A: Of course, the primary purpose of birth control is to prevent conception. However, hormonal birth control (the pill) is sometimes also prescribed for women to moderate symptoms associated with menstruation and ovulation, such as acne. This illustrates the pill’s impact on our hormones, which can be destructive as well as helpful.
“Hormones of any kind can trigger acne, no matter your age,” says Kristen Cantwell, a nurse practitioner at the Vitality Aesthetic Institute in La Jolla, California. “I would recommend speaking with your women’s health provider about a nonhormonal birth control method, such as Paragard.”
If that doesn’t seem like the best option for you—some women, for instance, cannot tolerate intrauterine devices such as Paragard—then Diana Hermann, an acupuncturist and herbalist, and owner of Zi Zai Dermatology in Fort Collins, Colorado, suggests going back to your old pills. This really depends on why you changed your brand in the first place, she says. If the new pill has a different hormone ratio from the old, you should look for a brand that mimics the original hormone ratio. If you switched because of insurance and can’t find a good substitute, you might want to consider paying the difference.