Thursday, April 16, 2015

Contraceptive pill, pregnancy and acne

December 10, 2012 by  
Filed under Articles

Acne usually develops in adolescence, when the body undergoes significant hormonal changes that lead to puberty. A sudden fluctuation of hormones requires additional work from the sebaceous glands, which in turn can result in outbreaks of acne rash. These glands start secreting increased quantities of oil that eventually clog the pores of the skin, causing the acne pimples. As the hormones of a pregnant woman fluctuate a lot, the sebaceous glands react by increasing the level of oil they produce, therefore leading to pregnancy acne. Taking the pill or contraceptive patch may also cause non-pregnant women to have acne because these means of contraception cause fluctuations in the hormone level.

Use of oral contraceptives to control acne

Women using oral contraceptives may experience an outbreak of acne pimples but in some women it has the opposite effect, because oral contraceptives tend to stabilize abnormal fluctuation of hormones. The result may therefore vary from one woman to another, from a brand of contraceptive to another.  For some teen girls, doctors will recommend the use of oral contraceptives to help control acne. Any woman who is in good health, at least 15 years old and having started her menstrual cycle can apply to her doctor for oral contraceptives.  For sexually active adolescents, taking contraceptive wil also prevent unwanted pregnancies.

There are several brands of contraceptives to help control acne but only one so far has been approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) for the treatment of acne; the Ortho Tri-Cyclen.  It is the most commonly prescribed to teen girls. It is important to note that taking the contraceptive pill as a way to control acne should be considered as a last resort when all other methods have failed. Oral contraceptives have side effects and must be taken as prescribed to be effective.

Acne during pregnancy

Pregnant women often experience an outbreak of acne pimples. For them too, numerous hormonal changes occur in their body preparing for the presence of the child. The two main hormones at work during pregnancy are progesterone and estrogen. Progesterone is more androgenic than estrogen because it is more largely present in men.  Progesterone is responsible for the increased activity of the sebaceous glands; it is the one causing the outbreak of acne pimples.

The best way to treat acne during pregnancy is to realize that the problem is a short term one.  Acne does not last. If acne remains throughout the pregnancy, it will disappear after delivery, when the hormones level is back to normal.   Since a pregnant woman should not take any medication without the advice of her doctor, it is best to avoid all OTC treatments against acne. These products may contain elements harmful to the fetus. Even creams or soaps contain active elements that can penetrate he mother’s body through the skin.

Tips to control acne pregnancy without medication:

• Wash your face with mild soap twice a day, dry well and use a light, non-greasy moisturizer.

• Drink plenty of water. This is excellent for the health of both mother and child, and it helps to have beautiful skin, pregnant or not.

• Exercise. Light physical exercise helps keep the pregnant women fit. The body is then better oxygenated, including the skin. Before starting an exercise program however, always seek advice from you doctor. Every pregnancy is unique and only a doctor can determine whether or not the exercise is indicated for any given pregnant women.

• Regularly clean your makeup brushes with mild soap and thoroughly dry after washing. Clean makeup tools preserve the skin.

• Do not squeeze or scratch the acne pimples. This could leave scars.

• The use of lemon juice or vinegar mixed with warm water can be used to naturally treat the acne pimples. Lemon and vinegar are natural astringents. After passing the mixture on your face, wait about 30 minutes to 1 hour, and spray your face with cold water to help close the pores of the skin.

If hormones are responsible for acne outbreaks in adolescence, the same reason applies to future mother. With very simple means it is possible to minimize the impact on pregnant women. For severe cases of acne, the doctor or dermatologist must be consulted before using any OTC treatments against acne. But we should not worry too much about pregnancy acne. It is unpleasant but temporary … and quite safe except for the ego!

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