Popular Drugs And Medications That Cause Acne

Did you know that certain medications that cause acne? If you didn't, don't worry, people who aren't experts in skin care tend to know it.
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List Of Drugs And Medications That Can Cause Acne
Corticosteroids, lithium, anticonvulsants, barbiturates, androgenic steroids, DHEA, and bromides or iodides can cause acne or acne-like outbreaks.

If you have breakouts, and have difficulty getting rid of acne, you already know that no one thing can cause it or make you more likely to break out.

Indeed, acne is partly caused by genes, so if your parents had acne, you’re more likely to get them too. It’s also linked to changes in hormone levels, like those that happen during puberty.

But there are also things in the environment and how people live that can cause acne and make breakouts and flare-ups worse. Prescription drugs are one of these.

There are several drugs and medications that cause acne or acne-like eruptions. If you just started a new prescription and have noticed that your acne is getting worse, it could be because of the medicine. Keep reading to learn more.

Recreational Drugs that can cause Acne


There’s not much evidence that smoking weed causes acne. But some people with acne may find that smoking marijuana worsens or makes it go away. Acne can be caused by testosterone levels, behavior changes, and how long it takes for the skin to heal. All of these things are linked to smoking weed.


Cocaine abuse leads to acne because it stops the skin from regenerating by lowering the amount of oxygen in the blood and causing dead skin cells to build up.

Another side effect of using cocaine or crack cocaine is that it dries the skin. This makes acne worse because the skin can’t heal itself as well.

Acne caused by cocaine can also be caused by not getting enough or the right kind of food.

People who use cocaine tend to eat less because it makes them feel full. This makes it easier for cocaine users to lose weight, which means their skin can’t get the nutrients it needs to heal.

Oils, dead skin, and other organic matter build up on the skin’s surface if it can’t get rid of and replace the top layer of skin cells. This clogs the pores of the skin, which leads to acne.

Acne caused by cocaine isn’t permanent, though. The first step to getting healthy skin again is to stop using cocaine and get help for your addiction.

Other lotions, scrubs, natural vitamins, and other skin medicines can help fix the damage that coke use has done to the skin.


Methamphetamine, also called crystal meth or meth, can cause face sores that can be seen. They usually happen because meth makes a person scratch and pick at their skin, but the drug’s toxic effects can also cause them. The skin may look blotchy or have spots like acne or a rash.


Steroid acne has many of the same signs as regular acne, especially pimples. But in this case, the cause is using steroids. Right now, no one knows why steroids can cause acne.

Steroids given by a doctor and steroids used for bodybuilding can make it more likely that a person will get acne. Using steroids can also make you more likely to get other skin conditions.


Bromine can also get into the brain’s nerves and cause problems. It changes how neurotransmitters work, leading to emotional issues like depression, psychosis, anxiety, and mood changes. Bromine can also cause severe skin problems, such as nodule-like acne rash, dryness, and itching.

Prescription Medications That Cause Acne

Lithium carbonate

Lithium is a drug often used to treat bipolar disorder, but you might not be ready for its harmful effects on your skin. Up to one-third of people who take lithium will find that the drug gives them acne or pimples.

These breakouts can happen on the face, around the hairline, and even on the arms and legs. But, unlike regular teenage acne, the spots that show up don’t usually have whiteheads or blackheads.

Doctors aren’t sure why lithium causes acne to last for a long time, but some think it depends on how neutrophils work in the body. White blood cells called neutrophils fight off infections. When you take lithium, many neutrophils move from your bloodstream to your skin, where they can cause inflammation and make pimples more likely.

Thyroid medication

Thiourea and Thiouracil are two thyroid medicines that are known to cause acne. These medicines stimulate the thyroid gland when a person has low thyroid function.


This medicine can cause severe reactions on the skin. Check with your doctor immediately if this medicine gives you blistering, peeling, or loosening skin, red skin lesions, severe acne or a skin rash, skin sores or ulcers, fever, or chills.


This agent, a derivative of 17-alpha-ethinyl testosterone, has been said to have weak androgenic effects. Still, most people don’t realize that danazol’s androgenic side effects, especially acne and seborrhea, happen often and may need to be treated quickly.

Hormonal medications

In general, hormonal birth control pills are a good way for some women to treat their acne. Using the pill to treat acne has been a common, FDA-approved practice for decades. Why does it work?

As we’ve already said, all women need androgens for their overall health, which includes bone and muscle growth. However, when they have too much androgen in their blood, their skin gets too oily, their pores get clogged, and they get acne.


One of the most surprising things about phentermine is that it can cause acne.

Most doctors say phentermine doesn’t cause acne, but people who take it still say they get pimples.

A recent poll showed that about 4% of people who used phentermine to lose weight said they had phentermine acne at some point during their weight loss journey.

Dozens of people in phentermine support groups who say they got acne or had it get worse while taking this drug back up this statistic. When they talk about it, they usually say it looks like big, red pimples on the jawline and chin. Some people also get acne on other parts of their face or bodies when they use phentermine.

ADHD medications

When you take ADHD medicines like Adderall, your skin may break out in acne. Also, you might pick at your skin, which can cause sores you pick at and worsen. This could be because of the hallucinations that come from taking stimulants.

What If You Need To Take One Of The Above Drugs?

If your doctor tells you you must take something that can cause whiteheads, blackheads, or pimples, please listen to them and take medicine. At that point, we recommend taking care of every other factor that could cause acne:

Your diet can have a significant effect on your skin. Following the “clear skin diet,” as we call it, can help reduce the chance of getting severe acne.

Some minor changes to how you live can also help you fight acne vulgaris. Acne can also worsen if you don’t get enough sleep, use the wrong detergent, or have too much stress.

As was already said, birth control can have good and bad effects on your skin if you have acne.

How to treat acne caused by medication

If you think your acne might be caused by or made worse by your medication, you shouldn’t stop taking it or change the amount you take without first talking to your doctor.

You may take a different type of medicine (like another birth control pill), or you can change your dosage without risking your health. It’s also possible that your side effects will go away after a few weeks or months of taking your medicine and your acne will improve.

Aside from that, your doctor may be able to suggest some short-term treatments to help you deal with your acne.


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