3 Medications That Can Cause Acne

While acne is most common among teenagers, it can also develop in response to certain medications. Regardless of the cause, however, treatment is usually the same. If you notice a change in your skin condition while taking medication, see your physician. Here are three medication that may be responsible for your acne:


Androgens are hormones that are usually prescribed in the treatment of endometriosis and severe fibrocystic breast disease. Women who take androgens can experience lower levels of circulating estrogen and a rise in serum testosterone. This can result in oily skin, which may promote acne.

If you develop acne as a result of taking hormonal preparations, see your healthcare provider. Androgen-related acne is usually dose dependent, so if your physician decreases your dosage, your acne may improve or even completely resolve. It may take weeks before you see an improvement, however, because it takes time for your estrogen and testosterone levels to normalize. 

Oral Contraceptives

Birth control pills, or oral contraceptives, can also increase the risk of acne. Like androgen medications, birth control pills can cause hormones to fluctuate wildly, affecting the condition of your skin. Cystic acne can develop in some women who take birth control pills, and when this occurs, a dermatologist needs to be consulted who can recommend appropriate acne solutions.

Cystic acne causes red, inflamed cysts on the face, which can become sensitive or even painful. If this condition is not properly treated, an infection can develop. Although oral contraceptives are often implicated in the development of various skin conditions, certain women actually see an improvement in their complexions when taking birth control pills. 


Diuretics, or "water pills" are used in the management of high blood pressure and edema, or swelling. These medications cause increased urination, which can lead to dehydration. When you become dehydrated, your skin may become dry, irritated, and itchy. When your skin becomes too dry, it may be more susceptible to infectious pathogens that can invade your pores.

If this occurs, you might be at a heightened risk for acne or infection. Never stop taking your diuretics, even if you notice changes in your skin. Doing so may cause a dangerous elevation in your blood pressure, which can increase your risk of a cardiac event. 

If you develop acne or other skin conditions as a result of the above medications, see your health care provider who can determine which acne solutions are best for you. The sooner treatment is implemented, the less likely you are to experience permanent skin damage or scarring. To find out more, speak with a business like Heibel Dermatology.