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A 36-year-old female asked:

Do the birth control pills that improve girls' acne also help decrease their body hair?

3 doctor answers16 doctors weighed in
Dr. David Finke
Obstetrics and Gynecology 16 years experience
Yes...read on.: The point of ocp's to prevent acne and unwanted hair growth is to decrease the circulating levels of testosterone in your body. Birth control pills decrease free testosterone by increasing liver production of a hormone that binds up testosterone. Unwanted hair that is already there won't likely improve, but new unwanted hair growth should be prevented. Acne should also decrease after 2-3 month.
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
Dr. Frank Pinto
Dermatology 37 years experience
Possibly: Excess facial or body hair (hirsuitism) in women is caused by over-stimulation of the hair follicles by testosterone. As dr. Finke correctly points out, oral contraceptives help in acne or hirsuitism by decreasing the level of free testosterone. This effect can be further enhanced by the addition of another anti-testosterone drug called spironolactone.
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
Dr. Frank Pinto
Dermatology 37 years experience
But...: Medical therapy to prevent new hair growth will not eliminate hair that is already present. Depending on the color and thickness of the hair these can be removed using lasers or electrolysis. There is also a prescription cream called vaniqa that can slow the rate of hair growth but does not actually remove it.
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
Dr. Luciann Hruza
Dermatology 34 years experience
Birth control pills will not stop or treat normal hair growth. But if hormonal problems such as Polycytic Ovarian Syndrome are causing excessive hair growth they may help.
Dec 21, 2011
Dr. Marsha Davis
Internal Medicine 29 years experience
Spronolactone in high doses twice a day will slow hair growth but not take the hair away. Oral contraceptives will help the acne but not the hair.
Jun 16, 2012
Last updated Sep 28, 2016

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