What really helps against impure skin and acne after stopping the pill? And above all: how long does it take for the complexion to finally improve? First of all: Even if pimples are often hushed up in adulthood - you are not alone with this problem. Together we will now explain why hormones play a major role in acne after you stop taking the pill and what you can do effectively to finally have comfortable skin again. Let's go!
Coming off acne after the pill: definition & causes
Let's start with how pimples actually develop. This is due to the interaction of two factors : First, the sebaceous glands produce more skin fat than necessary. Second, dead skin cells are not shed quickly enough. This mixture of old cells and sebum collects in the outlets of the sebaceous glands - the pores.
And we know what follows now: clogged pores = pimples.
However, our equation does not stop there. The clogged sebum is a perfect breeding ground for the acne bacterium Propionibacterium acnes 6,1 . When this multiplies, the skin sends out an army of white blood cells to defend itself. From the outside, this immune reaction becomes visible in inflammation and pustules - the typical acne skin.
Okay, but what does all of this have to do with going off the pill?
The short answer is that how much sebum the sebaceous glands produce depends in large part on our hormones . And they get pretty confused both by taking the pill and by stopping it. For the detailed answer we now go back a bit.
What role do hormones play in post-pill acne?
The fact is: "Real" acne always has a hormonal component. This is because male sex hormones – so-called androgens such as testosterone – have a regulating effect on the production of our skin fat 6 .
- Many birth control pills contain synthetic estrogen and progestin, which inhibit testosterone production.
- This anti-androgenic effect of certain pill preparations reduces the skin's sebum production and thus leads to an improved complexion in many women - while taking them.
- However, if you stop taking the pill, your body is suddenly on its own again. It therefore needs time to find its way back to its hormonal balance.
- During this conversion phase (which usually lasts about 2 to 6 months) there can be a relative excess of testosterone. With the well-known side effects: blemished skin or even acne.
Acne or "just" a few pimples? These are the differences!
We all know it actually: there is no such thing as completely flawless skin (even if it looks very different on Instagram). In the unfiltered reality, we all struggle with breakouts from time to time. But: When do we speak of acne when it comes to impure skin?
"Real" acne is an inflammatory disease of the skin , more precisely of the sebaceous glands. It doesn't stop with one or the other pimple.
The following degrees of severity of acne are distinguished:
- Mild acne (acne comedonica): In contrast to other forms of acne, there are only isolated symptoms of inflammation. You can recognize light acne by oily facial skin and a shiny T-zone, in which many blackheads (= comedones - hence the name) develop.
- Moderate acne (acne papulopustulosa): This form of acne is characterized by more nodules, more pimples and, unfortunately, more inflammation. In addition to the face, the shoulders, chest and neckline are often affected.
- Severe acne (acne conglobata): In severe forms of acne, the facial skin is constantly covered with pustules (aka pimples), blackheads and papules that become inflamed and just plain painful. Because scarring can occur, especially with severe acne, you should definitely seek medical advice in this case.
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Getting rid of pimples & acne after the pill: does your diet have anything to do with it?
That is even very likely . A growing body of research points to a link between the consumption of foods with a high glycemic index and increased sebum production by the sebaceous glands 6 .
Why is that? Fast carbohydrates such as white bread, rice & Co. cause blood sugar and insulin levels to rise. This, in turn, triggers androgen levels in the body. With the well-known effect: sebum production increases. Perfect conditions for the development of pimples and acne.
And the absolute shocker: Milk can also trigger acne due to the whey proteins it contains. The latter increase the insulin-like growth factors IGF-1 in the body and also promote increased production of skin fat.
🥬 If you eat potatoes and legumes instead, If you integrate fruit and vegetables, as well as healthy fats such as avocado and wheat germ oil into your diet, you support your skin health with a colorful cocktail of antioxidants, vitamins and essential fatty acids.
4 effective tips to get acne under control after stopping the pill!
The good news: The hormone balance and thus the skin balance often levels off by itself within a few months after stopping the pill.
We will now tell you what you can do if you want to avoid pimples and acne after stopping the pill or if you want to get rid of existing impurities. Spoiler: Your skin needs help from the inside AND the outside.
1. Lower your stress levels
Do you feel the same? In stressful or emotionally demanding phases, to top it all off, the skin often goes haywire. According to a French study , stress is a trigger for acne in every second woman 5 . This is due to the increased release of the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline. If there is a lack of sleep (Netflix also makes it difficult for us!), this mechanism is also triggered.
☝️ What you can do: Unfortunately, stress triggers cannot simply be switched off. Instead, try to find ways to incorporate small relaxation rituals like yoga or meditation into your daily routine to calm down.
2. Maintain a healthy gut flora to get rid of impurities
You may have heard the term “microbiome” before. It refers to the countless tiny microorganisms in our intestines and on our skin, which fulfill many important functions for our immune system and ward off harmful invaders from the outside. However, years of taking the pill, but also stress and an unbalanced diet can seriously disturb and change the balance of these microorganisms.
Studies have shown, for example, that the composition of the skin and gut microbiome is different in acne patients than in people who do not suffer from acne 3 : They often lack “good bacteria” – the probiotics.
☝️ What you can do: How about a colon cleanse? Probiotics inhibit the growth of the acne bacterium Propionibacterium acnes. With probiotic foods like sauerkraut, kombucha and pickles you can naturally support your gut and skin health.
3. Give your body the nutrients it needs
Years of using birth control pills leave many women deficient in nutrients and minerals 4 .
- the vitamins of the B complex, including folic acid,
- the vitamins E & C
- as well as magnesium, zinc and selenium.
However, many of them fulfill important tasks for our skin health . Vitamin C and zinc have an anti-inflammatory effect. Zinc also regulates the production of male sex hormones 2 and thus also sebum production.
☝️ What you can do: If you are planning to stop taking the pill (or have already done so), a full blood count is always a good idea. This way you can find out if you have a nutrient deficiency and counteract it with a balanced diet and/or with the help of dietary supplements.
4. Decide on gentle and effective skin care
Over the long term, the right skincare can relieve many of the symptoms of post-pill acne .
But be careful: in dermatology, retinoids in various forms are often used to treat acne. However, if you have stopped taking the pill because you are planning to become pregnant soon, taking isotretinoin and using tretinoin externally is not an option!
☝️ What you can do? Pay attention to puristic skin care that promotes the skin's balance . This is how you lay the foundation for a well-balanced skin that will not get off track in the future. This is how your skin care routine against acne can look like after stopping the pill:
- Cleaning: The key word here is “balance”. On the one hand, thorough cleaning is essential, especially with acne and pimples. On the other hand, you should not overstrain your skin barrier with aggressive facial cleansers. As the first step in your daily skincare routine, we recommend our mild FIVE Make-up Remover to use with the Oil Cleansing method.
Facial care against acne after stopping the pill: Minimalism is also popular here. Apply a hydrating serum morning and night after cleansing. Do you already know our FIVE facial serum with hyaluron, glycerine and rose water? Then treat your skin to a nourishing facial oil ( FIVE facial oil contains sebum-regulating jojoba and black cumin oil). If you're in a hurry, a short cut works: simply mix both products in the palm of your hand and apply together!
My tip: When choosing your facial care products, don't just look at your current skin condition (blemished skin), but also at your actual skin type (how was your skin when you were 20?).
- Intensive care: Pamper your skin once a week with a soothing and soothing clay mask. Dead skin cells are also gently removed with a gentle enzyme peeling applied two to three times a week. This supports your skin regeneration and ensures a more even complexion.
Do you need help choosing the right care for pimples and acne after stopping the pill? Then get in touch with our natural beautician Sibylle email@example.com !
By the way, you can discover all FIVE skin care products here in the shop !
I wish you all the best!
1 Bagatin, Edileia et al. "Adult female acne: a guide to clinical practice." Anais brasileiros de dermatologia vol. 94.1 (2019): 62-75. doi:10.1590/abd1806-4841.20198203
2 Gupta, Mrinal et al. "Zinc therapy in dermatology: a review." Dermatology research and practice vol. 2014 (2014): 709152. doi:10.1155/2014/709152
3 Lee, Young Bok et al. "Potential Role of the Microbiome in Acne: A Comprehensive Review." Journal of clinical medicine vol. 8.7 987. 7 Jul 2019, doi:10.3390/jcm8070987
4 Palmery, M. et al. "Oral contraceptives and changes in nutritional requirements." European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences, 2013; 17: 1804-1813
5 Poli, F et al. "An epidemiological study of acne in female adults: results of a survey conducted in France." Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology: JEADV vol. 15.6 (2001): 541-5. doi:10.1046/j.1468-3083.2001.00357.x
6 Draftsmen, Joshua A et al. "Emerging Issues in Adult Female Acne." The Journal of clinical and aesthetic dermatology vol. 10.1 (2017): 37-46.