The Pill and Acne

How many times has someone told you that ‘going on the Pill’ is quick-fix for acne? We’re pretty sure it’s not the first time you’ve heard that, but

it’s likely you’ve been apprehensive

about jumping on the OCP (oral contraceptive pill) train – could it really be that easy? Well, if after countless trips to the dermatologist and trying multiple antibiotics hasn’t quite done it for you yet, it might be time to take your friend up on her tip.

New research from Harvard’s Medical School attempted to compare OCP’s and antibiotics against each other, the first time that’s ever been done. The result? The effectiveness of both treatments actually match. After reviewing over 200 publications and carrying out 32 trials, the team found that both three and six months, both treatments led to a similar reduction in inflamed skin and acne. But here’s where OCP’s have an upper hand: at six months, OCP’s outperformed antibiotics with a 55% success rate in reducing the total number of lesions, versus the 52.8% rate of antibiotics.

So what does this mean for you? If you’ve avoided trying OCP’s in favor of trying antibiotics first, you may benefit from giving them a shot now. The authors of the study suggest that it “may be a better first-line alternative to system antibiotics for long-term acne management in women,” and so if you’re looking for a permanent solution… The Pill might be it.

P.S. Always consult your dermatologist first to see if your body could present any issues while taking OCP’s before you decide to make the switch permanently! Best of luck.

Source: Koo, Eubee Baughn et al. Meta-analysis comparing efficacy of antibiotics versus oral contraceptives in acne vulgaris. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, Volume 71, Issue 3, 450 - 459.

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