IUDs or Intrauterine devices are a popular, convenient, and effective form of birth control. However, you may have heard one downside to this form of contraception- acne! Do IUDs cause acne? Dr. Zenovia delves into the relationship between this contraceptive and the skin’s condition.
IUDs & Acne
The short answer is that yes, IUDs can cause acne. The long answer is that hormonal IUDs cause acne based on their dosage. Hormonal IUDs (Progestin-only contraceptives) come in both higher and lower doses. The Hormonal IUDs Mirena and Liletta have a higher dosage of the progestin, levonorgestrel. Studies show that these Hormonal IUDs can increase acne.
Lower dose hormonal IUDs including Kyleena, Jaydess, and Skyla also contain the progestin, levonorgestrel. These have a lower incidence of acne in comparison to the high-dose IUDs. In general, IUDs with low-dose (progestin) hormones are less acne-causing than higher-dose IUDs.
Note from Dr. Zenovia: You may be more affected if you are already prone to hormonal breakouts.
Only one brand, Paragard, is a nonhormonal copper IUD. Copper IUDs alone do not cause or worsen acne, but some people experience breakouts due to switching from one form of birth control to a copper IUD.
How to deal with IUD Acne
Acne caused by IUDs tends to be located around the chin and jawline region. Developing cystic acne after getting an IUD also points to the contraceptive as the culprit. Sticking to an effective acne-fighting skincare regimen will help prevent and fight against hormonal breakouts. Progestin-only contraceptives increase skin oiliness so for those on a hormonal IUD Dr. Zenovia recommends the following:
- A gentle cleanser to control oil production. Dr. Zenovia’s Bakuchiol Hydrating Cleanser balances the skin’s pH and effectively removes pollutants, excess oil, and makeup while nourishing and hydrating the skin.
- A chemical exfoliator to exfoliate the skin’s dead skin cells and remove excess dirt. Dr. Zenovia’s 10% Glycolic Acne Control Peel Pads are saturated with glycolic and salicylic acids to unclog pores, promote cell renewal, and visibly target acne.
- A retinol to control oil production and unclog the pores. Dr. Zenovia’s Advanced Retinol Night Repair Treatment supports the skin’s natural repair process and reduces the appearance of acne and acne scarring.
- A broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Birth control can exacerbate melasma and hyperpigmentation so protecting your skin from the sun’s harsh rays is critical! Dr. Zenovia’s Vitamin C Brightening Moisturizer provides mineral protection while visibly minimizing dark spots and discoloration with the power of Vitamin C.
Note from Dr. Zenovia: Everyone's skin reacts differently to contraceptives. The best way to determine what's going on with your skin is by booking a consultation with a board-certified dermatologist.