Rumors have circulated that adderall causes acne. We all know that adderall is a popular medication for ADHD.We’re not saying these are hoaxes or that they are just exceptions. However, it’s not as easy as just saying that these items cause acne, as though to imply you should avoid them. Those are the things we’ll explore in this analysis whether adderall causes acne.
It stimulates the brain in a way that gives a person mental clarity. Could it be? Well, as is the cause with other supposed causes of acne, such as milk or IUD birth control, the question of causing acne is a bit complicated. There are plenty of stories of people getting acne while using these things, and doctors who can explain it.
Does Adderall Cause Acne?
This question and line of inquiry deserves to be broken down and approached scientifically. The first question is how is acne caused? In general, acne is about imbalances. When your skin is either too oily or too dry, oil called sebum grows bacteria called Propionibacterium acnes, aka, acne. Keeping those things in mind, let’s look at some specific mechanisms by which Adderall causes acne by promoting acne-growing situations.
Adderall Causes Acne because Adderral Causes Cortisol
Cortisol is a steroid hormone that is released during stress. One of the problems suffered by people who need to take Adderall is a feeling of sluggishness which is at the heart of not being able to concentrate. Another is having a mind that darts from one thing to another.
Adderall tends to make a mind feel sharp and focused. One of the ways it does this is through cortisol, which works to produce a fight or flight impulse in the normal mind. In a mind afflicted with ADHD, the hormone is meant to work to take a distracted mind and pull it into focus.
The problem with this is that whatever cortisol might do for one’s conscious thoughts, it wreaks havoc on the system. Specifically, hormones like cortisol travel to receptors in cells that cause sebum, the acne oil. Adrenalfatiguesolution.com tells us that “these receptors can become sensitized to sebum production, which goes into overdrive.” That is how Adderall can cause acne.
Adderall Causes Dry Skin
First off, why could dry skin be bad for acne? Isn’t oil what causes acne, and wouldn’t that mean that dry skin would be good for acne? Well, not so fast, brothers and sisters. Dry skin ultimately leads to oily skin, meaning that if you don’t let your skin get completely dry, you’ll be guarding against acne.
Here’s how it works. When your skin gets too dry to the point of cracking and flaking, your immune system reacts in a big way. It feels that it needs more oil and…you guessed it, produces more of the evil sebum mentioned above. Now you have faced oils galore and it started when Adderall dried out your skin. This shows that Adderall can indeed cause skin problems, Adderall can cause acne.
If you’re not yet convinced of the Ritalin and acne connection, here’s a bit more detail. When the skin flakes and leaves little fragments of dead skin below the surface, you end up with clogged pores.
Dry Skin Clogs Pores, Which Causes Acne
What you really don’t want are clogged pores. That is one of the most direct causes of acne, the point at which the acne gets produced. To make a long story short, you don’t want oil beneath the surface of the skin to get trapped in closed pores. It then oxidizes and turns into pimples. You don’t want excess oil to go to the surface of your face or any other part of your body. But when it does, you can at least blot it out with blotting wipes—it’s much worse for oil to fester in clogged pores.
Another thing to be aware of is that a common side effect of Adderall is constipation. Well, ultimately, constipation can lead to acne. In short, when fecal matter stays inside the body, that ultimately means a build up of estrogen, which in turn means hormonal acne. This is one more way for adderall to cause acne.
So, you’ve now learned the ways that taking Adderall can create physiological conditions associated with acne. We now need to look at how common acne is among Adderall users, how severe it can be, etc. This will let you know if it’s all right to use Adderall if you’re worried about acne.
How Commonly Does Adderall Cause Acne?
A good place to turn for the answer to this question is acneresearch.org. This is a website that links to many reputable studies on acne, touching on any different topics concerning the affliction. One article says says “most of the people we have surveyed find that Adderall makes existing acne worse.” They continue to say that most folks “who never suffer from acne do not begin forming acne simply because they take Adderall.”
Sometimes, the production of sebum isn’t quite enough to form acne on a person who isn’t genetically predisposed to it. However, many people prescribed Adderall are teenagers, who can expect hormonal acne. That complicates matters—in short, if you have very dry or very oily skin in general, you’re probably not a good candidate for being able to use Adderall without the side effect of acne.
There’s also the specific concept of Adderall causing fungal overgrowth. This creates a condition called Candidiasis, meaning an overgrowth of a generally benign fungus called Candida inside of our systems. A sufferer will feel gummed up inside the way one does with a flu and may eventually get migraines, chronic fatigue, etc. But to complicate the matter of Adderall causing acne and all sorts of other problems, this condition, per statistics from May 2017, applies to only 0.07% of the 21,330 Adderall users who reported side effects.
Do Other ADHD Meds Cause Acne?
Adderall acts as a stimulant, and you’ve seen the various ways that it impacts a person for a final result of acne. If other medications have the same positive effects on ADHD, might they have some of the negative side effects, including acne?
Well, first on the medication Concerta. The medical name for the drug is methylphenidate and it indeed is a stimulant. A dose of it is said to last twelve hours. Now, does Concerta bear the guilt of causing acne? Well, stimulants are going to release some cortisol, as we described above. But cortisol doesn’t have to mean acne.
As far as statistics, ehealthme.com, reports that a tiny 0.23% of the people it studied reported acne while using Concerta. Half of those had used the medicine for 2-5 years. So it seems as though you can use Concerta without having to spend a mint on products for acne.
But what about Vyvanse, another well-known ADHD remedy? It is also a central nervous system stimulant, but does Vyvanse cause acne? Well, if a user of Vyvanse suffers side effects of stress or lack of sleep (a possibility with stimulants), that could very well lead to acne, for reasons we describe here. However, that doesn’t mean that statistics show great outbreaks of acne among people who use it. As is the case with Concerta, while acne is a terrible side effect when it happens, it just isn’t statistically common.
You may decide to look to Vyvanse or Concerta as alternatives for adderall if your concern is acne. However, if you are in need of medications for serious conditions, is acne your biggest concern? Does it make sense to consider a side effect the bigger deal than the intended effects of the medication?
Now, if you’re interested in stamping out acne without going off of Adderal, there are definitely steps you can take. As long as you don’t have cystic acne or acne sores from Adderal, you should be able to use drugstore acne products to solve any problems that may arise.
Essential Oils for Acne
One of the things to consider when trying to cure acne—caused by adderall or anything else—is that you don’t want any harsh chemicals to complicate matters. One way to help with this is to use essential oils. These are oils that come from various plants or organic material of any kind. Some examples are rosemary, tea tree, and lavender oil. These oils kill bacteria and stop inflammation and that is how they foil acne. It’s important to use a carrier oil with these—it’s easy to find recipes for using these oils.
Other Products that Help Acne
Antioxidants help kill the bacteria that grow acne, as well as cutting down inflammation. There are a lot of Korean skincare products that include antioxidants, and you can also buy antioxidant serums. As a quick note, there are makeup removers that are made specifically for acne sufferers. If you do your research, you can easily find products of all kinds that are designed to cut down on acne.
Bottom Line on Adderall and Acne
We have described the ways Adderall can work on one’s physiology in a way that leads Adderall to cause acne. The question, though, is how often does it really do so, and how big a deal is it? One can generally conclude that while it seems that Adderall can cause acne in a particular person, that person may have been genetically predisposed to acne.
If you are no longer a teenager and you haven’t been suffering adult-onset acne you should be at little risk for having Adderall causes acne. If you have acne, you can bet that it won’t clear up while you’re using Adderall, and may get worse. However, as we’ve outlined, there are relatively simple remedies to any acne that might sprout up as a result of Adderall use. If these strategies don’t work, you may have to go the route of prescription medications. However, you may decide that some small bouts with acne are a small price to pay for the increased focus and positive impact on your life you will receive from getting some help for ADHD. The choice is yours, but you shouldn’t be paranoid about a huge acne outbreak due to ADHD medication.