Beauty editor Emily Algar knows a thing or two about skincare. As a journalist and influencer for over five years, she’s tried it all and has the bylines to prove it.
But when she went off the contraceptive pill in 2021, Emily found that her skin was breaking out more than ever before. She had to go back to square one and re-learn what her skin needed.
Here, Emily shares her experience with post-pill acne and the products that helped calm her complexion.
You’re A Beauty Editor Which Means That You Often Write About Skincare. Can You Tell Us A Bit About Your Journey With Your Own Skin?
I've always been into beauty... As a teen I had acne, it wasn't severe but it wasn't mild—just enough to knock my self-confidence. I ended up on birth control and my skin cleared up significantly. It was only when I went off years later it that the breakouts returned and I became much more interested in holistic skin health.
Could You Tell Us A Bit About Your Experience With Post-Pill Acne?
Post-pill acne is frustrating but so common—my DMs are proof. Basically, the contraceptive pill works to minimise sebum production and excessive sebum is a huge acne trigger. So if you're genetically pre-disposed to acne, it's likely you'll experience it coming off the pill. The first time I came off the pill it surprised me and I went back on. The second time, I was more prepared and I think that helped.
Are There Any Products That Have Helped You Navigate Your Way Through This?
I haven’t completely cleared my skin and that's fine. Breakouts are so normal.
For me, the biggest impact has been combining topical skincare with holistic modalities. The Beauty Chef CLEAR SKIN™ is incredible for keeping my gut in check. I also love Traditional Chinese Medicine. I recommend it to everyone who is battling with ongoing skin issues or any sort of hormonal imbalances. At-home LED light is another game-changer [as well as] alternating retinol and beta-hydroxy acids.
What We Can Learn From Emily's Experience
Knowing that post-pill acne can occur is already an advantage in itself. Although everyone's experience is different, if you're planning on coming off the pill, you can account for the potential changes you may see in your skin and prepare accordingly.
Skincare can only do so much
While tweaking the use of your topicals can have an impact, it can be just as important to focus on nourishing your skin from the inside. After all, the pill is a hormonal contraceptive and as a result, the changes your skin experiences often stem from within.
Your gut health matters
Gut health is also critical from a hormonal perspective. Not only are oestrogen levels affected by digestion but SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth) is 10 times more prevalent in people with acne. Eating low-GI, anti-inflammatory foods and incorporating probiotics into your diet can provide support for healthy skin.