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I'll try to keep this brief:

I had acne as a teenager, was on Accutane at 12, and went on hormonal birth control when I was 15. About 2 years ago I went off birth control because I was sick of the mood swings and I got worse migraines when I was on it. A few months of being off the hormones and my skin basically erupted like nothing I've ever seen before. I've literally never seen worse acne on anyone, including most of the pictures here. It was incredibly painful and it was so horrible and debilitating that I was basically suicidal. I tried everything short of prescriptions (because I didn't have insurance, and had no luck with them when I was younger), including over the counter remedies, herbal remedies, diet, exercise, anti-Candida diet and pills, probiotics, antibiotics, steaming, etc. It was pretty clear to me that my problem was hormonal. I didn't want to go back on hormonal birth control, but once my skin started to scar permanently I'd had enough and went back on Nuvaring. Sure enough, my skin completely cleared up almost immediately. Now, the doctor just took me off hormonal birth control because I get migraines with aura. According to her I never should've been on it in the first place because of the increased risk of blood clot and stroke for people with migraine + aura. She couldn't believe I'd been on it for 12 years and that so many different doctors allowed me to be. I'm glad she caught it and obviously wouldn't want to be on it if its dangerous, but she put me on a progestin only pill which won't help my skin at all, so I'm back to square one here and don't know what to do.


Does anyone have a similar experience with horrible acne after going off birth control or other hormonal issues? I'd love to hear about it and anything that has helped hormonal acne that isn't combination birth control.

Does anyone here have PCOS? My mom has it and the doctor thinks I might also. She gave me referrals to get that checked out but I don't have health insurance (I'm trying to get it and it's been a nightmare, so pretty please, if your only advice is get insurance and go to a doctor, no need to comment, I'm trying) so that will be difficult. But I'm curious to know people's experiences with PCOS, drugs like Metformin, or any experience managing PCOS in other ways?

Several people have suggested to me that being on hormonal birth control for so long, and especially starting at such a young age, has made my body unable to regulate its own hormones. People have told me I need to basically wait it out until my body is able to balance my hormones on its own. Does anyone have any experience with this or medical knowledge about whether or not this is really "a thing"? I've met women who had terrible skin going off birth control and said it took 2 years for it to level out on its own. The thing that scares me most about that is the scarring, since my skin was already starting to scar after just a few months and these women had fairly noticeable scarring.

Are there any other hormonal conditions besides PCOS that anyone knows of that could be causing this? I'm grasping at straws here but really want to find any viable solutions and game plans before all this hits the fan again.

Thanks In advance, everyone.

Edited by mammasay

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Yes, I have experience! Same as you... well not exactly, but somewhat.

I never took accutane. I had my first period at 14 and not even a year later I went on diane 35. I quitted the pill again when I was 16 and I was fine. I started taking it again and when I stopped it, same issue as you had.... the worst acne. It would get everywhere, but never cystic! I went to a gyno and she diagnosed me with pcos, since I had ovarian cysts. I went back on BCP and here I am... trying to prevent to post pill breakout as I want to stop taking it again.

You sure have an imbalance, but it's hard to tell which one. You can do saliva testing (it's about 100 dollars I think) without health insurance. That way you can see if your hormones are off balance.

I don't have any experience with metformin, since that's used for insulin resistant right? Are you overweight? I am underweight so taking that has never been an issue... You can try barberry instead. They say it works just as well! Do you have regular periods? My periods stopped completely after stopping BCP.

I'm planning to stop BCP in august. I will do the weaning method. Right before I go off I will eat super healthy and sugarfree and when I stopped I will take inositol and multivitamin to promote good egg quality. If that won't do the trick, I'll do saliva testing and see a good doctor who can help me with this.

good luck!! don't give up

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Thanks so much for your reply! Super helpful and so nice to hear I'm not alone in this chaos! I'm underweight too but I've heard of people being prescribed Metformin for PCOS as an alternative to combination bc. I was under the impression PCOS had to do with insulin resistance? Still learning about it though, but I'm pretty confident I have it at this point. When I googled PCOS acne it looked exactly like what mine looked like, whereas when I was looking for acne that looked like mine on here back when I was going through it I couldn't find much that really looked like it. I've also heard it's more difficult for underweight women to be diagnosed with PCOS because it's more typical in women who are overweight. I've had ovarian cysts before, or what I'm pretty certain were ovarian cysts based on how it felt. Didn't have a sonogram of them or anything though. My mom has PCOS and is always getting cysts and she's sure that's what I've had. My periods are heavy when I'm not on birth control and sometimes early or late but they always come pretty much monthly, so far. I've only been off the pill for less than a year in the last 12 years though so that could change. Do you think it would be better to go to an obgyn or an endocrinologist? Or both? What kind of doctor typically gives the saliva test? Thanks so much again!

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Oooh we're really in the same dilemma here!! Except, nothing happend down there when I quit BCP. No period AT all... it still worries and bothers me a lot. I'm the only one in the fam who has acne and pcos. Weird...

I am not sure about my cause of pcos.. sure, it could be insulin resistance, but I think it also had a lot to do with stress. I bought an ebook a while ago and there they said that pcos is either way caused by 1. insulin resistance 2. stress 3. thyroid problems. 2 applies on me the most I think. For insulin resistance you can try cinnamon after each meal. It lowers blood sugar after it. Maybe you see some result.. Also barberry.. it's a herb that seems to work just as well as metformin. Maybe try that first?

Saliva testing is a very acurate hormone test. It can tell you exactly which hormones are out off balance. There are a lot of very educationed people on this forum who could help you once you have your test results.

I made a 'plan' to come off BCP in august. Here is how I will do it:

- start eating really healthy a month before coming off. no more refined sugars and leaving food triggers out (I have to go for a food allergy test first)

- after a month weaning off BCP. Cutting the pill in halfs and quarters before completely stopping

- taking inositol (D-Chiro-inositol) for promoting good egg quality

- taking cinnamon after each meal, a good multivitamin and maybe some antioxidant supplements or some other supplement

- if this won't give me my periods back, I'll be doing a saliva test and see what's going on. I will also have to go to an endo and gyno. I would recommend an endo more, since you don't want to get pregnant yet and see what's going on? a gyno can only confirm if you have pcos...

good luck!!

I must mention that in the time I was diagnosed with P I was under a lot of stress... so much stress that I had to do therapy. Acne and lacking periods gave me even more stress... I was thinking the entire time: periods MUST come back, or something is really wrong with me!! It won't be the first time I would give myself symptoms of a disease by being terrified of it... I once had all the symptoms of brain tumor, just because I was terrified to have it. Lol, my therapies were about living with hypochondria... of course :P

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