The birth control pill is commonly prescribed for the management of acne but it is far from an ideal solution. It comes with a variety of risks and side-effects and because it fails to address the root causes of acne, it only controls breakouts for as long as you take it. Most women experience a resurgence of breakouts as soon as they go off it, and oftentimes the acne is worse than before they took the pill.
How the Pill Helps Temporarily Suppress Acne
The reason the pill often helps with acne is that it increases sex-hormone-binding globulin (SHBG). SHBG binds to and reduces the circulation of testosterone and DHT, both of which in excess, increase pore-clogging sebum.
How the Pill Makes Acne Worse in the Long Run
When you take the birth control pill it introduces excessive amounts of an extremely potent type of estrogen called estradiol into the body and this can lead to a troublesome condition called estrogen dominance. Estrogen dominance is extremely common in both males and females, and it often goes undiagnosed. It is a major underlying cause of acne and can lead to several other troublesome symptoms including excess belly fat, fatigue, mood swings, loss of libido, sexual dysfunction, insomnia, headaches, and foggy thinking.
Female-specific symptoms of estrogen dominance include PMS, irregular periods, bloating, endometriosis and fibrocystic or swollen breasts. Because the pill often triggers (or worsens pre-existing) estrogen dominance, most women will experience more severe and persistent acne after quitting the pill, than they did prior to taking it. And sadly, many women who never suffered from acne before will experience it for the first time after quitting the pill, thanks to estrogen dominance.
Additional Harmful Effects
Birth control pills are unnatural and toxic to the body. In addition to estrogen dominance and all of its nasty symptoms, the pill can also cause weight gain and markedly increase the risk for blood clots, heart attacks, stroke, breast cancer and cervical cancer (to name a few). It also reduces testosterone levels and studies show they can remain low even after quitting the pill. This can lead to a long-term loss of libido and other sexual side effects; as well as metabolic, and mental health consequences.
Natural Birth Control Alternatives
If you want a safe alternative to the birth control pill consider using condoms or combining the withdrawal method (don’t use this on its own) with fertility awareness. There are plenty of apps available to help you with fertility awareness, but Natural Cycles is the only one that is certified for contraception.
Safe, Natural and Effective Solutions for Acne
If you want to reverse stubborn acne and/or estrogen dominance you should start by consuming a high-fiber, low-fat, plant-based, organic diet. These dietary guidelines are recommended because fiber helps reduce circulating estrogens; fatty foods trigger excess sebum production; animal products are loaded with toxic estrogens, and non-organic produce and packaged foods contain xenoestrogens (estrogen-like compounds). You should also exercise regularly, lose any excess body fat, and reduce stress.
The Miracle Acne Fighting Nutrients
Diindolylmethane (DIM) and its related extract Indole-3-Carbinol (I3C) are naturally occurring phytochemical nutrients. Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and Bok Choy are the most concentrated dietary sources of DIM and I3C. These two nutrients help to detoxify and convert the harmful estrogens that cause estrogen dominance into helpful estrogen types such as 2 OHE. High doses of these two phytochemicals, in combination with the lifestyle modifications mentioned above, is the absolute best way to abolish the root cause of acne and get clear skin for life.
The Ultimate Supplement
You would have to consume a whole lot of cruciferous veggies in order to receive a clinically effective dose of DIM and I3C. For maximum ease and benefit, we, therefore, recommend you take a DIM and I3C supplement such as the internationally acclaimed EstroBlock. EstroBlock is superior to most other DIM and I3C supplements because it contains a much higher dose -- one serving provides concentrations that are equivalent to what is found in two pounds of raw cruciferous vegetables. Also, it was formulated by a team of leading physicians, hormone therapists, and acne experts, and they balanced the naturally-derived ingredients in a specific way to ensure optimal absorption and efficacy.
*If you are overweight or struggle with symptoms of estrogen dominance, we recommend you take our triple strength formula EstroBlock Pro.
**This article was based off the book “Acne Be Gone for Good,” by Nick Delgado, ABAAHP, Ph.D., and Sonia Badreshia-Bansal, MD.