Apri
  • Azurette
  • Caziant
  • Cryselle
  • Cyclessa
  • Depo-Provera
  • Desogen
  • Emoquette
  • Estrostep Fe
  • Implanon
  • Jolessa
  • Kariva
  • Lessina
  • Levora/Levonest
  • Linessa
  • Lo-Feminol
  • Lo-Ogestrel
  • Lo-Ovral
  • Loestrin
  • Lutera
  • Marvelon
  • Microgestin
  • Mircette
  • Mirena IUD
  • Nexplanon
  • Nordette
  • Norplant
  • NuvaRing
  • Ogestrel
  • Ortho Tricyclen Lo
  • Ovral
  • Paragard/Copper IUD*
  • Portia
  • Reclipsen
  • Seasonale/Seasonique
  • Skylar IUD
  • Sronyx
  • Triphasil/Trivora

Only you and your doctor can determine what form of birth control is right for you. The above is just a basic guideline that should be used to initiate a conversation between you and your physician. If you are considering using birth control, it is important to know that it can be associated with a high risk of blood clots, weight gain, nausea, mood changes, depression and breast tenderness. Serious side effects include strokes, digestive issues and embolism.

It is entirely possible to treat acne without using birth control. If you have no underlying health issues that require you to be on birth control and are considering using birth control only to control your acne, please consult with your doctor about selecting a form of birth control that is higher in estrogen and lower in androgen potency.

*Although the Paragard/Copper IUD does not contain any hormones, we have observed that it has aggravated acne with our clients.

– courtesy of Face Reality Acne Clinic, San Leandro CA