Let me start out this post by saying I’m NOT“anti-birth control pill” – there is a time and a place for the use of all types of birth control, what’s important is that you find one that works for you. My goal with this post today is to talk about some of the things that may not have been mentioned to you when you started to the pill, but are VERY real when you do some off of it (don’t worry, there’s plenty to be done to support your body through this process!)
If controlling skin and preventing breakouts was one of the reasons to start birth control in the first place – you might be in for a wild ride with your skin (and hormones, but today I’m focusing on skin!) when you decide to come off of hormonal birth control.
For starters – hormonal birth control suppresses your endogenous hormones (that’s how it works) so your hormone activity at the level of your skin is nil. When first coming off of birth control, your body all of the sudden is not suppressed anymore and gets to make its own hormones, and sometimes can go overboard at first (especially with androgens – testosterone) and unfortunately that shows up on skin as persistent cystic acne.
Certain birth control pills contain drospirenone (Yaz) that works at the level of the skin to block sebum production. Your body tries to combat this block because it’s normal to have a base level of sebum on skin, so your body up regulates sebum, only to continue to be blocked by drospirenone. So you can begin to see what’s going to happen here – you take away the drospirenone when you stop the birth control pill and BAM! your skin explodes because your body has been trying to make sebum and upregulate it and now it finally has the freedom to do so, but unfortunately too much sebum = increased likelihood of cystic acne and breakouts.
Birth control pills have also been shown to disrupt the microflora in your gastrointestinal track. An inflamed GI system can be associated with skin inflammation. Also, if your GI system is inflamed, you may not be absorbing all the nutrients you require to support your overall health and skin health, as well as the synthetic hormones in your system from the birth control pill require extra work in your liver to metabolize – resulting in depletion of specific nutrients if you’re not keeping up with a healthy diet.
There is plenty you can be doing to support your skin and overall health while still on the birth control pill, I’m not saying stop the birth control pill right now, I’m saying there are some speedbumps in your future when coming off of it, that if you put in the work now you can help support your body and smooth that transition. Come and talk to me about it!