Why Am I Getting Post Pill Acne? Nutrient Deficiencies Associated with The Pill

the pure life


Experiencing hormonal acne is really frustrating.

Plenty of my clients experience anxiety with their skin while either on the Pill, transitioning off or while experiencing post-pill symptoms.

  • Why am I experiencing acne?
  • Will I experience acne?
  • Why won’t my acne scars fade?
  • Is it normal if my periods irregular?
  • Why do I feel “off”?

If you’ve found yourself wondering, ‘why am I getting post pill acne‘, we’re diving into how going off the pill may trigger acne. Plus, we’re talking about the nutrient deficiencies associated with the pill that can also lead to acne.

Worrying about post-pill acne is especially common for women who initially went on the pill to clear their skin. You may feel stuck on what to do if you don’t want to be on the pill, but you also don’t want to have acne. This post is here to help you gain the knowledge you need to take the first steps towards clearing your acne.

Why do people experience acne after stopping the Pill?

There could be countless reasons for acne at any point, but here are some of the most common reasons people experience acne after coming off of the Pill.

Why am I getting post pill acne?

Potential reason #1 – Androgen Rebound

When you go off of hormonal birth control, androgen hormones surge. Androgen hormones are a class of hormones that regulate male characteristics and male reproductive activity. Before you get too confused or concerned, androgens are also naturally present in females. It’s not their presence that is concerning, but merely the surge that can happen when coming off of the pill.

Androgens (specifically testosterone) increase the production of sebum (oil) in the skin’s sebaceous glands. This increase in sebum can create inflamed and clogged pores and therefore lead to acne.

Why am I getting post pill acne?

Potential reason #2: Imbalanced Gut Microbiome

You’ve probably heard the word ‘microbiome’ being tossed around a lot, but what is it exactly? The term ‘gut microbiome’ refers to the environment in your gut that houses both good and bad bacteria. Hormonal birth control can negatively affect the gut microbiome. 

How does the gut microbiome affect acne? There are two common ways: 

  • The microbiome plays a role in ensuring the body’s hormones (especially estrogen) are metabolized and eliminated when they are no longer needed. 
  • A healthy microbiome can help ensure the body is absorbing the nutrients from food that are necessary for healthy skin. 

The microbiome plays a role in almost every single bodily function. Since our body is constantly working synergistically, our skin can easily be affected if we are experiencing an inner imbalance. This is why it’s so important to look at your acne from a holistic perspective, to really get to the root cause of your acne!

Why am I getting post pill acne?

Potential reason #3: Your Detox Pathways Aren’t Working Well

Your liver is a key player in your body’s detoxification systems. Among countless other tasks, the liver detoxifies hormones the body no longer needs. A sluggish liver can mean that these hormones remain in the body and accumulate, leading to hormonal imbalances. When this occurs in conjunction with the androgen surge mentioned above, you can see how the body’s hormonal balance can get pretty out of whack.

How does hormonal imbalance lead to acne? Mainly, it comes back to those androgen hormones and their ability to stimulate the production of sebum in the sebaceous glands, creating a more ideal environment for acne.

In addition to the digestive system where the liver comes to play, your body also detoxifies through many other pathways including:

  • the respiratory system
  • the lymphatic system
  • the integumentary system (including the skin, hair and nails)

What’s the best way to stimulate all of these, you might ask? Exercise! You sweat, breathe deeply and move your lymphatic system when you move your body. And if you need more incentive, exercising can also stimulate digestion by stimulating peristalsis, which is the movement of food through the digestive system.

For more on detox, check out this blog post!


Why am I getting post pill acne?

Potential reason #4: You Have Nutrient Deficiencies

Oral contraceptive pills have been associated with the depletion of numerous vitamins and minerals. Many of the nutrients depleted play a role in skin health and therefore their depletion could lead to acne.

How is the birth control pill linked to nutrient deficiencies?

How the pill depletes nutrients remains somewhat unclear, and a different answer is required for each individual nutrient. The main way that the pill is understood to cause nutrient depletion comes back to the microbiome and how the pill can reduce the gut’s ability to absorb nutrients by negatively impacting the gut flora.

Additionally, excess estrogen may specifically deplete magnesium and place a greater burden on the liver to remove the excess estrogen. This can create a greater requirement for detoxification ‘helpers’ like selenium and zinc. The pill has been known to deplete the following nutrients:


  • Functions: Important for many bodily functions such as relaxation, sleep and digestion.
  • Magnesium is important for fighting acne: Since magnesium plays a major role in managing anxiety, if you are deficient in magnesium this could be affecting your stress management. Staying in the “fight or flight” stress mode increases the hormone cortisol, which triggers an increase in sebum production. Excess sebum production can cause inflamed and infected pores which leads to breakouts.

B Vitamins

  • Functions: Important for many bodily functions such as energy, brain health, healthy skin and hair.
  • B Vitamins are important for clearing acne Vitamin B5 helps reduce sebum production and secretion as well as promoting the breakdown of sebum, essentially managing the oil production in your skin. B Vitamins help maintain your skin’s barrier strength, which is vital for keeping skin healthy and glowing. If our skin barrier is not functioning optimally, this is when breakouts can easily occur (especially if you’re using this in conjunction with harsh products!).


  • Functions: Important for many bodily functions such as thyroid function and immune health.
  • Zinc is important for fighting acne: Zinc plays a major role in fighting acne. If you are already experiencing acne, you’ll need to ensure your zinc levels are optimal to help decrease sebum production. Zinc also has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.


  • Functions: Important for many bodily functions such as detoxification, supports healthy hair, skin and nails.
  • Selenium is important for fighting acne: Selenium supports liver detoxification (important for detoxifying excess hormones etc.) and provides anti-inflammatory benefits, amongst others!

How to Clear Post-Pill Acne:

We’ve covered a lot in this post, but we’re still just scratching the surface of post pill acne knowledge. If you’re looking for a place to start, this is certainly it. If you’re looking for more support and a deep dive into everything you need to know to clear your skin post pill, then you might want to consider these two options:

  1. 1:1 Coaching with Sisley – a tailored and customized plan and support for clearing acne
  2. The Acne Protocol – a self paced acne clearing guide with a post-pill protocol

In Conclusion…

When it comes to birth control methods, it’s important to acknowledge that everyone makes the best decision for their individual needs. This knowledge is meant to empower you, not scare you. Wherever you are in your journey with the pill, know that this knowledge can help support your acne clearing journey – whether it is used while on the pill, or off. Take it one step at a time. You’ve got this :)