What really helps against impure skin and acne after stopping the pill? And above all: how long does it take until your skin finally improves? One thing in advance: Even though pimples in adulthood are often ignored, you are not alone with this problem. We'll now take a closer look at why hormones play a big role in acne after stopping the pill and what you can do effectively to finally have good skin again. Let's go!
Getting rid of acne after the pill: 4 tips that really help now
Acne after stopping the pill: definition & causes
Let's start with how pimples actually arise. This is due to an interaction of two factors : Firstly, the sebaceous glands produce more skin oil than necessary. Secondly, dead skin cells are not shed quickly enough. This mixture of old cells and sebum collects in the exits of the sebaceous glands - the pores.
And we know what follows: clogged pores = pimples.
Our equation doesn’t stop there, however. The clogged sebaceous glands are 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 this have to do with stopping the pill?
The short answer is: how much skin oil the sebaceous glands produce depends largely on our hormones . And they get really messed up both by taking the pill and by stopping it. For the detailed answer, let's go back a bit now.
What role do hormones play in acne after stopping the pill?
The fact is: “Real” acne actually 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 oil 6 .
- Many birth control pills contain synthetic estrogen and progestin, which inhibit testosterone production.
- This antiandrogenic effect of certain pill preparations reduces the skin's sebum production and thus leads to an improved complexion for many women - while taking them.
- However, if you stop taking the pill, your body is suddenly on its own again. He therefore needs time to find his hormonal balance again.
- During this transition phase (which usually lasts about 2 to 6 months) there may be a relative excess of testosterone. With the well-known side effects: impure skin or even acne.
Acne or “just” a few pimples? These are the differences!
We all know it: there is no such thing as completely flawless skin (even if it looks completely different on Instagram). In the filterless reality, we all struggle with impurities from time to time. But: When do you talk about acne when you have impure skin?
“True” acne is an inflammatory disease of the skin , more specifically the sebaceous glands. It doesn't just stop at one or two pimples.
The following degrees of severity of acne are distinguished:
- Mild acne (acne comedonica): In contrast to other forms of acne, symptoms of inflammation only occur sporadically. You can recognize mild acne by oily facial skin and a shiny T-zone in which many blackheads (= comedones - hence the name) appear.
- Moderately severe acne (acne papulopustulosa): More nodules, more pus pimples and unfortunately also more inflammation characterize this form of acne. In addition to the face, the shoulders, chest and neckline are also often affected.
- Severe acne (acne conglobata): In severe forms of acne, the facial skin is constantly covered in pustules (aka pimples), blackheads and papules that become inflamed and just plain painful. Because scarring can occur, especially with severe acne, be sure to seek medical advice in this case.
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Getting rid of pimples and acne after taking the pill: Does your diet have anything to do with it?
That is actually very likely . More and more studies are pointing to a connection between consuming 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, etc. cause blood sugar and insulin levels to rise. This in turn triggers the 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 factor IGF-1 in the body and also promote increased production of skin fat.
🥬 If you use potatoes and legumes instead, By integrating fruits 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 hormonal balance and thus the skin balance often returns to normal within a few months of stopping the pill.
We'll now tell you what you can do if you want to avoid pimples and acne from the start after stopping the pill or get rid of existing impurities. Spoiler: Your skin needs help from the inside AND outside.
1. Reduce your stress levels
Do you feel the same? In stressful or emotionally demanding phases, your skin often goes crazy. According to a French study , stress is a trigger for acne in one in two women 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 additionally triggered.
☝️ What you can do: Unfortunately, stress triggers cannot be easily turned off. Instead, try to find ways to integrate small relaxation rituals like yoga or meditation into your everyday life to wind down.
2. Ensure healthy intestinal 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 that fulfill many important functions for our immune system and ward off harmful invaders from outside. However, taking the pill for years, as well as stress and an unbalanced diet, can seriously disrupt and change the balance of these microorganisms.
Studies have shown, for example, that the composition of the skin and intestinal microbiome in acne patients is different 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. You can naturally support your intestinal and skin health with probiotic foods such as sauerkraut, kombucha and pickles.
3. Give your body the nutrients it needs
Years of contraception with the birth control pill leads to a lack of nutrients and minerals in many women 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 anti-inflammatory effects. 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 complete blood count is definitely a good idea. This way you can find out whether you have a nutrient deficiency and counteract it with a balanced diet and/or with the help of nutritional supplements.
4. Choose gentle and effective skin care
Used long-term, with the right skincare you can alleviate many symptoms of acne after stopping the pill .
But be careful: In dermatology, retinoids are often used in various forms to treat acne. 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 balance of the skin. In this way you are laying the foundation for well-balanced skin that will not get out of track in the future. This is what your acne skin care routine might look like after you stop taking the pill:
- Cleaning: The key word here is “balance”. On the one hand, thorough cleaning is essential, especially for acne and pimples. On the other hand, you should not overstress your skin barrier with aggressive facial cleansers. As the first step in your daily skincare routine, we recommend our mild FIVE make-up remover , which you should use with the oil cleansing method.
- Facial care for acne after stopping the pill: Minimalism is also the order of the day here. Apply a hydrating serum morning and evening after cleansing. Do you already know our FIVE facial serum with hyaluronic acid, glycerin and rose water? Then nourish your skin with a nourishing facial oil (the FIVE facial oil contains sebum-regulating jojoba and black cumin oil). If you're in a hurry, a short cut also works: simply mix both products in the palm of your hand and apply together! My tip: When choosing your facial care, don't just consider your current skin condition (impure skin), but also your actual skin type (what was your skin like when you were 20?).
- Intensive care: Pamper your skin once a week with a soothing and calming clay mask. A gentle enzyme peeling applied two to three times a week also gently removes dead skin cells. 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 contact our natural beautician Sibylle firstname.lastname@example.org !
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. July 7, 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 Zeichner, Joshua A et al. “Emerging Issues in Adult Female Acne.” The Journal of clinical and aesthetic dermatology vol. 10.1 (2017): 37-46.