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Does every oral contraceptive help acne?

The answer is “No.”

Oral contraceptives that will help acne should contain both the progestin and estrogen. If your oral contraceptives containing only progestin, very likely your acne condition will be worsen. Among those oral contraceptives containing only progestins include levongestrel and medroxyprogesterone.

How oral contraceptives work to prevent acne is by inhibiting the sebum production, which is one of the main components that cause acne to occur. However, oral contraceptives should only be used by women over the age of 16 as it may suppress growth in younger women.

From the acne clear and acne care perspective, oral contraceptives work by decreasing androgens (i.e. a class of hormones that can cause sebaceous gland to enlarge to produce more sebum) such as DHEAS and free testosterone, and by increasing sex hormone binding globulin that binds to testosterone and reduces the amount of free testosterone.

The two main active ingredients in most oral contraceptives are estrogens and progestins. It is learnt that estrogens will reduce sebum production, with some types of estrogens being more potent than others. On the other hand, progestins can increase the androgenic effect, have no effect on it, or it can decrease the androgenic effect. Because some of the progestins can increase the effects of androgens directly or can act as antiestrogens, hence it will block the benefits of the estrogen on reducing sebum production,

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