Making sure I am in control of my body is a priority â€” even as a diehard skin care junkie. Getting off the pill was a smart decision for me at the time, and one I was privileged to make without worrying about health issues. Getting an IUD four years later was also the intelligent thing to do, as I started a new relationship. But as I start to think about the future, like many women, I’ve been considering how long being on hormonal birth control is too long, and what will happen to both my body and my skin once I decide to give it up, for whatever reason that may be.
Outside of a consistent-yet-gentle skin care routine and prescription options, it’s important to cut possible dietary triggers. Cut high glycemic, processed foods that may spike your insulin and can cause acne, as well as dairy â€” although Dr. Samolitis says that isn’t the case for everyone. Options like regular facials can help with clogged pores, and red light can deliver results for inflammation. If you’re looking to conceive and are dealing with breakouts, a new option on the market is Sebacia , an alternative to drugs like Accutane. It targets the oil gland and can help clear acne after three treatments without the harsh side effects. Samolitis offers the treatment at Facile.
On a more serious note, we may want clear skin, but hindering a potential pregnancy often takes precedent. If you’re on birth control, you’ve heard about or maybe even experienced acne as a side effect of taking hormones on a daily basis. You also gamble with flare-ups when you decide to remove contraception altogether. Oftentimes, it feels like we must be plagued with one issue in order to solve another. But, if you’ve decided it’s time to try for a baby, or you just want to give your body a hormonal break, expect a 6-12 month transition for your body after getting off contraception like the pill or an IUD.
RenÃ©e Rouleau , esthetician and founder of her eponymous skin care line, mimics this sentiment. Many people go on birth control pills in an attempt to lessen breakout activity due to their bodies fluctuating hormones. There are fluctuations in androgen hormone levels right before and during a woman’s period that can stimulate sebaceous glands to produce excess oil,â€ said Rouleau. Since oil encourages bacteria, along with dead cells in the pore lining, this can cause breakouts to occur. The pill can help reduce breakouts due to their effect on natural hormonal balance. However, when they go off of it, their body may return back to the way it was and breakouts can slowly start to appear,â€ she said.
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More and more doctors and dermatologists are prescribing the pill specifically for hormonal breakouts. It’s one of the most common things in dermatology that we’re prescribing right now, especially to teenagers and people in their early 20s to treat their acne,â€ explains Dr. Nancy Samolitis, board-certified dermatologist and co-founder of Facile Dermatology + Boutique in Los Angeles. We’re trying to avoid using antibiotics, which used to be the gold standard (in acne reduction). Unfortunately, when you take antibiotics you have to be on them for a very long time. Our other option is Accutane. Accutane is a great drug and it works, but not everybody is a candidate,â€ she said.
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Topical retinoids include adapalene , retinol , tazarotene , trifarotene , and tretinoin 47 85 They often cause an initial flare-up of acne and facial flushing and can cause significant skin irritation. Generally speaking, retinoids increase the skin’s sensitivity to sunlight and are therefore recommended for use at night. 1 Tretinoin is the least expensive of the topical retinoids and is the most irritating to the visit skin, whereas adapalene is the least irritating but costs significantly more. 1 86 Most formulations of tretinoin are incompatible for use with benzoyl peroxide. 15 Tazarotene is the most effective and expensive topical retinoid but is not as well tolerated. 1 86 Retinol is a form of vitamin A that has similar but milder effects and is present in many over-the-counter moisturizers and other topical products.
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