Contraceptives for Clear Skin
Update (6/3/10): Please take note that I am NOT a doctor. Before asking any questions, please bear in mind that I will be answering based on my experiences and not out of any medical knowledge. I strongly suggest that you go to your doctor for any questions regarding birth control pills.Update (8/10/10):The comments section has been permanently closed. Please direct all your contraceptive related inquiries to your health care provider. Thanks!
As an extremely acne- prone teenager, I tried all sorts of topical creams, medicated soaps, drying lotions etc. etc. just to keep my zits at bay. You know what they say about the teenage years being the most challenging stage in life? Being a pimply teenager makes it doubly challenging. Here you are trying to come to grips with your rapidly changing body, hair is sprouting in the weirdest places, you have to wear a training bra (as if you need practice for that) AND your crush called you pizza face! No wonder teenagers and angst go hand in hand.
I'm gonna dispel any possible rumors and say outright that I wasn't referring to myself in the previous paragraph, my crush never called me pizza face (he just never called me... *sniff!*). But I had more than my share of teenage sullenness no thanks in part to my wonderful skin which my mom claimed I got from my dad, and which my dad flatly denied (sniff! sniff!). I guess my mom finally felt sorry for me because after our nth unsuccessful attempt at obtaining clear skin, she finally handed me a packet of Diane contraceptives.
It was definitely weird to receive contraceptives from my mom (does this mean...) but apparently Diane, aside from being birth-control pills, was primarily meant to clear skin up. Diane inhibits androgen (or is that testosterone?) in the body. Androgen is what's responsible for the manly features we associate in guys (facial hair, pronounced features, excessive body hair etc.) while estrogen, in turn, is responsible for the feminine attributes.
Unfortunately, girls also have androgen and some more than normal. Hence, some girls tend to be oilier or hairier than others. This is where Diane steps in. By inhibiting androgens, it minimizes oil production leading to less clogged pores and less acne and a happier, less-pimply you.
Diane is taken like a regular birth control pill. It has 21 pills, with the first one to be taken on the first day of your monthly period. After the third or fourth day of taking Diane, your period will stop. Don't get freaked out and just continue taking it until you finish all 21 pills. After the 21st day, you are to take a 7 day rest from taking Diane and during this period of time, you'll get your, um, period. Again, don't get freaked out. I'm not really sure why that happens, just that it does. You can start with a new pack after the 7 day period and just do the same as above.
I noticed a significant change in my skin during the third month of use. My skin stopped being oily, my acne flares were gone and my pores were no longer crater-like. Although I did notice my appetite soar to an all-time high. I must have gained ten pounds during the time I took the pills, which was just as well because I was skinny as a stick back then. I stopped using it after the fifth or sixth month because my skin really cleared up and I was getting anal about tampering with my body and the possible future repercussions that might bring forth. Sadly, my skin went back to Oilville about a month after I got off Diane. Thankfully though it was no longer as bad as it used to be. I guess my hormones finally settled down.
I'm not sure if Diane is readily available without prescription but just by reading the enclosed pamphlet and the numerous contraindications, I think it's best to mosey on to your physician's office first before self-medicating.
*Pic taken from schering.com