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A modern pioneer of women's liberation, the oral contraceptive pill has given women sexual freedom since the 60’s. Aside from its primary purpose of contraception, the pill is often prescribed to control acne, but it is a long term solution?

How the pill works essentially, is by increasing a protein in the blood called Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG) SHBG binds to hormones to render them unavailable to the body, therefore preventing ovulation and pregnancy.

In cases of acne, often the way the pill is controlling breakouts is by the increase in SHBG reducing levels of available androgens­ a group of hormones including testosterone which can be responsible for excessive oil production in the skin.

The pill can be effective in the control of acne during the course of taking the medication, however, if the causative issues aren’t addressed, once coming off the pill the acne is very likely to return, and often with  a vengeance.

Introducing the epidemic of adult acne. So often seen in women in their 20’s and 30’s who decide to come off the pill as part of a preconception plan. This aggravation can be almost immediate in some cases, others 3­-12months after cessation. I see this over and over again in practice, often in clients who have never had an issue with acne before coming off the pill.

The pill is the ultimate hormone disruptor because it is the ultimate xenoestrogen. Xenoestrogens are a whole new ball game that just add fuel to the fire here. Synthetic oestrogens (classed as xenoestrogens) found in the pill can throw out balance in oestrogen metabolism. Being prescribed the pill to treat acne may have a band aid effect while taking the medication but ultimately, the hormone-disrupting effects the pill can have may lead to more issues once coming off the pill. A band aid effect but not a long term solution.

Contact us if you would like more information about Salivary Hormone testing and natural ways to balance your hormones for skin health. 

Written by Mi:skn Clinic Naturopath Brooke Venables, follow her blog here.

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