[i am not a professional, so please do not take my advice/experience too seriously! this is purely what i went through and how i handled it, so please consult a doctor or professional before making any serious lifestyle changes.]
something i don’t really talk about much is my struggle with acne. it is indeed a big part of my life, so i’d like to speak up about it more, starting with this post. it is very commonplace in this world, yet can cause inordinate amounts of shame and insecurity to those who suffer with it. i am here to shed light on you! you are not alone.
i have struggled with acne since i was very young, but it reached its worst point beginning in ninth grade up until now. i have a lot of scarring on my cheeks and forehead; a lot of indentation and pigment issues. that is the majority of where my acne problem now lies (as opposed to the incessant breakouts i used to be dealing with), but i still do have a few breakouts here and there.
around september, my esthetician recommended that i try birth control. i was pretty hesitant to doing this at first. i am a fan of natural, holistic healing as far as practicable and safe. fears of big, scary pharmaceuticals swarmed throughout my mind, yet i did make the decision to try going on the birth control pill as so many people have told me how it does wonders in curing acne. thinking it would be a much better solution than taking accutane, which i have been opposed to trying since first hearing about it, so i gave it a shot. within about the first few weeks of being on this pill, i experienced severe loss of appetite (which scared me quite a bit, because vegans need to eat more calories than others due to the caloric dilution of plants), intense mood changes, and an overall state of sadness. i was saturated in negative thoughts of insecurity, doubt, and fear. without knowing it, this pill was causing me to rapidly spiral into a place that i never hoped to see again: self-loathing.
around december, i finally pieced together my loss of appetite combined with onset negative mindedness. my skin was no different than just a few months back.
a few days before january, i was setting intentions for the new year. one of mine is to take my b-12 complex and my d-13 spray regularly (i’m so bad at staying on top of taking it!). as i was writing this down, i thought about my nightly ritual of taking the pill, drinking water, and worrying about what that next dose of chemicals would do to my body. biting my lip, i decided to do some research on the pill.
i was horrified to discover that most birth control pills contain lactose, a dairy derivative, and even premarin, which is made from horse urine. the birth control pill is also tested on animals, which i had not realized (side note- medicinal animal testing is very different from cosmetic animal testing; although i am praying for alternatives to it to be found, there are cases in which it is necessary– although still not necessarily morally right. while i am in no way okay with cosmetic animal testing, i do see how medicinal animal testing is needed as we currently do not have a definitive alternative). furthermore, the birth control i took, beyaz, was manufactured by a company called bayer, which made the gas used to kill concentration camp prisoners in the holocaust. while currently buying from bayer does not contribute to the holocaust, it is contributing to a company that did support the holocaust. personally, i am not okay with that even though this has no effect on people today. also thinking about how conniving and greedy the pharmaceutical industry is known for being, i reconsidered starting a new pill cycle in january.
i reassessed its affects on my body, which were that it warped my perception of myself, took away my appetite, and left my skin just as broken out as it had been before i started the pill. then thinking about all of the negatives to the pill/its industry itself, i made the decision to stop taking it after i finished that month’s cycle.
stopping taking birth control was one of the best decisions i have ever made. immediately after going off of it, all of my friends told me that i was beginning to seem more like myself (most of them didn’t even know i was taking the pill). my life began to fill with more light — i was happier, hungrier, and healthier then than i ever was taking the pill. negative thoughts left my mind in a hurry as my eyes were beginning to hold stars within them again.
as for my skin, i am still working to clear it up, but it is better now than it was in january. i have found natural and cruelty-free products to use that are doing wonders for me and i have begun to eat a bit better (less junk foods) and drink more water.
my final thoughts are that the birth control pill is certainly not for everyone. for those who use them as a necessity (ex. for birth control itself, for a disease, etc), then i think it is absolutely acceptable if they agree with their doctors that it is the completely right choice for them. yet, for those considering using it for acne, i would steer them in a different direction. like accutane, birth control is damaging to the body to some degree. it is a hormone-altering drug, which means that changes in your hormones will result in changes in your thoughts and behaviors. while birth control does clear up the acne of some, it does not clear up the acne of all. there are natural and more kind ways to heal your skin than harsh chemicals; this is something i believe in and see every day of my life. what i do know is that birth control put me in a dark place while not even helping my skin. even if it did clear up my skin, i probably would have gone off of it even then because it was so damaging to my psyche. birth control is not for everyone; some people, like me, do not respond well to it. i tried it for three months and was in no way satisfied with the results it produced, and in stopping taking the pill, i was able to reach a place of harmony that i had lost while being on it.
if you are struggling with taking birth control, please consider my story. always do what feels right for you, not what others necessarily recommend (myself included!). you have so many options!