I want to use birth control pills to get better skin and lighter periods, not for sex. Is that a bad idea?

Nope, that’s not a bad idea at all!  Many young women choose to use birth control pills for these exact reasons. You’re right that birth control pills contain hormones that can regulate the period, often making it lighter and less crampy. And some pill brands, like Ortho Tricyclen, have actually been approved by the FDA to treat acne! To learn more about why pills can help, see this article from the Mayo Clinic.

Your first step is to make an appointment at Teen Clinic or your family doctor. There are many different types of pills, containing different combinations of hormones, and a medical professional will be able to prescribe a pill that fits your health history and meets your needs.  Once you’re on the pill, be sure to take it at the same time every day for maximum effectiveness. And remember that if you do become sexually active, it’s important to use a condom every time to prevent sexually transmitted infections. Good luck!