Hormonal Contraceptives and Dermatology

Natalie M. Williams; Michael Randolph; Ali Rajabi-Estarabadi; Jonette Keri; Antonella Tosti


Am J Clin Dermatol. 2021;22(1):69-80. 

In This Article


Given the role of hormones in normal skin physiology and many dermatologic conditions, it is not surprising that the field of dermatology has witnessed both adverse and beneficial effects of hormonal contraceptives. The literature suggests that progesterone-only methods, such as implants and hormonal IUDs, tend to trigger or worsen many conditions, including acne, hirsutism, alopecia, and even rosacea. Therefore, it is worthwhile to obtain detailed medication and contraceptive histories on patients with these conditions. There is sufficient evidence that hormonal contraceptives, particularly COCs and vaginal rings, effectively treat acne and hirsutism. While there are less data to support the role of hormonal contraceptives in other dermatologic disorders, they demonstrate potential in improving AGA and HS. As contraceptives and hormonal therapies continue to advance and become more widely used, it is important for dermatologists to understand their mechanisms and dermatologic effects given the intricate interplay between hormones and the skin.