Will the Birth Control Pill Help My Acne? And Will the Side Effects Hurt Me?

Dear Heather,
Does taking birth control help with acne? What other stuff are the side effects (if it’s anything severe then I don’t want to take it all)? I have heard that they help with acne, but I want to make sure before I go and tell my Mom that I want it. I’m also a virgin, and am not really planning on taking it for sex. Thanks!!!

Like every drug, the birth control pill has its benefits and its drawbacks. To break it down, the birth control pill is basically your gURLy hormones in a pill. Since acne is often a hormonal issue, the birth control pill is an effective way to clear it up. I’d recommend seeing a dermatologist though, because though effective, the pill is not the only way to clear up your skin. Many topicals (creams, gels, and and other ointments that are applied directly to the skin) and a new regimen can help you combat persistent pimples.

Every gURL reacts differently to the birth control pill so I don’t know just what side effects you’ll get. But typically, a gURL can expect that her period will be regular and most likely lighter. Also a bonus: If you need to postpone your period, you can control when you have it (e.g. no need to freak out over being in a bathing suit over spring break!). Here’s how you can delay you period while on the Pill.

So those are the (debatable) pluses, but here are the very real side effects: nausea (especially at the beginning of a pill pack),ย  weight gain, sore boobs, spotting, increased irritability and mood swings and in severe cases, migraines, blurred vision, chest and/or abdominal pain, and swollen legs and ankles.

I think with acne, as with everything in life, you have to find out what works for you. But I think birth control would be a last resort especially if you’re not planning to become sexually active.

Hey gURLs, have you had any side effects while on the Pill? Tell me what happened, below!

take care,


What’s on your mind? Heather can help! Send her your question at heather@gurl.com.

Posted in: Birth Control, Body Issues, Help Me Heather, Love Advice, Sex, Sex, Virginity
Tags: , , , , , ,
  • loisk

    I have suffered from small acne all thru my 20s, esp during my menstral cycle. Im 30 yrs old and have dry skin mostly. I came upon the Citrus Clear face wash, and within 1 week, my acne cleared up 80%. I wear heavy makeup daily for work, and wash my face every night with Citrus Clear before bed. This really takes the makeup off well, makes my skin feel fresh and it can breathe. I apply the Citrus Clear Moisturizer (sensitive skin) as a moisturizer as well every morning and night.

  • kirsty

    I didn’t think I needed birth control pills until I was on holiday and almost decided to do it, the problem is, I talked to my mum before the holiday and mum told me I didn’t need it so there wasn’t any point. should I go to the doctors alone?

  • Nessie

    I have a really heavy period and some acne so my doctor put me on birth control to help regualte my period and clear up my acne. He also said that if you take birth control now it won’t affect whether you’ll be able to have kids in the futre or not.

  • Orla

    I was at the doctor today wondering to go on the pill or not as I have taken other medication that asnt worked. My acne always gets worsed due to my period and so i really just want to take someting to fix it. She put me on other medication first that i hope will work but otherwise she said I could take it or another medication. However she said the pill would effect my natural ostregen and in the future i dont want it to ruin my chances of having children! the other medication has the side effect of possible depression and im scared of the side effects of both now?

  • Leigh

    Hormonal birth control has also been listed as a carcinogen (cause of cancer) by the World Health Organization, so I would seriously consider that, in addition to the risks of stroke and blood clots that it brings. Do your own research – doctors are so in the box they don’t even know!

    There are totally natural ways – with no harmful side effects – like Fertility Awareness methods.

    Also, if you are not ready to have birth control “fail,” not ready for children, then you may want to consider that you are not ready for sex, since babies result from sex.

    • Leah

      By fertility awareness methods are you referring to the rhythm method (tracking your period and ovulation to decide when you are least likely to become pregnant)?

      If so I’m completely shocked you would recommend this method as a reliable form of birth control. It has been consistently proven to not work, especially in teenage girls who may not have regular menstruation cycles yet.

      Even women who have had their periods for decades cannot accurately guess ovulation in order to avoid pregnancies, not to mention that this method offers ZERO std protection!

      I want it to go on record that this is luck and chance – not birth control.

  • sarah

    Birth control just hasn’t worked for me. First, I tried the patch…ugh. Everytime I started the new cycle I could NOT concentrate and usually barfed at least once due to the dizziness. So, i got off that after 3 months. about 3 years later I tried the NuvaRing. With this: I gained weight and have had the worst acne I’ve ever had. My hormones are all messed up. I don’t know what to do..try another birth control to balance my hormones? More unnatural hormones being put into my body…? It’s a mess. glad to hear it works for some of you!

  • Roxy

    Hey, I Started Taking Birth Control About 2 Months Ago The Only Advantage Is to Regulate My Period && Stop Pregnancy, But Thats About It Im Switching My Prescription….. Tricyclen-lo Is The One I’m Using

    • Kat

      I’m about to start the Tri-Sprintec and some of the reviews I’ve seen about it are really freaking me out, since I’ve never needed to be on birth control before. I really don’t want to gain weight because I’m really athletic and already kinda moody so I’m afraid what will happen when I start taking it. What do you think?

      • Caroline

        I’m on Tri-Sprintec and it’s been completely fine for me! I love it. It has completely cleared up my acne, I have a much lighter, shorter period, and it has also worked to keep me from getting pregnant. Don’t listen to the reviews. I read them before I started taking it, too, but I have had no negative side effects whatsoever.

        • Annaprilla

          Hello Caroline. So I am thinking about taking birthcontrol to try and get rid of my acne. And If you don’t mind me asking I was wondering how sever or mild your acne was, and how long you had to take the pill befor your acne was gone. I have serious sever acne and I could really use your options. It would be very helpful. Thank you!

      • Claudia

        Im on tri-sprintec for over a year no side effects and no gain weight it clear my acne for me it’s working great good luck!

  • Michelle Decker

    yea like over the past week ive been taking it and my mum put me on it for my acne and plus i havent been having my period regualaly and plus im only 12yr old and my mom is also scared that i mite be sexually active but u noe its 4 my saftey and for me to gt me better ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Ginny


    I started taking birth-control pills as a way of regulating my hormones, which in turn, helped reduce acne and hirsutism greatly. I haven't felt any other side effects, a part from a deliciously short and painless period ๐Ÿ™‚ I'm also a virgin, and have been taking birth control pills for a little over a year now ๐Ÿ™‚

    Before taking any birth control pills first though, I think you should have a meeting with a gynecologist that will determine if you can take them, and if so, which ones to take… And if you don't want to take birth control pills, simply go to a dermatologist and have him check out your acne! He might be able to help you more than birth control pills, maybe even prescribing some kind of meds ๐Ÿ™‚

    Good luck! ๐Ÿ™‚


  • Kadijah Howard

    I on Apri birthcontrol and it has really helped me with my acne. I used to have bad flare ups on my forthead but now its completely clear it has also helped make my period lighter and the cramps soooo much better i used to have excrutiating cramps now they hardly hurt.