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Do Birth Control Pills Help Acne?

Do Birth Control Pills Help Acne?

ANSWER:

Studies have not yet proven the birth control pills help acne.

More Info: The jury is still out on how extensively birth control pills can help reduce or clear up acne. When the birth control pill brand Yaz was first introduced in 2006, its manufacturers put forth a TV ad campaign that claimed the product could additionally help reduce conditions such as acne, headaches, fatigue, muscle aches and bloating. Even though the product does not in fact successfully treat mild acne, the cleverly deceitful TV ad campaign convinced many female viewers that it did. A researcher who subsequently focus tested the Yaz marketing materials found that 64% of female respondents believed the misleading acne cure claim.

New Pill May Help Acne

At any one time, an estimated 13 million American women are taking birth control pills. Bayer Pharmaceuticals, the manufacturer of Yaz, is releasing in 2010 a new and theoretically improved birth control pill called Natazia. As part of the launch, the company will be monitoring a group of approximately 70,000 women over a period of five years to document positive results, negative results and unexpected side effects, if any. When this research is complete, and if it is shared with the public, it may provide great insight into whether or not this new strain helps treat acne.

The Pill May Help Indirectly

Meanwhile, smaller groups of women report that birth control pills have helped them attain clearer skin complexions. For example, a quartet of students at Flager College told a campus newspaper reporter that they had each been able to reduce their acne once on birth control pills. The reason this is even possible is that women who suffer from acne have higher levels of androgen, a hormone that is suppressed by the birth control pill. Ultimately, as long as the Food and Drug Administration allow for TV commercials with lengthy disclaimers and deceptive claims, the promise of acne relief for most women will always tend to be better than the actual results.

 

REFERENCES:

Human Reproduction – The Effect of Endogenous Progesterone on Basal Body Temperature in Stimulated Ovarian Cycles, Retrieved October 14, 2010 from http://humrep.oxfordjournals.org/content/2/8/631.abstract

Feminist Women’s Health Center – Fertility Awareness Method, Retrieved October 14, 2010 from http://www.fwhc.org/birth-control/fam.htm

Journal of Applied Physiology – Estrogen Modifies the Temperature Effect of Progesterone, Retrieved October 14, 2010 from http://jap.physiology.org/cgi/content/full/88/5/1643

 

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