Birth Control & Acne…my 7 year journey
For starters, I’ve struggled with acne since I was about 16 years old. I was first able to fix it with some Benzoyl Peroxide cream. A couple of years later, it flared up again. I was then prescribed oral antibiotics, such as tetracycline combined with some topical cream. That worked for a few years, only to come back even worse! Around the age of 21/22 my acne got very bad and the creams and oral antibiotics no longer worked. I started to get cystic adult acne – those pimples that are under the surface, hurt and never surface so they never EVER go away!
When I went to go see a dermatologist, she advised me to go on Accutane, but given all the side effects, I just couldn’t commit. I then decided to finally try birth control.
I first started using Alesse. I found that Alesse didn’t help my acne at all, infact, the only time my skin would clear up when on Alesse was when I was on my period. The rest of the time, I was still flaring up and seeing a new cystic pimple daily! Finally, a friend recommended Try-Cyclen. After reading up on Try-Cyclen, it seemed that although its primary use is birth control, it is also very good at regulating acne. So began my Try-Cyclen Lo journey (I decided to use the Lo version). I started seeing an improvement in my skin in literally 2 weeks!
Although birth control is supposed to help regulate hormonal acne, it’s important to try out which birth control suits you best. They say you need to give your body up to 3 months to get used to the birth control and see how it’s suiting you. If after 3 months you find it’s not suiting your needs, you need to try the next one. Luckily for me, the second birth control I tried worked like a charm…or so it seems.
Over the years, my skin became very regulated. I barely got any major pimples, so it really allowed the scarring to heal. As I aged, my skin got better and better. I always knew in the back of my mind that this is not a sustainable solution and if I ever go off, I worried that my acne will come back. Finally, after 7 years of being on it, despite having no irregular paps and no weight gain issues, I decided that my body needed a break from it.
My skin was fine for the first 6 months. At month 7, I started seeing breakouts. I’m now on month 8 and I’m definitely breaking out again. The acne is not nearly as bad as it was when I was 22, but I still am suffering from adult acne. I’m not sure if my acne isn’t as bad anymore because I’m older, or am I just taking better care of my skin – clarisonic, regular facials, homeopathy acne tricks, etc. Needless to say, after 6 months, I felt this feeling where I knew for a FACT that birth control was fully and finally out of my system. It wasn’t just my skin acting up again, but I felt different.
I’ll begin with the Pros I encountered of being on birth control, but these pros didn’t come without a cost.
- I didn’t gain any weight
- My skin was clear
- Very manageable periods – they were regular, lighter and minimal cramping
I really didn’t notice the adverse of affects of birth control until 6 months after being off of it. After 6/7 months when it was fully out of my system, in hindsight, I realize how it impacted me for the last 7 years.
- I was simply a different person. I was more irritable/angry and would lose my patience much quicker. Little things would just tick me off and I would overreact.
- I would randomly get depressed. I am a blessed person with a lot of things to be grateful for. But sometimes, for NO reason, when I was bored, I’d start feeling this overwhelming feeling of depression. Those feelings are now gone. Now I feel bored, but not depressed.
- CELLULITE!!! I have been leading an active lifestyle, especially in the past year and a half. I had gained a lot of muscle, ate healthy, drank lots of water, etc, yet I still had cellulite around the glutes and hamstrings area and I simply couldn’t get rid of it. Now, 8 months later, I have very very little cellulite.
- It does in fact make weight loss harder. Although I was pretty content with my body, once I got off birth control, I started shedding weight like crazy, to the point I had to increase my food intake and reduce the intensity of my workouts so I don’t get too skinny. So even though I didn’t realize it this entire time, my body was holding onto weight, especially in certain places like upper thighs and lower stomach.
- Decreased libido
Now, after going off birth control and seeing the cons, even though I love having great skin, I’m not sure it’s worth all the CONS. I’m looking at other ways to manage it now. I recently went to see a holistic healer and he put me on a program of pills. He told me that my acne should go away in 4-5 months. Maybe I’m being played for a fool, but I sure hope it works. I’ll keep you all posted on my holistic healing journey for acne and post about it in a few months.
I’m sorry for such a long post, but it’s been one heck of a journey and I wanted to be as forthright with you all as possible. Please share your experiences or any questions you may have in the comments. I’d love to hear about your journey and am sure others would too!