Skin update – Taking birth control pills for acne

It’s already been over three months, that I started to take birth control pills again for my acne. I thought it would be a good time to show you the results.

Looking at these photos and my skin, it just goes to show how slow it is to treat acne. No treatment is quick – especially when the acne is as bad as it was with me. It takes a long time for the skin to heal properly and it takes a lot of patience. However, the pills have been working for me, as I had anticipated, since I’ve already gone through this once as a teenager.

The pills I take are called Cypretyl and they are the strongest one (I think). They are especially made for acne.

hormonal acne birth control pills
Hormonal acne. This was my skin in November – it was even worse than in this photo, but this is the best photo I could find. Then this is my skin now, in February.

So how does my skin look and feel now?

Well, most of the acne is gone. I say most, because there are still some stubborn ones. Not so much on my face anymore – and the ones on my neck are also kind of fading – but the part that is healing the slowest is my back. But it is healing too. And no, I don’t have any pictures of my back acne, I haven’t documented it here. I trust that showing you my bare face is bad enough. Haha.

Obviously for these photos I got a new zit on my face, but believe me when I say that it’s rare nowadays. Even though my face might not look like it in the photos, it’s so smooth. Honestly, I still shiver when I think about my acne at it’s worst: it was super painful and applying makeup or lotions or removing makeup or touching my face in any other way hurt.

acne scars
My skin now, after taking birth control pills for three months. Active acne is gone (besides a few zits) and all that’s left is scarring, which is fading pretty quickly.

My acne scarring is fading pretty quickly too. I was a bit scared about that part. At first the scars were so red and I could feel that my skin was uneven on those areas. But day by day they have faded and it’s getting easier and easier to hide them with makeup. And as I said, my skin feels smooth. So I’m pretty optimistic that I will have a good-looking skin by Summer. This year I need to be even more careful with sunscreen though  – my skin has gone through a lot and is sensitive to sun damage right now.

The pills don’t only take away acne. They also adjust the skin type a bit. My skin is not as oily as it has been before, it’s more of a dry combination skin now, especially since the weather has been super cold here. Treating my new skin is fun – it can take more lotion and it doesn’t break out as easily as it did before.birth control pills for acne

Altogether I can say that I am super happy with my skin. Making the decision to start taking birth control pills again was hard and I had some regrets in the beginning, but right now I feel like it was the right decision. I had forgotten how it feels to have my skin back. Even though I worked on my confidence during acne, I still feel more confident now that it’s not that visible and startling anymore. And one of the things I am super happy about, is that I also have found my love of makeup again. Having acne I just didn’t even feel like wearing anything on my face and nothing seemed to look good on me. And taking makeup photos for blog posts was torture – when I tried to take photos of my makeup the only thing taking all the attention in the photos was my red, bumpy acne. Well, no more.

I am so relieved, happy and feeling a lot more like myself.

This journey has also affected my skin care routine, and treating those acne scars is super important – so I will update you about that soon.

Any other acne victories? Or are you still searching for the cure? 
However it is – I hope your skin gets better too and I send you a lot of hugs, because I know how hard it can be to battle acne.

Battling acne with food?

acne and food

Coming publicly “out” about my acne, I’ve gotten a lot of advice. A lot of guestions. And a lot of tips. Also, having acne and wanting to get rid of it, I always read posts about it, hoping to learn something new.

But here’s the thing. It feels like there’s not much to learn really. Because everything I read is controversial. Especially about diet and food.

A healthy diet has some impact on your skin as well as in your whole body, mind and soul.

It’s obvious for me – I’ve always noticed the connection between food and my body and my mind. Now a healthy diet can mean different things to different people – for me it means eating vegetarian food with mainly fresh ingredients, drinking lots of water and avoiding sugar or sugary treats. I’ve eaten vegetarian food since I was nine years old. Sure, I’ve also included some not-so-healthy options to my diet, but it’s still always been quite balanced.

That’s why I had some trouble with my diet during last Summer. I’m not so sure I believed in it. I avoided dairy products as well as wheat. I cut down on bread and pasta – all though I never ate that much of those in the first place. I never drink milk for example and the bread that I eat is actually quite healthy, either rye or oats (Finnish bread is quite different than what is sold worldwide).

acne and food my experience

Certain foods in diet – the cause for acne?

I just can’t believe, not really, that a pizza here or there is the reason for acne. Not for me, or for anyone else. What I’m saying is, that a healthy diet may help acne, but it doesn’t cure it, sadly.

However during Summer I cut down dairy and wheat, after hearing that they were causing some people acne. I was a bit desperate and wanted to try everything. But I had some issues with the theory of those being the cause for my acne. Actually two:

One: Being on the pill, I never had skin issues. I was eating the same way as I was always eating, not avoiding dairy or wheat – or anything really. The problems began after quitting the pills, which supports the idea that my acne is strictly hormonal and has nothing to do with what I eat (I actually was right and wrote another post about it (click!).

Two: I was once vegan for over a year, and naturally I didn’t eat any dairy products then. When I slowly took dairy products back to my diet, I did not see any change.

Dairy-free and wheat-free diet – did it affect my skin?

Nevertheless, I’m happy I tried the whole wheat-free and dairy-free diet for about four months. Now I have some experience and I don’t have to scratch my head anymore and wonder, if the cheese in my fridge is a devil to my skin. To sum up my experiences, I would say this: I did not see a difference in my skin. What did improve my skin were skincare products and medication.

However – while I was on a holiday and eating lots of dairy, wheat (and sugar)- my acne seemed to get more inflamed. Then again there’s the travelling aspect of it. When I’m travelling I always seem to break out a little.

So maybe if I ate a lot of dairy and wheat, I would see it in my skin. But when they are just a one part of my diet, there’s not really a difference. The same goes to an unhealthy diet – a longer period of  pizza-eating sure shows in the skin as well as in the body and in the mind.

Last, but not least, I need to point out something, that comes out whenever diet and acne are talked about.

Acne is a skin condition, a disease.

People misuse the word acne a lot. Sure there are different types of acne, but it’s typical to see a post about acne, when it’s actually just impure skin.

The same applies to every skincare tip out there actually – whether it’s “curing acne with coconut oil” or “battling acne with apple cider vinegar”. I’m so sick and tired of reading these articles about acne, when actually it’s just an impure skin and the person never suffered from acne in the first place. Usually after I ask follow-up questions about these arguments, the person admits, that it wasn’t really acne he/she was talking about.

And then there’s the problem, that we are all individuals and we have our own experience of our wellbeing and the health of our skin. And when it comes to diet, there’s this:

does diet affect acne

You could be anywhere on the spectrum.

I’ve heard of some unique cases, where someone has cured active acne by diet changes. Though I must say I don’t know anyone, that I could be certain of. There’s this one girl, who started to suffer from acne again (after first ‘curing’ it), no matter the diet. And then there’s obviously others, who pay a zero attention to what they eat, and their skin is perfect. What’s frustrating and annoying, is that we are all unique in this way too. You could be anywhere on the spectrum.

Personally – I know stress has a bigger impact on my skin than nutrition. And stressing about food causes more stress. The effect on my skin is just not that big, that it would be worth it to start to limit my diet.

Oh – and if you’re new here – my skin is currently doing really well and almost all the acne is gone, since I started to take birth control pills again. Just wanted to get back to this subject, since it’s something I’ve been battling with a lot during the last year.

Do you personally know anyone who’ve battled acne with food? Or do you have your own experiences?
I’d love to hear about everything, in-depth, honestly. Like how bad was your acne and how big of a difference you saw with your diet and acne?

I also found an interesting article, that explains why certain ingredients could affect acne – but how we still don’t have enough research to say for sure:

Diet and acne

acne and diet