When we hear about a "magical cure" to any beauty ailment, be it wrinkles, enlarged pores, or breakouts, we only have one question: where are the before-and-after photos? Imgur user seventytimes generously shared selfies of her journey through acne treatment with the internet, and the simple treatment she used shocked us: it was your run-of-the-mill birth control pill.
Seventytimes bravely revealed many photos of herself bare-faced, showing off her cystic acne. She explained that much of it was caused by ceasing her use of Prednisone, a powerful corticosteroid that treats everything from lupus and asthma to Crohn's disease. One of the unfortunate side effects of withdrawal is blemishes. "My dermatologist was convinced I'd have to go on Accutane," she said.
For those of you unfamiliar with Accutane, it is the strongest acne medication on the market. Many have seen incredible results from taking this treatment, but it is not without risks. Not only is it severely drying to the skin, but Accutane can cause terrible birth defects, and you must commit to using two forms of contraceptives while taking it. Many women elect to use birth control pills during this time, including Imgur user seventytimes.
"I started the pill a month in advance," she remarked. "Five months later, my skin has never looked better. No Accutane necessary."
According to NYC dermatologist Dr. Neal Schultz, host of DermTV.com and creator of BeautyRx by Dr. Schultz, oral contraceptives decrease your skin's oil production. This is one of the primary causes of acne. While this treatment isn't for everyone, it could certainly be a good option to try before Accutane, which is seen as a "last resort" by many dermatologists due to the severity of its side effects.
Just like Accutane, birth control pills can also have disadvantages, including weight gain, migraines, mood changes, and melasma. No acne treatment is one size fits all, so be sure to ask your doctor what's right for you before starting any new medications.
In addition to taking birth control pills, seventytimes also swore by a few changes to her beauty regimen. She now always washes her face before bed, preferring to cleanse in the shower (she declares her face, neck, and chest get cleaner this way). Once weekly, she uses face masks and switches her pillowcase to a clean, fresh one. She also got all new makeup brushes and cosmetics and uses a special towel exclusively on her face.
These are all excellent variations to her routine. Many people fail to realize how dirty their pillowcase can get — it's not just old makeup remnants and face grease that are soaking into the fabric, but oil from your scalp, hair products, and other blemish-causing bacteria. By purging her beauty stash and starting fresh, she can ensure that all her products are hygienic, too. See more of seventytimes's amazing pictures when you read on.
This post was originally published on May 23, 2016.