I get so excited when wonderful ladies like you ask me this question – what’s the best birth control for acne?
I’m jumping up and down inside because it means you already have your acne healing compass pointed in exactly the right direction.
Can I tell you a quick story?
Years ago I learnt to scuba dive. I was in Thailand at the bottom of the ocean in 5-metre visibility. It was awesome, exciting and frightening all rolled into one.
We’re a group of 4 newbies as our dive instructor comes over to set our dive compass in a direction.
Our job – to kick our flippers 10 times in his set compass direction, then turn 180 degrees and flipper-kick back to safety.
Our dive instructor takes each compass one by one. I’m glancing through the ocean haze knowing in 4 flipper kicks I’ll be seeing no-one. Just me and the ocean.
And it’s time. Mr dive instructor gives us the nod, I turn to follow my compass and within a second everyone else is vanished.
It’s just the big blue I see.
It feels calm. Peaceful. Floaty.
Meanwhile, Mr. Dive instructor is freaking out because he set all of our compasses to the exact same direction… and we all starfished. Literally swam in completely opposite directions.
Can you imagine what was going through his mind? As he starts weighing up who’s most precious and needs saving first, somehow we all magically end up back with him safely.
I tell you this story because I see wonderful ladies like you who are struggling with acne doing this exact same thing in their healing journey.
Aka trying multiple different ways to help heal and get rid of acne at once.
And it comes with that same feeling of panic.
I don’t know why I have acne, so I’m going to try 10 different ways to get rid of acne and I’m going to do them all at once because I’m desperate.
Thing is, just like the scuba starfish it means an imminent risk of danger.
Why? Because you’re not committing fully to any given method. You’re diluting your efforts and some of these ways of healing acne could even be causing you worse flare-ups. Fighting against the ones which work.
Ultimately if you use the starfish method of healing acne you’re going to end up feeling like nothing works aka desperate and hopeless.
One of the most common starfish methods of getting rid of acne I see over and over again, is trying to heal acne when on hormonal birth control or trying to heal acne by using very specific types of hormonal birth control.
Spoiler alert – I don’t recommend you do either of these things.
Instead, I recommend you try what I consider as the best birth control for acne.
Are you excited to find out what it is? Let’s get to this eh…
Birth Control for Acne, the Most Common Options
Okay, okay, so I think you’re going to be excited to see this. I asked some of you beauty’s on my email list 3 quick questions about birth control. The first – what birth control are you currently using?
Want to see how you rank vs. the other skin savvies on team Honesty?
Here you go my friend;
Top 3 methods of birth control;
- Male condoms
- The pill
I love that the pill is not top of this list. How awesome is that?
The reason I say this is because the pill is usually a doctor’s number one way of “fixing the hormonal imbalance” which can lead to acne.
Have you ever been offered Yaz for acne aka the Yasmin pill for acne?
Or Orth-Tri-Cyclen for acne?
Or Estrostep for acne?
These are the 3 FDA approved methods of contraception for helping get rid of acne. Aka the ‘best birth control for acne’… and I don’t recommend you use them. Because psst – hormonal birth control is like cover-up to your hormones.
Post Pill Acne, ‘cover-up’ for your hormones
If you’re ever offered Yaz for acne, I recommend you say no.
Truth is, yes take the Yasmin pill for acne and you could get clear skin. Until you stop taking it and then BOOM, acne rebounds even worse than before.
In my experience working with Acne Warriors like you inside The Acne Clinic, if you have acne before you take the pill, you’re going to be getting worse acne when coming off the pill. Acne after stopping birth control is real.
Psst – but please don’t transition off hormonal birth control without preparing your body first (I help you do this in the Acne Clinic) – if you go cold turkey now your skin health can plummet and acne can hit hard. I don’t want this for you.
That’s because when you take hormone-based birth control for acne you’re not identifying the trigger cause of your acne, you’re covering it up.
And because you’re now hiding your trigger cause, it’s likely you’re triggering it over and over and over again – without realising.
Kind of like taking painkillers for a headache that’s being caused by a too-tight hat… and then still wearing that too-tight hat.
You’re treating the symptoms of your headache but not the cause.
If you want to get rid of acne for good and avoid the stressful starfish method then you need to identify your triggering causes. And yes, usually there’s more than one.
Best Birth Control For Acne
This is one of the most important questions I ask my wonderful clients when they join The Acne Clinic.
What birth control are you using right now? Have you recently switched birth control?
Because It makes it very hard to ‘see’ the cause of acne if it’s being covered up by hormonal birth control.
So if the pill covers up your triggering causes of acne, what is the best birth control for acne?
While condoms and the diaphragm or cap are great methods of non-hormonal birth control, they still come with or get used with spermicide aka gel which kills off sperm. And that can upset the delicate bacteria and pH balance aka the microbiome of your most delicate area of skin.
Psst – if you get constant symptoms of thrush or bladder infections, It can be a sign of an upset microbiome.
Instead, If you’re in a long term relationship and want to find out about your individual hormone balance I strongly recommend you try out something called the fertility awareness method.
Have you heard of it?
Don’t worry if you haven’t, you’re in the majority.
Just 24.5% of the beautiful ladies I polled have heard about FAM.
What Is The Fertility Awareness Method?
If like me you were scared silly about getting pregnant on any day of your cycle by sex ed classes, what I’m about to expose is about to rock your world.
You can only get pregnant on one or maximum two days of your monthly cycle.
The fertility awareness method uses this shocking piece of information to help you navigate when it’s safe to have sex.
And it’s not commonly known. Around 26% of women are aware of this.
So what the hecks going on here?
How Does FAM work?
Every month you have a healthy menstrual cycle your body releases an egg (sometimes two).
That egg has just a 24-hour window in which it can get fertilised aka you get pregnant.
Because sometimes your body can release two eggs, this ‘fertile window’ can sometimes be 48 hours.
Which means after you’ve released an egg (or two) aka ovulated you can no longer get pregnant in that month.
FAM uses this crazy, amazing fact to help you navigate when it’s safe to have sex.
And while you’re doing it you get to learn a lot about your hormone balance which is why I strongly recommend it as the best birth control for acne.
That’s because as you ovulate your balance of a hormone called progesterone skyrockets.
And because progesterone raises your body temperature – you can see this happening.
Want to see a live example?
Here’s mine. This is a screenshot of DaysyDay which partners the Daysy fertility tracker I use.
My body temperature before ovulation is usually around 36.2 to 36.4 – psst some of the higher temps you see in this graph before ovulation are because I had alcohol the night before – alcohol also raises your body temp for different reasons.
My body temperature at ovulation and after is around 36.6-36.7.
Do you see those first two yellow dots above the 36.5 degrees line? Those tell me I’m ovulating and it’s not safe to have sex. 48 hours post-ovulation I’m not fertile and therefore can’t get pregnant.
Psst – this is a really simple overview of the fertility awareness method – there’s a lot more to it but this gives you really nice gist.
When done correctly FAM is 99.6% effective.
If you’re taking Yaz for acne this absolutely rivals its effectiveness as birth control. When Yaz is taken correctly it’s >99% effective.
FYI – condoms are 98% effective and the diaphragm is 94% effective with complete and correct use.
You definitely don’t need a device like the Daysy to start doing FAM but it can be a great helper if it’s in budget for you. That’s because it uses an algorithm to learn your cycle and pitches it against the data of over 5 million other menstrual cycles. By doing this it predicts and learns when you’re fertile and when you’re not. The device then shows you a traffic light of green, amber, red depending on your hormone profile and therefore if you now have ‘natural birth control’.
I personally love the Daysy traffic light because I spend the first hour of my day like a zombie out of The Walking Dead. This sorts me with a simple yes or no.
Psst, diet is usually also a key trigger factor for acne, so if you want to get the best birth control and acne diet started together, click here to download my free acne diet cheatsheet.
Why I Recommend FAM As The Best Birth Control For Acne
I don’t think it’s a secret any longer 😉 I’m a huge fan of the fertility awareness method. I’m also a fan of using it in The Acne Clinic even when you might be using condoms or the diaphragm. That’s because FAM tells me a wealth of information about the health of your hormones.
Keeping track of acne flare-ups in relation to your hormone cycles stops us from doing a ‘starfish’ to help heal your acne. Instead, we hone in on the underlying trigger causes of your acne. Once we catch them we can work to heal them.
Which is kinda exciting eh. Your hormones are speaking to us, we just need to listen. FAM is one way of doing this.
Bottom line; not only does the fertility awareness method help us identify the underlying trigger causes of your acne, FAM vs. Yaz for acne also helps us naturally correct hormone imbalance. Remember our pain killer analogy? Yaz for acne is like taking a pain killer for a headache caused by wearing your hat too tight, FAM allows us to identify the trigger cause of your headache – oh hey, you have a headache because your hat’s on too tight. Let’s do something about that.
Kind of exciting eh? I know having acne is heartbreaking. I’ve been there myself. I completely get it. But know this, once you start understanding the trigger causes of your acne and exactly how to heal them, it gives you back a sense of empowerment and control you never had before. You start to piece together your skin puzzle. You start to heal your acne. Wahoo.
Now tell me in the comments below, had you heard of FAM?
And p.s. if you know someone in need of this knowledge bomb will you use that big green sharing button below and send this to them with love? Together we’ve got their back 🙂
Cheryl Woodman is a scientist & award winning skincare formulator who’s more friend next door than bow tie wearing professor. As creator of Honesty For Your Skin her aim is to help you care for your skin in the best ways possible. She’s founder of the natural & fragrance free skincare brand Honesty while also hosting 1 to 1 skincare coaching to help you get your best skin yet. Find out more here.