You have probably heard that being on the birth control pill can help control some skin problems such as acne. Some studies show that a low-dose birth control pill can be effective for reducing breakouts because it balances hormone levels. However, people should also be informed of the side effects and health risks related to the birth control pill. Although lower doses of estrogen are used in today’s birth control pills, thus minimizing side effects, there are still health risks to be aware of.
What are the effects of the birth control pill on health and skin?
The main function of the birth control pill is to suppress ovulation - the release of an egg from your ovaries. This is done by increasing the levels of estrogen. However, this method is not 100% effective, hence the possibility of becoming pregnant while on the birth control pill... Although don’t get me wrong, it is a good thing that birth control options are available to women. It's just a matter of being informed of the potential risks and side effects.
Today, birth control pills have some positive effects on health: it can protect against ovarian and uterine cancer, and can relieve in some cases, symptoms of PMS (bleeding, painful and irregular periods, and acne).
Yet, this type of oral contraceptive can also have many negative effects. It doesn't prevent sexually transmitted diseases and can increase the risk of diseases such as breast cancer, heart attack and blood clots.
In some cases, people may experience side effects such as fatigue, nausea, cramping, abdominal bloading, headaches, and even acne or other skin problems!
Are birth control pills good for acne and other skin problems?
In terms of controlling acne, it works for some and it doesn’t for others. Why? Because the oral contraceptive can also deplete your body of essential skin nutrients and increase the risk of yeast infections.
A long-term use of the birth control pill depletes your body of essential nutrients: mainly vitamin B, folate, zinc, and magnesium. Indeed your skin needs these vitamins and minerals to stay healthy and heal better.
Mineral and vitamin deficiencies are not the only problem caused by the birth control pill. Overgrowth of candida is another big issue for many skin problems such as hives, athlete’s foot, fungal infections, jock itch, psoriasis, or other skin conditions.
Although the biggest cause of candida infections is lowered immunity, excessive use of antibiotics, cortisone, the birth control pill and other drugs also stimulate yeast growth.
As long as you keep on taking such medication mentioned and eat foods that feed the bad yeast, you are prone to an overgrowth of candida and it's more difficult to get rid of it. This can have a negative effects on your skin health.
Cottage cheese vaginal discharge: a sign of yeast infection? (Optiderma.com)
Which foods to include when on a birth control pill?
When you are on the birth control pill, it's advisable to eat even more nutritious foods not only for your skin concerns but also to meet the body’s necessary requirements.
Try supplementing your diet with a multivitamin and a B complex and eat foods rich in:
- vitamin B (like whole grains, lentils and leafy greens),
- zinc (like oysters, poultry, fish, whole-grain cereals, and pumpkin seeds),
- magnesium (like spinach, beans, peas, nuts, seeds, and whole, unrefined grains)
Try to avoid sugar, cheese, mushrooms, vinegar (except apple cider vinegar), processed foods and alcohol as these foods feed the bad yeast.
It might be worth supplementing your diet with probiotics to rebalance your flora. You can find some information about the best probiotics for women on this page: http://www.optiderma.com/articles/best-probiotics-for-women/
It's your personal choice to take the pill or not. However, just keep in mind there are many other natural contraceptives that might be better alternatives for you!
Vaginal itching before, during and after period (Optiderma.com)