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March 26, 2021
There is a wide range of birth control methods available for men and women who want to prevent or postpone pregnancy. Hormonal birth control which is widely used in many countries, affects overall health, the different body systems and the total well-being of a person. These effects can either be good or bad.
The skin, the body’s largest organ, is not spared from the consequences of using various contraceptives. In fact, the skin is one of the most affected from the use of hormonal birth control. This is because hormones are the major players in this method of birth control.
Hormonal Contraceptives come in different types or forms. These methods strongly impact a woman’s hormone levels in order to achieve more effective birth control results. It can work positively, or it can produce side effects, depending on how a woman’s body reacts.
There are many ways a woman can deal with the effects and changes that may occur while she is on birth control. She may tolerate, learn to adjust to and live with the effects of contraception or choose other options.
Since the skin is gravely affected from birth control use due to hormone fluctuations, proper skincare must be observed while trying to cope with the variety of effects.
This method is widely used among women because of its effectiveness and reliability. It involves the use of synthetic hormones copied from the body’s Estrogen and Progesterone.
Progestin is the synthetic form of Progesterone. These synthetic hormones are released inside the body to prevent pregnancy.
Estrogen is the main sex hormone present in women. Progesterone is a sex hormone present in both men and women. The levels of Estrogen and Progesterone in a woman’s body naturally varies during a menstrual cycle. It is during this process that changes in skin and hair occur.
Low levels of Estrogen may lead to dry skin, among its many other side effects.
On the other hand, high levels of Progesterone lead to sebum / oil build up, resulting in oily skin and most likely some acne.
Synthetic Estrogen and Progesterone hormones which are used in hormonal birth control functions to keep hormone levels consistent, and at the same time, prevent ovulation. It is for this reason that these synthetic hormones can sometimes actually help some skin problems, such as clearing up acne. Some women go on this type of birth control not to necessarily prevent pregnancy, but with the intention of clearing up acne.
Studies even reveal that Estrogen aids in the prevention of skin aging. Progesterone is allegedly shown to aid in the treatment of dermatitis.
1. Combined Hormonal Contraceptives. Contraceptives that contain a combination of Estrogen and Progestin hormones.
2. Progestin - Only Contraceptives. Contains the Progestin hormone only.
Birth Control Pills / Oral Contraceptives. Taken everyday (21-day pills, 28-day pills, 90-day pills, 365-day pills) to prevent pregnancy, but it can actually provide other benefits. Oral contraceptives help treat acne.
Birth Control Skin Patch. This form is worn on the buttocks, chest, upper back or arm, or abdomen to prevent pregnancy. It releases Estrogen and Progestin into the body through the skin.
Vaginal Ring. Releases Estrogen and Progestin into the body by wearing the ring inside the vagina. The vaginal lining absorbs the hormones. The rings must be replaced once a month to work effectively.
In relation to the skin, these methods may help improve acne and reduce unwanted hair growth in some parts of the body. However, there are also various side effects of using combined hormonal birth control that go away in a few months and can be managed.
The Minipill. Taken everyday (28-day pills). May help treat dermatitis, but unlike combination birth control pills, it can allegedly make acne worse.
The Progestin Shot. Contraceptive injection given every three months to prevent pregnancy. Depo-Provera is the only injectable contraceptive allowed in the United States as of now.
Progestin Implant. An implant, which is a small rod that contains Progestin, is inserted into the upper inner arm by a medical professional. It is effective for three years unless it is discontinued. It is one of the most effective birth control methods but can cause irregular menstrual periods.
The Progestin IUD. It is a T-shaped device made of plastic that contains Progestin. It is inserted in the uterus and will slowly release Progestin into the body. It can be used for five years unless discontinued.
An increase in Progesterone / Progestin levels, especially before menstruation, stimulates the production of sebum in the skin resulting in oily skin. This clogs the pores and results in acne breakouts and skin inflammation.
The following are some of the common and rare skin disorders which may result from the use of hormonal oral contraceptives, depending on how users react to the hormones contained in the contraceptives.
Results and side effects also vary depending on the volume and density of the contraceptives used. These are manageable for the most part at home and there are professional treatments also available, if need be.
Acne. A common chronic disorder that affects the hair follicle and sebaceous gland resulting in the expansion and blockage of the follicle and inflammation.
Melasma. A common skin disorder that appears as a bilateral, blotchy, brownish facial pigmentation.
Autoimmune progesterone dermatitis. This is a rare skin condition in women that is directly correlated to their menstrual cycles. It is the skin’s response to the hormonal changes that happen before menstruation. The skin rash is an autoimmune response to the progesterone in the body.
Spider Telangiectasis. A benign vascular skin lesion.
Pyogenic granuloma. A benign proliferation of capillary blood vessels of the skin and oral cavity and is more commonly known as the pregnancy tumour that occurs during pregnancy.
Porphyria cutanea tarda. This results in photosensitivity. Individuals with PCT show very fragile skin on the back of their hands and the forearms. Other sun-exposed parts of the skin such as the face, scalp, neck, and arms may also be affected.
Erythema nodosum. An inflammatory disorder that affects subcutaneous fat. It is a tender red nodule usually found on the anterior shins. Sometimes, they affect the thighs and forearms.
Acanthosis nigricans. This is characterised by darkening or hyperpigmentation, and the thickening (hyperkeratosis) of the skin.
Dry Skin and hair loss also commonly occurs from the use of various contraceptives.
It is very important to keep the skin nourished, healthy and protected from the inevitable consequences of birth control use. Protecting and nourishing the skin must complement the use of contraceptives to diminish the harmful effects of using birth control.
1. Treating Melasma and Hyperpigmentation. A skin expert affiliated with Harvard recommends switching to a non-hormonal birth control, and adopting the following at-home treatments to help the skin heal and prevent future damage:
This serum enhances the appearance of skin tone and texture while deeply nourishing and quenching dry, thirsty skin.
2. Treating Acne. Although combined birth control contraceptives can help treat acne, proper skincare treatments to clear acne must still be done regularly. Along with birth control use, complement your acne treatment with professionally-curated products from Yeouth that are infused with potent ingredients that target acne and blemishes to give you a clearer and glowing complexion. Also, read about acne DIY's in a previous Yeouth blog.
3. Treating Dry Skin. The major key to treating dry skin is to moisturize. However, it is important to know what your moisturizer must contain, and what it should not. Moisturizing is a must because it helps keep the skin hydrated. It provides significant anti aging effects by retaining moisture in the skin so that it is smooth and protected. Today, most moisturizers are oil-free and are not harmful for oily skin.
Choose moisturizers that deeply nourish skin and are blended with natural ingredients.
4. Adopt a Proper Skincare Routine that will nourish, protect and keep your skin glowing whether you are off or on birth control! Let a skincare regimen be part of your daily norm. It is essential not only in protecting and nourishing your skin, but in maintaining a healthy, overall well-being.
Whatever birth control method you are using, nourish and protect your skin. The side effects of using contraception may be harsh and harmful on the skin, but there are medical and practical remedies that can be done to heal the skin and save it from future damage.
We should not allow our crazy hormones to take over and control our bodies, our hair and our skin. There are many ways to control and minimize the effects of contraceptives, we just need to always remember to keep our skin nourished by showing it the attention it needs and deserves!
Our Yeouth Day/Night Moisturizer provides optimal hydration for the skin to repair itself and restore natural vibrance with every application. Watch the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, and scars fade with regular use. This ultra-soft cream rejuvenates and replenishes the skin for a healthy, younger-looking and glowing complexion.
DAY/NIGHT MOISTURIZER WITH SNAIL EXTRACT, HYALURONIC ACID, GREEN TEA & PEPTIDES ($22.95)
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