curls and birth control pills

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I had a similar problem when on the pill... was on Ortho-Lo for 2 years - curls that came and went and were never defineable. My hair also seemed to get quite fine, whereas it used to be rather thick and strong. After moving to the UK, I was put on the POP Cerazette (stupid BMI), which made the curls a bit unreliable - when they were good, they were very good, but when they were bad they went into a pony tail. I also noticed some pretty obvious hair loss with Cerazette. I went off Cerazette for about a year, and my curls came back (though I didn't know to do with them at the time), as did whatever hair I'd lost (though sadly some came back grey - stupid hormonal shifts).

I went back on Cerazette about a year ago, and noticed the same effects - no real change to my curls, but definitely noticed my hair thinning and falling out. I switched to the IUD Mirena (localised hormones) about three months ago and my hair seems already to be shifting back to how it was pre-pill. Definitely thicker, more curl definition - and if anything, it's getting curlier.

Just my 2p.
Wow. i knew it said on the info packet of my generic ortho trycylen that i might experience hair loss, but not a DIFFERENT HAIR TEXTURE!!!

who knows if my hair texture changed since 06
(yes, i've been on birth controls for over 3 years. I'll take shorter periods over longer and painful periods anytime)
Guess what........ WE ARE ALL IGNORANT

HAIR CHALLENGE
ACCEPT PEOPLES HAIR REGARDLESS IF IT'S NATURAL OR CHEMICALLY ALTERED ! that is probable the hardest thing anyone can do
I actually noticed a slight change in my curls when I STOPPED my birth control for a few months.

I had been on OrthoNovum 1/50 from the age of 17 'till about 25. My hair was it's normal curly self, botacelli and some ringlets, even. Then a new doctor switched me down to OrthoNovum 1/35 for the past couple years (I guess the 1/50 is the strongest stuff on the market... designed for people that are on meds that could counter-act the effectiveness of BC). My hair stayed the same, but my skin tended to break out a little more.

Then a few month's ago, my insurance changed, and during that annoying lapse, I just stopped taking it 'till things got sorted out. My skin has gone to hell, and my hair has gone beserko. It's become more unpredictable than anything. It will get oily out of the blue (the day I wash!) or will be ridiculously dry. I thought it was the weather, but my skin has been unpredictable, too! I'm going to start back up on the 1/35 this month, and keep an eye on both my skin and hair... hopefully I can remember to update in a few months....

I wonder if certain types of BC tend to effect things like your hair or skin more than other types?
I would think they would - there are different sorts of synthetic hormones, and each of us reacts to each sort differently (that's why we often have to switch around till we find one that our body is happy with). Example: I LOVED Ortho Tri-Cyclen Lo. My skin loved it. My uterus loved it. My hair loved it (it was thick if not defined curl-wise). That has norgestimate as the progestin and ethynl estradiol as the estrogen. Apparently those synthetic hormones get on well with me. I switched to the POP Cerazette when I moved to the UK, which uses desogestrel as its progestin. This did not get on well with me: I had massive mood swings, my hair started falling out and thinned dramatically, and my skin got almost as bad as it was when I was a teenager - and this was after 9 months of using it! I've since switched to a Mirena, which releases an extremely low dose of levonestrogel progestin locally on the uterus. My skin had a bit of a hiccup as I switched methods, but I've had no ill effects I can attribute to the hormone itself (I also used Levonelle before, which has the same progestin at a much higher dose, with no problems).

Certain BC pills are touted to be 'better' for skin or hair (I seem to remember Yasmin and/or Yaz was advertised as the best for skin), but it all comes down to how well your body reacts to it individually.
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I've tried Yaz and three others- all did disastrous things to not only my hair but my body.
My hair got very brittle on all of them. Yaz (BC specifically targeted to help clear skin) made my skin break out like CRAZY. It looked like I was having a freaking allergic reaction... my entire face was red and inflamed. Needless to say, I got taken off of it immediately.

Now I take a natural progesterone cream which eases my heavy periods a bit... I get it from a company called Arbonne, but there are others. I use it according to these guidelines (the PMS or Heavy Period one):
http://www.nutritionmadesimple.net/p...uidelines.html

It's cleared up my skin, given me more energy, but unfortunately I'm still having horribly heavy periods, so this time I'm going back to the gyno and demanding an ultrasound.
3A~fine texture
Cleanser: GiovanniTTTT, Deva Low Poo
Condish: Deva One C, GiovanniTTTT, GVP Balm
Styler: Deva ArcANGELL, HESMU, AG Mousse Gel
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Hmm, it's interesting that so many have had their curls loosened from the pill...I just went off of Yasmin after being on it for a few years, and I've gone from a 2c/3a to a 2b/2c after being off it for just over a month.
Type 2b/2c, med/coarse, low porosity, medium density

Co-wash: Suave Naturals Tangerine, Live Clean Moisturizing, CJ Daily Fix, GTTT, Tigi MM

Conditioner: Tigi MM, Jessicurl WDT, CJ Curl Rehab, CJ Daily Smoothing, CJ H&B Deep Fix

Deep Treatment: same as rinse out

Leave-in: KCKT or my rinseout

Styling Aids: Alberto/V05 Gel, HETT/HESMU, KCCC

Last edited by Tomorrow Never Knows; 08-09-2009 at 05:52 PM.
I had no idea this could happen! I've been on the pill since age 14 and I'm almost 16 now (my periods were getting so horrible that I was in bed for at least three days each month). That was around the same time my hair started to curl up more again, or a little later, but I don't know if one has to do with the other. I recently switched to a higher dosage but my hair's been improving with CG nevertheless. I'm too scared to stop using the pill right now... oh well.
Thick, mostly 2c with some 3a; fine texture, medium/high porosity, and a very strange curl & wave pattern.

Started CG (properly) as of 6/31/2009.

Cowash | Suave Naturals Ocean Breeze or Juicy Green Apple
Rinse-out | Burt's Bees Super Shiny
Leave-in | Live Clean Intense Moisturizing
Gel | HESMU

Right now: growing hair past shoulder-length, looking to take decent hair picture (my avatar is my first day of CG).
Well, I have to say that it's not *positive* that there's a relationship between the pill and curls, or even hair loss. Many women go on the pill in their teens, when their hormones are sorting themselves out anyway, and the hormonal rebalance that happens after puberty/during adolescence and lasts until the mid-twenties will often cause a change in hair anyway. This is also why a lot of women say that the pill 'causes' weight gain, even though scientifically there is no statistically significant weight gain associated with hormonal contraception (aside from Depo) - these women would be gaining some weight *anyway* during this time period. So keep in mind that this may be a coincidental relationship.

However.

I know, from both anecdotal and personal evidence, that hair changes due to hormonal fluctuations. A lot of curlies only even went curly at puberty - my hair was straight as a board until I was about 11. Taking the pill obviously messes with your natural hormones, and could, in theory, lead to a slight change in curl pattern, though I am not sure how this would actually happen if the curl shape comes from the root and all (that would actually have to change shape). I have several friends who've been pregnant, and while none can comment on curliness, they mention that their hair texture and how thick/thin their hair is changes dramatically during pregnancy, and I suspect this has to do with the developing fetus redirecting protein that would normally help make hair to their own developing body. From my own experience of the pill, certain hormones at certain levels can affect hair loss in particular - this is why it's listed as a possible side effect of birth control pills. You're not likely to notice anything really obvious except on a pill with a considerable progesterone content, from what my GP told me when I complained about hairloss on Cerazette (which is a very high dose POP).

Sorry for the length - just want to be sure that the equation here is not "the pill will change my hair!" but "there is certain anecdotal evidence that hormones can change hair, but this relationship is coincidental at best except at very high dosages."
3b/c. Fine, med-high porosity, normal elasticity. Hair loves oils in summer, protein in winter. Constantly battling the hard water monster.

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American literature PhD student in the UK...
Well, I have to say that it's not *positive* that there's a relationship between the pill and curls, or even hair loss. Many women go on the pill in their teens, when their hormones are sorting themselves out anyway, and the hormonal rebalance that happens after puberty/during adolescence and lasts until the mid-twenties will often cause a change in hair anyway. This is also why a lot of women say that the pill 'causes' weight gain, even though scientifically there is no statistically significant weight gain associated with hormonal contraception (aside from Depo) - these women would be gaining some weight *anyway* during this time period. So keep in mind that this may be a coincidental relationship.

However.

I know, from both anecdotal and personal evidence, that hair changes due to hormonal fluctuations. A lot of curlies only even went curly at puberty - my hair was straight as a board until I was about 11. Taking the pill obviously messes with your natural hormones, and could, in theory, lead to a slight change in curl pattern, though I am not sure how this would actually happen if the curl shape comes from the root and all (that would actually have to change shape). I have several friends who've been pregnant, and while none can comment on curliness, they mention that their hair texture and how thick/thin their hair is changes dramatically during pregnancy, and I suspect this has to do with the developing fetus redirecting protein that would normally help make hair to their own developing body. From my own experience of the pill, certain hormones at certain levels can affect hair loss in particular - this is why it's listed as a possible side effect of birth control pills. You're not likely to notice anything really obvious except on a pill with a considerable progesterone content, from what my GP told me when I complained about hairloss on Cerazette (which is a very high dose POP).

Sorry for the length - just want to be sure that the equation here is not "the pill will change my hair!" but "there is certain anecdotal evidence that hormones can change hair, but this relationship is coincidental at best except at very high dosages."
Originally Posted by oddityofwings
Apparently the pill causes a depletion in vitamin B levels which leads to hair loss. I'm sure it also has a lot to do with hormones, but a regular vitamin B supplement could help.
Fine, very porous 3a
Boycotting all brands owned by L'oreal

The pill causes a depletion of a lot of things unfortunately. Zinc is another one, as is tyrosine, and depleted tyrosine can lead to depression. It's always good to find out what vitamins/minerals/amino acids etc are being depleted by a medication so you can supplement accordingly.
Type 2b/2c, med/coarse, low porosity, medium density

Co-wash: Suave Naturals Tangerine, Live Clean Moisturizing, CJ Daily Fix, GTTT, Tigi MM

Conditioner: Tigi MM, Jessicurl WDT, CJ Curl Rehab, CJ Daily Smoothing, CJ H&B Deep Fix

Deep Treatment: same as rinse out

Leave-in: KCKT or my rinseout

Styling Aids: Alberto/V05 Gel, HETT/HESMU, KCCC
I've been on the pills for 13 years and I have notice lots of shedding and not a thick but I've also been relaxed for 13 years also....
I think it's obvious that hormones can affect your hair, if nothing else but from what everyone says in this post. I too am one of those who have seen changes throughout my life in my hair as hormones have changed. When I was very young (<4) I had very full, well defined ringlets. My parents had my hair cut very short because it was such a pain for them to deal with (I was extremely tender-headed and it tangled badly). After that, I lost my curl definition but always had lots of body that at least served as a good weather predictor! When I hit puberty, the curls regained their definition. My hair stayed very thick, with consistent curls throughout. Anyway, I started on OC's about 4 years ago to balance more hormones and help with acne. I started with the NuvaRing which had no effect on my curls as I can remember. Then I switched to Apri (Desogen) due to price issues. Ever since, my hairloss has drastically increased and my curls have relaxed. My mom even asked me (though I've never complained to her about hairloss) the last time she saw me if I was loosing hair because it looked so much thinner (yikes). I was already considering a switch, so that just reinforced the necessity of it.

So that's my personal experience...but I'm also a third year pharmacy student and can give a little insight into OC's. First, OC's are either progestin-only or progestin-estrogen combinations. There is only one form of estrogen that is included in OC's (there is a prodrug that is metabolized to the same active form in the body as well, but for all intents and purposes it's the same drug), ethinyl estradiol. This only varies in the amount present in the pills. The main variable is the progestin. These vary by amount as well as the androgenic (testosterone-like) effect. These variations allow for people with different needs to find a formulation that suits them best. There are also bicyclic as well as tricyclic formulations where the amounts of both hormones change throughout the month to have a more "natural" cycle. What all of this boils down to is that not only do you want a OC for the obvious birth control or medical reasons, you do want a balance in hormones. This balance is different for everybody and an imbalance could be the reason for many of the side effects you can experience. Additionally, Yaz and Yasmin have an additional drug that's included in it to help with "bloating". This drug serves as a mild diuretic to prevent water retention that many women see as a side effect in PMS. This being said it's pretty normal for you to have to try multiple pills to find the one that suits you in all aspects of your reproductive health (and hair health, etc.). As for when your curls should/could return to their pre-pill status, I would say it could take up to 6 months after discontinueing the pill (sooner for progestin-only OC's). This is about how long it takes for your body to balance out and regulate your hormones again.

Sorry this is long, but hopefully some of this has been helpful!
i've also been wondering if the pill has altered my hair's texture. in college, my hair was super curly (3b almost 3c), and i would say it's closer to 3a now. granted, it's been ten years, and i've been on the pill for about 8, so it's been a gradual change. it's certainly less curly and feels finer (partly because it's nearly straight at the roots). anyone have any ideas of how to counteract whatever effects these hormonal shifts might be having? i was on a tricyclic combo pill for most of these past 8 years, but i switched about two months ago to a POP because i was getting migraines w/visual auras more and more frequently, and the estrogen apparently is a major factor in that. the migraines have stopped (yay!), but i wonder if this switch will have any noticeable impact.

i've just started taking a hair, skin and nails supplement with MSM, and flax seed oil, as well as a b-complex (although the biotin is on the negligible side in this blend- maybe should get a separate supplement). anything else i should incorporate?
Mel- 3b, blonde, normal to fine, chin-length.
i've also been wondering if the pill has altered my hair's texture. in college, my hair was super curly (3b almost 3c), and i would say it's closer to 3a now. granted, it's been ten years, and i've been on the pill for about 8, so it's been a gradual change. it's certainly less curly and feels finer (partly because it's nearly straight at the roots). anyone have any ideas of how to counteract whatever effects these hormonal shifts might be having? i was on a tricyclic combo pill for most of these past 8 years, but i switched about two months ago to a POP because i was getting migraines w/visual auras more and more frequently, and the estrogen apparently is a major factor in that. the migraines have stopped (yay!), but i wonder if this switch will have any noticeable impact.

i've just started taking a hair, skin and nails supplement with MSM, and flax seed oil, as well as a b-complex (although the biotin is on the negligible side in this blend- maybe should get a separate supplement). anything else i should incorporate?
Originally Posted by melle76a
OMG! I get those migraines too now that I am back on Tri-Cyclen! I had no idea that's why.
All Natural Since July 2009
Avatar Pic: HESMU gel over Tresemme Naturals as leave-in 7/25/10. I hadn't had time to SOTC but it got nice and full later (no pic)
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Type: 4a canopy, 3c mid, 3b nape, semi porous, ii
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I've been on NuvaRing for about a year now, and just a few months ago I noticed some drastic hair loss. I've definitely always had SUPER thick hair, so it wasn't anything noticeable (of course for me though, it was a big deal). I had an inkling it might have to do with the hormones, but I'm also 25, so my hair may be changing texture. I read somewhere online that your hair goes through a shift in texture and/or thickness every 5 or 7 years.. dunno how much truth there is to that.

Anyway, my hair has definitely become a bit thinner and more relaxed. It's annoying, because the bottom of my hair is super curly like regular but the top is relaxed with no body, so I end up looking like a poodle. Going to have to talk to my hair dresser about this one.

Thanks for the info guys.. Very helpful!
This is very interesting!! I'll be honest, I didn't read through every post, so sorry if I repeat what everyone's said!
I just went off the pill a week ago - I was originally taking it for my skin, then also for my horrible periods, and THEN also for my menstrual migraines! Well, I've been having massive shedding going on - so much so that I went to 3 doctors for help. After multiple blood tests (more to come!) we found out my testosterone is low. So, I decided to go off the pill (I've been on it for yeaaaaars). I'm hoping this helps. Apparently it will take up to 6 months to really notice. And if my hair gets more curly, I will LOVE that!! I'll just have to stock up on extra strength Midol and migraine medicine. Ugh.
Type: 3a - type 1 on the underside. Thinning.

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Is it possible for bc pills to dry out the hair AND skin? I know it's causing vaginal dryness, but my skin is drier and itchier than usual. My hair is a MESS. I've only been on the pill a month so I didn't attribute the hair changes to it, but is it possible? The skin dryness too?

Fingers crossed, no shedding or thinning issues yet. Just a dry rough texture. I thought it could've been highlighting but I've done that before with no changes like this.
Is it possible for bc pills to dry out the hair AND skin? I know it's causing vaginal dryness, but my skin is drier and itchier than usual. My hair is a MESS. I've only been on the pill a month so I didn't attribute the hair changes to it, but is it possible? The skin dryness too?

Fingers crossed, no shedding or thinning issues yet. Just a dry rough texture. I thought it could've been highlighting but I've done that before with no changes like this.
Originally Posted by TSpangla
Definitely. Yaz caused me such severe dry and broke out skin I had to go off of that particular kind.
If you get really concerned, try a different kind. There are so many dosages and types out there. Make sure you're getting the one that works best for you. Sometimes you don't even have to go into the Gyn, you can just call and speak to the doctor, tell her/him the side effects and they'll switch you over.
3A~fine texture
Cleanser: GiovanniTTTT, Deva Low Poo
Condish: Deva One C, GiovanniTTTT, GVP Balm
Styler: Deva ArcANGELL, HESMU, AG Mousse Gel
Want to try: CJ Gellie, Hand Dry Hair Glove, BRHG
I <3 second day hair
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Banned
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 66
Is it possible for bc pills to dry out the hair AND skin? I know it's causing vaginal dryness, but my skin is drier and itchier than usual. My hair is a MESS. I've only been on the pill a month so I didn't attribute the hair changes to it, but is it possible? The skin dryness too?

Fingers crossed, no shedding or thinning issues yet. Just a dry rough texture. I thought it could've been highlighting but I've done that before with no changes like this.
Originally Posted by TSpangla
Definitely. Yaz caused me such severe dry and broke out skin I had to go off of that particular kind.
If you get really concerned, try a different kind. There are so many dosages and types out there. Make sure you're getting the one that works best for you. Sometimes you don't even have to go into the Gyn, you can just call and speak to the doctor, tell her/him the side effects and they'll switch you over.
Originally Posted by kellygreen49
I'm on a low-dose pill, Loestrin, so I figure it's one of the least likely pills to give me side effects. I think I can deal with the dryness, granted it dosen't get worse. I only plan to be on it 3 mons. max. I'm not on it for birth control - I have long periods with bad cramping and horrid PMS so I'd like to see if pills make a difference, maybe can alter my cycles long-term. I'll probably go off them a month early if this dryness continues and interferes with my sleep. The past few nights I've had a hard time getting to sleep and getting back to sleep when I wake up probably because of this ITCHING.

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