Going Off Birth Control? Here’s How To Support Your Skin

Skin Condition 101

Going Off Birth Control? Here’s How To Support Your Skin

By Hanna Yowell

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If you’re reading this, chances are you’re considering going off of the birth control pill; maybe you’ve already begun the process. You’ll want to work with your health care practitioner to make sure this is a good choice for you, and so know how to handle any potential side effects.

A few of these potential side effects may affect your skin, commonly “post-pill acne.” Oral contraceptives (i.e. the birth control pill) are known to suppress acne; basically, the pill decreases the production of sebum-producing hormones. So when you stop taking contraceptives, your body is getting used to producing its own hormones again (free from this external influence), creating a ripe environment for acne development. Esthetician and content creator Simedar Jackson wrote an excellent explainer about her experience going off the pill and how she’s been dealing with “hormone withdrawal acne." We chatted with Simedar to learn about what she wished she would’ve known before going off the pill and more:

Heyday: What are the best ingredients to incorporate for this condition?

Simedar: "Humectants — these are all the ingredients that are going to bind water to the skin, like hyaluronic acid, glycerin, sodium PCA. Your skin is likely going to be drier [after going off the pill]. Hydration is good for everyone, but especially if you're dealing with acne. Hydrated skin is going to lead to less inflammation.” 

Heyday product reco: Eminence Stone Crop Hydrating Mist has glycerin to deeply nourish, heal, and moisturize.

"On the topic of inflammation, centella asiatica, green tea extract, chamomile, and oatmeal are all amazing ingredients when it comes to anti-inflammation. The breakouts I’m experiencing post-birth control have been much more inflamed. Rather than being blackheads or whiteheads, they’re painful, inflamed pustules or cysts.

Heyday product reco: Dermalogica MultiVitamin Masque with oat extract + green tea leaf extract to soothe and strengthen irritated skin while speeding healing.

H: Any hero products to incorporate?

S: “Something that’s been helpful for me is a cleanser that has a resurfacing agent in it. When we’re talking about acne and breakouts, we’re also talking about bacteria, so you want to be killing the bacteria without over-treating the skin. When treating acne or hyperpigmentation, it’s essential to find an active cleanser that doesn't dry you out, but kills bacteria and removes makeup/SPF."

Heyday product reco: Naturopathica Colloidal Silver & Salicylic Acid Acne Clearing Cleanser to fight breakouts from the past, present, and future.

“Something I didn’t expect [going off of birth control] was dryness — which you might experience because your estrogen levels are fluctuating. My skin has been much drier than it was when I was on birth control, so I’ve had to make up for that by really focusing on hydration. This means layering serums and toners, along with heavier moisturizers.”

Heyday product reco: Josh Rosebrook Hydration Boost Concentrate to instantly plump, rejuvenate, and hydrate skin.

Heyday product reco: Tata Harper Water-Lock Moisturizer to help retain skin's moisture levels while boosting antioxidant levels to protect from environmental damage.

“The best course of action is keeping your skincare routine consistent. I would also recommend looking into retinol or retinoid — it’s good for so many things especially chronic acne.”

Heyday product reco: Mara Evening Primrose + Green Tea Algae Retinol Face Oil to significantly boost cell renewal and supercharge skin clarity.

Editor's Note: For those who are going off the pill and planning to get pregnant (retinol products are not recommended for folks who are pregnant/breast-feeding), or simply want to target spots individually, try a sulfur-based spot treatment instead.

Heyday product reco: Indie Lee Banish Solution to heal breakouts overnight.

Follow Simedar at @simedarjackson and check out her company Skin Folks for virtual consultations and more skincare insights.

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