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I Am Losing The Fight With Birth Control.

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#1 sierra9

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 02:01 PM

I've had acne flare-ups since I was 10 or so, severe acne when I was 12 and 13. I went on birth control when I was 13 and it cleared up. A little zit or two here and there, otherwise I was clear.

I went off birth control in November of 2011, 8 months ago. Within 1 month, I had broken out all over my back, chest, jawline, cheeks, forehead, chin. EVERYWHERE. And it was stubborn as all hell. Nothing fixed it. I had read that it could take up to a year to normalize, but it seemed to only be getting worse over the months, it never got even an ounce better.

I'd finally had enough and went back on birth control about 1 month ago. And... my acne is at least 50-75% WORSE than it was in the previous months.

What the hell am I supposed to do?! I don't want to be on hormonal birth control because it turns my mood to shit and obliterates my sex drive/zest for life. But I also don't want acne. I feel like I'm in a losing battle either way.

Has anyone been through this? How do you kill hormonal acne?!?!


Posted Image Do I have to be covered in pimples for the rest of my damn life?

#2 Green Gables

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 11:04 PM

Not all birth controls are equal. What are you on?

#3 kalebattle

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Posted 26 July 2012 - 01:34 PM

Many women have gone through this, you're not alone!

Any hormonal birth control is going to have a powerful effect on your hormones. What it does is make your body think it's pregnant in a sense, so you don't ovulate. And without ovulation, you can't get pregnant. I didn't have a period for 8 months after stopping birth control. And when I finally ovulated again, it was extremely painful.

Here are some hormonal acne basics

The liver regulates hormones, and detoxes the body. This organ has been under A LOT of pressure from taking birth control. Take care of it! Save drinking for special occasions, drink lots of water to help it flush out toxins, take some liver supporting herbs. Just baby your liver, it needs your help!

birth control ravages the digestive system. I developed food intolerances after coming off of it. Watch what you eat. Stay away from processed inflammatory foods. The digestive system is another means of detoxing. eat plenty of fiber filled food to keep this going.

Vitex is an herb you might want to research. It's adaptogenic, meaning it will work towards balancing whatever hormones you specifically need to have balanced. Two people with different hormonal imbalances could take this herb and have it still work for them. But there are other herbs. You should look into doing a liver cleanse of some kind too. To get the process going.

If you want more info feel free to message me. I've been researching all of this for over a year because of what birth control has done to my body.

The reason why your skin didn't improve once you got back on is because your body hasn't had a chance to regulate. Coming off birth control after being on it long term is a huge shock to the system. Then after a couple months you introduce it again and it's an even bigger shock. Your body is confused and out of whack!

Unfortunately there is no overnight thing that will make everything better, including your skin. If you ever want to have kids, sex drive, emotional balance, hormonal balance, and clear skin.....you have to come off the birth control eventually. But the road to those things may take a while. Everyone is different. I'm a more extreme case for sure. It's been about a year since I started breaking out from coming off birth control, and I'm still breaking out. But it's gotten better. It's not nearly as bad as it was when everything started to fall apart. It hasn't been easy. But I had to choose between a life of drug dependency and eventually disease, or the longer path towards health? The decision was easy and I haven't looked back once, but the journey has been difficult. I'm sorry for this babble, but I feel for you, and I want to help if I can.

#4 stephanieroses

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Posted 26 July 2012 - 10:26 PM

I have been having a similar experience, although I am only 4 months off the pill at this point. I had been on Yaz for a few years and in conjunction with proactive, it kept my skin 95%-100% clear at all times. When I came off the pill suddenly the proactive dried and irritated my skin and now my skin will not STOP breaking out.

I am aiming for a healthy, diet oriented solution to m acne so I eat a LOT of anti-inflammatory foods. Even though it has not stopped the breakouts (which have gotten to the point of being embarrassingly bad) I do still believe that it has kept my skin from getting EVEN worse. I have recently started on a regimen of juicing and using B5 & L-Carnitine supplements, as well as the clean diet (NO SUGAR, EVER) and am hoping to keep the acne at bay and ultimately reduce and clear it completely by totally natural means.

I can tell though that my body is still out of whack from the years on the pill. I didn't get my first period after for 3 months and have had recurrent yeast infections, mood swings and all kinds of other weirdness ever since going off the pill. I agree with kalebattle in that the road to health is harder, but in the long run the more satisfying choice. Chemical dependency keeps the body from ever being able to find a stasis which wont help the acne battle. From much of what I have read and researched, even hormones can be balanced through diet and lifestyle. It's just a matter of committing the time and energy, and making the necessary adjustments and sacrifices to get there. I admit I am not 100% there yet, but I aspire to be soon...

#5 sierra9

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Posted 27 July 2012 - 12:38 PM

Not all birth controls are equal. What are you on?


I'm on microgestin, which is a generic ultra-low-dose combo pill.

The liver regulates hormones, and detoxes the body. This organ has been under A LOT of pressure from taking birth control. Take care of it! Save drinking for special occasions, drink lots of water to help it flush out toxins, take some liver supporting herbs. Just baby your liver, it needs your help!


Thank you for your response! This really helped. I'm positive that I do not want to be on hormonal birth control ever again. It's amazing how much better I feel when I'm off of it. The acne is absolutely horrible and frustrating, but it's not worth clear skin to be back on birth control, frankly. I can't wait for this to level out. (Sidenote: Why aren't women warned about this before they start birth control?! This seems to be an extraordinarily common and seriously impactful issue!!)

Can I ask, has Vitex done anything for you? Also, what liver supplements are best? I have milk thistle on hand for party nights -- what else is necessary? Also, I've experimented a bit with vitamin b-5, and it does appear to have a small effect (I haven't been on a regimen or anything, have just taken it here and there -- don't want to get caught up in megadosing).

Thanks again for your help.

I am aiming for a healthy, diet oriented solution to m acne so I eat a LOT of anti-inflammatory foods. Even though it has not stopped the breakouts (which have gotten to the point of being embarrassingly bad) I do still believe that it has kept my skin from getting EVEN worse. I have recently started on a regimen of juicing and using B5 & L-Carnitine supplements, as well as the clean diet (NO SUGAR, EVER) and am hoping to keep the acne at bay and ultimately reduce and clear it completely by totally natural means.



This also really helped. I'm hoping for the same thing! I checked out the juicing/b5/no-sugar regimen, and I think it's worth trying. Curious to know how it works out for you. Like I said, I see potential with vitamin b-5, but I've learned not to get my hopes up about anything -_-

Can I ask -- what are some inflammatory foods I could be eating? I'm unfamiliar with the term.
Thanks everyone, really nice to have support. So envious of those with naturally perfect skin! Haha. One day. :)

#6 stephanieroses

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Posted 28 July 2012 - 09:47 AM

If you want to get a really strong overview of inflammatory vs. anti-inflammation foods I would highly recommend the book "the clear skin diet" by Drs Logan and Treloar. It goes into depth about how food can influence acne and hormones and gives really strong supporting information and studies about the different foods to steer clear of and what to try to eat more often.

I'll list some of things I've learned and have been trying to follow, but bear in mind that everyone is different and foods effect people differently so this is a broad overview!

Inflammatory foods to avoid include:
Milk/dairy
Processed sugars (desserts, anything with high fructose corn syrup, sugary drinks sodas, bottled juices)
High GI foods (GI stands for glycemic index)
Refined carbohydrates (white breads, pastas)
Fatty or highly processed meats, meats with sugar glaze or marinades
Sugary fruits (watermelon,banana, dried fruits)
Vegetable oils
Man made artificial butters, sweetners or substitutes for real natural foods

Anti-inflammatory foods include:
Deeply colored vegetables (particularly anything high in vitamin A like carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach as well as tomatoes, but pretty much most vegetables had high levels of antioxidants and you want to aim to eat as many different vegetables every day as you possibly can)
Salmon
Eggs (aiming for cage free, higher in omega 3)
Soy (In moderation, miso is good as well as tempeh)
Ginger, turmeric, cinnamon (spices)
Green tea
Cereal grains (brown rice, barley, quinoia, whole wheat breads and crackers like Ezekiel bread and ak mak as well as oatmeal)
Extra virgin olive oil
Lean meats, aiming for poultry or fish over beef
Berries (lowest GI fruits) blueberries, strawberries etc

Basically you would want to aim for a diet that is largely natural and whole foods over anything in a package or convenience food items. It can be tough at times but I do feel personally these principles help keep my skin from getting completely out of control. I'm hopin with the addition of juicing and B5 to get he maximum results!

Hope this helps somewhat :)

#7 Green Gables

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Posted 28 July 2012 - 07:19 PM

Not all birth controls are equal. What are you on?


I'm on microgestin, which is a generic ultra-low-dose combo pill.


That is your problem right there...the only pills that really work consistently for ACNE are Yasmin/Yaz (because it contains a derivative of spironolactone) and high estrogen pills (such as Diane-35). If you want to see results from birth control stay away from low-dose pills.

Low-dose pills (Alesse, Aviane, Levlite, Loestrin 1/20, Mircette)
Regular-dose pills (Brevicon, Demulen, Desogen, Levlen, Lo/Ovral, Modicon, Nordette, Levora, Loestrin, Low-Ogestrel, Necon 1/35, Norethin, Norinyl 1+35, Ortho-Cept, Ortho-Cyclen, Ortho-Novum 1/35, Ortho Tri-Cyclen Lo, Ovcon 35, Seasonale, Yasmin, Zovia)
Phasic pills (Ortho-Tri-Cyclen Lo, Cyclessa, Trivora, Triphasil, Tri-Levlen, Ortho-Novum 10/11, Jenest, Tri-Norinyl, Ortho-Novum 7/7/7, Ortho-Tri-Cyclen, Estrostep Fe)
High-dose pills (Ortho-Novum 1/50, Ovral, Ogestrel, Demulen 1/50, Ovcon 50)

#8 pari

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Posted 04 August 2012 - 10:01 AM

Hi Sierra9,

When Kalebattle comes along, she probably can give you a more profound answer. However, I would like to let you know my experience with vitex.
I started using it as a more natural alternative for BCP (I was on Diane35). In my experience the vitex helped me with regulating my periods, and they are not as painful as they used to be (before I went on BCP, that is...)

On Youtube you can find the clipt 'Healthy Skin Tea' posted by user 'herbanwellness' (here is the link: http://www.youtube.c...h?v=ymY9qMauFvs)
The herbs that are mentioned are:
nettle ; detoxifies the kidneys
red clover ; blood purifier
horse tail ; strenghtening
burdock root ; detoxifies the liver
yellow dock; liver tonic, supports colon health
oregan grape ; liver tonic
calendula flower
gotu kola

I've read elsewhere about herbs that might be beneficial in balancing the hormonal system in females:
Red Clover
WIlde Yam
Saw Palmetto.

Here on acne.org there is a post by a woman who has seen improvements after using a combination of vitex and saw palmetto.

Good luck!

#9 euroviv

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 05:47 AM

Hi I wanted to add my support for vitex! I've been using vitex for the last six months and it has worked well for me. At first I was very skeptical. I'm NOT someone who takes all kinds of vitamins at all but a friend of mine suggested this since it worked for her. My choices at this point were birth control, accutane or vitex so I gave it a go. I've been taking one pill a day regularly (except for July when I went on vacation, and moved cities). So in short, I like it, it works and I recommend it as worth trying. I'm going to go into detail about it below just for the benefit of whoever wants more info :)

My kind of acne: My hormones have been tested and found to be only slightly out of whack according to my doc. He was ready with a BC rx but I was not! My acne was severe a year ago and with the help of medical topicals and cleansers I was able to get it in check (not cleared). Even after my acne was in check I still had a bad breakout before my period every month (papules, pustules, inflamation, redness, etc). It would take forever to 'recover' from the breakout. Then right when my skin recovered from that breakout the process started all over again. Sound familiar?

Vitex is not the kind of thing that works really fast. I'd say into the 2nd month I noticed a change. The change was that my monthly breakout was not so severe. Instead of several pimples I might get one or two of the non-inflamed variety. These healed and went away instead of staying and inviting friends. Since then I've had months when I didn't break out at all. Like I said, my acne was not severe when I started using vitex but if yours is I would use vitex in conjunction with whatever topical your doctor might suggest. For my part I am thankful to have found an alternative to BC or accutane.

p.s. Vitex got me interested in other natural skincare options. Check my profile blog to read about what I've tried that works and see pictures.

All the best,
Viv

#10 Ukulala

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Posted 08 August 2012 - 07:29 PM

Vitex, yes! And Saw Palmetto. That's what the naturopath has me on a tincture of (as well as licorice) to even out my progesterone/testosterone imbalance. So I add my support for that. : )

You could look in the thread I made for other suggestions - straight from the naturo for my super hormonal acne.

Don't worry; you WILL figure this out. It's a long road, but you will get there. Keep your chin up!!!

#11 snyderl

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Posted 10 August 2012 - 09:29 PM

I am so glad I am not the only one who experienced terrible cystic acne after going off BCP! I thought I was crazy. I had perfect skin until going off the pill and then out of nowhere I had huge boil-like cysts all over my jawline, chin, and forehead. I actually thought I had shingles and went to the doc for an Rx! When the boils didn't clear, I was horrified. For the next year I lived in agony. It wasn't until I was pregnant and into my 2nd trimester that my skin finally started to calm down and clear up. It was great again while breastfeeding, and then when I stopped breastfeeding it started all over again. Desperate, I ran to my derm and went on Accutane. I had to go back on BCP so I could take the Accutane. It seemed to work like a miracle...until I was finished and went back of BCP. And then it came back!!! :( I got pregnant a few months later and experienced relief once I was into my 2nd trimester. Then, once again, it was perfect while breastfeeding and as soon as I stopped, BAM! Cysts are back. They're not as horrific this time around, but I am so tired of this battle. I miss being able to smile back at my own reflection in the mirror. So I read about vitex and just started it a few days ago. I'm nervous b/c I read it can actually make acne worse for some women. I'm also starting to drink spearmint tea as I have read that's supposed to have an anti-androgen effect. Has anyone tried vitex and spearmint tea together? I'm also dairy-free, little to no sugar, very little processed food, mostly natural whole foods, juicing everyday and am trying to buy mostly organic meat (although it's expensive and I don't always go w/organic). If vitex and spearmint tea don't work, I really don't know what else to do. Has anyone out there tried the "Acne Free in 3 Days" regimen (eating only apples + nightly enema)? Thanks so much for any suggestions/help...

#12 helpfulheart

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Posted 14 August 2012 - 06:24 PM

I've heard so many acne stories relating to getting off birth control. I would probably see a naturopath to help your insides recover and to get on a good diet.