Lexapro & Acne: Is there a correlation?

Several recent studies have made the case that acne and depression are highly correlated. This makes it hard to gauge whether a drug like Lexapro worsens acne, because the average Lexapro user is more likely to experience acne whether or not he/she takes the drug.

Up to 15% of Lexapro users experience insomnia. Lack of sleep causes acne, as there is a strong correlation between low quality sleep and acne breakouts. Other Lexapro side effects that could cause skin problems are weight gain and indigestion, both indicating a likelihood that your body may not be digesting key nutrients, or that you are eating increasing amounts of high glycemic index junk food, another behavior studies have proven lead to acne.

Do you have experience with Lexapro? If so, please tell us about how it affected your skin, if at all, below.

23 Responses to “Lexapro & Acne: Is there a correlation?”

  1. Niki 30. Aug, 2011 at 9:43 pm #

    I have been using Lexapro for around 5 years now 10mg and have been dealing with facial (mainly chin on right side) breakouts for as long as I can recall shortly after starting the medicine. I never made the connection at the time but I recently ordered ProActive because it is just not stopping. The Proactive is not helping stop the acne outbreak on the chin. About four- five years ago I even had to see the physician for antibiotic because my whole face had broke out. I had never had an episode like that in my life. Recently I increased to 20 mg and my breakouts are worse than before. Per reviewing comments from others on the web, it seems there could be a connection due to the hormone inbalance and what I have experienced. Of course I would rather be on an effective anti-depressant to fight depression but maybe there is different meds that work better in this area (probably have different side effects though!) I plan to discuss with my physician and get his take on it as well.

    • Lisa 16. Aug, 2012 at 6:49 am #

      I have been dealing with the same problem. I have been onLexapro for 6 years, first starting off at 10mg then last year my doc. put me 20mg. At the same time my face have been breaking out with severe cystic acne. I have been on so many anitbiotics for my face and nothing works. The acne has caused severe scarring and made my depression even worse. I am going to ween myself off and see if goes away. I never put the two together! Did you end up changing meds? Did you see a difference?

    • barbara 30. Oct, 2012 at 11:02 pm #

      I started Lexapro 3 days ago and already I’m breaking out!! on my upper lip and chin, suddenly i have cystic breakouts. I can’t believe it as I’m in my 50’s and thought acne was a condition of the past. I’m going to deal with my depression in another way, I have nice skin and and I cant look at myself breaking out at this point in my life. I guess we all react differently, I’m glad I found this site to confirm the cause.I’m quitting now.
      Interesting that most comments reference the right side of the face!

  2. Roxanne 01. Sep, 2011 at 8:57 am #

    My daughter started Lexapro 2 weeks ago and has constant cyst like acne for the same 2 weeks. The breakouts are primarily on the right side of her face.

    On the forest pharmacutical website who is the mfg of Lexapro there are no statements in regard to adverse side effects for Acne or cysts.

  3. Anne 29. Dec, 2011 at 6:10 pm #

    Hi
    I too am on lexapro and since I started i have been getting cyst like acne on my chin. I have not changed my diet and I eat healthy and exercise often. The cysts are causing scarring and are mostly on my right side.
    Ive never before had acne and it’s really depressing me ironically!
    I’m definitely goi g to speak to my doctor about this. But to all who have written here, thanks, at least I know why I have these break outs now, well hopefully
    Take care,
    Anne

  4. Dee 27. Jan, 2012 at 7:00 am #

    I was wondering where my acne was coming from, and I am glad I found this blog to justify my suspicion. I have never battled with acne before, but I started Lexapro a few weeks ago and noticed that my complexion is not as clear. I have two large blemishes on my chin that are unattractive and bothersome to me. I have started ProActive in hopes that it will help. I will just have to battle with the acne because I have tested soo many anti-depressants in my life, and it seems this one is doing the best. My sleep patterns have changed a little as well, an as reading from above that insomnia can cause acne. I hope this will go away soon. Thanks for your testimonies!
    Dee

  5. Michelle 28. Feb, 2012 at 12:41 pm #

    I started taking Lexapo 10mg about 5 weeks ago and ever since I’ve had acne on my back which I have never had in my life. I have always had a little on my face, but nothing that make up can’t cure. My face has gotten a little worse, but nothing I can’t live with. However, the acne on my back is something I am having a hard time dealing with. I’m pretty sure it’s due to Lexapro.

  6. Madison 29. May, 2012 at 6:47 pm #

    I started taking Lexapro about a year ago and occasionally I get cysts on my chin on the right side of my face. I don’t know if this is because of the Lexapro, but I get really irritated when this happens and sometimes obsess over my face.

  7. Jenny 27. Jun, 2012 at 2:49 pm #

    I started taking Lexapro about 3 wks ago at 10 mg per day. After 1 wk upped to 20 mg. My face is horribly broken out. Especially the right side. It hurts. I haven’t had acne for about 12 years! This is freaking me out and really making me sad about my face. I will definently ask my psychiatrist.

  8. Courtney 23. Jul, 2012 at 6:27 am #

    I started using Lexapro about 2.5 weeks ago. I have also noticed that I have painful cyst like acne on my face. It hurts so bad!! I haven’t had acne in about 8 years, so this is definetely something I will have to ask my psychiatrist about. Having acne makes me feel worse about myself!! Ahhh, I need something to help my anxiety and not break my face out… :(

  9. Maryssa 31. Jul, 2012 at 11:50 am #

    I’ve been on lexapro for 5 months and I have been breaking out on my chin very badly!!!! I wasn’t sure why I was….never thought it was the lexapro but it has gotten so bad I’m going to the doctors to see what I can do. Lexapro has helped me not be so depressed but I can’t stand this ance on my face!! I have never not ance in my life. It’s horrible. Wish I never started taking these pills. Not worth it.

  10. Jessica 16. Aug, 2012 at 8:37 am #

    I began taking Lexago at 5mg in June and immediately began noticing a change in my skin. It was oily, where it had always been slightly dry before. Truly gross! Then I began to break out on my chin and above my lip. I stopped taking the medication last week because I was feeling happy and I couldn’t stand the acne. My skin has cleared up already. On the flip side: my depression was in control, now I am depressed again. I’d rather have acne than depression. So I will take the Lexapro and hope that eventually my skin clears up! I don’t think that any face cleaning product will cure this problem as it’s obviously hormonal. Bummer! Lexapro – fix this side effect please. Oh, and not having a sex drive sucks. haha

  11. Alexandra 02. Sep, 2012 at 9:50 pm #

    I started lexapro 2 months ago and my skin is TERRIBLE. I’ve had acne problems for over 6 years, which for me is unbelievable and sad to think about, but it has never been worse. Now everyone on this page knows how lexapro makes you feel and I’m assuming everyone wasn’t exactly overwhelmingly depressed while reading this but I am near tears. I’m not going to cry because there’s not enough emotion available but why is the world so cruel to have made the perfect medicine for me, except my face is AWFUL. I’ve taken lexapro on and off for years and that sounds bad but I’ve just wanted to get off it. But whenever I get off it time goes by and I go back to crying and thinking and over-thinking and thinking more and not being able to sleep at all I have terrible insomnia. Lexapro has cured my every problem but made my skin look absolutely awful. My entire face. And I have the scars like people above. I’m going to talk to a doctor about is asap. I want to take a medicine that will help my depression but the acne is too much. It really is.. it’s not going away. I see a dermatologist for my skin as it is. But I don’t have an appointment for months. I’m not even stressed because the lexapro keeps me calm and carefree. And even when my skin clears up and I feel beautiful I’ll still be crying and alone and struggling with college. Someone submit a cute on this page.

  12. Danalee 14. Nov, 2012 at 7:39 pm #

    I am 33 years old and started taking Lexapro about 2 months ago. I love everything about it. I feel better than I’ve ever felt, but boy have pimples started appearing non-stop around my chin and sides of my lower jaw! I’ve tried multiple face cleansers and toners, never having to use them before. It really sucks because the pimples are larger than I’ve ever had on the occasional break-out, and leave scars. It’s still able to be concealed with make-up, but the scabs that form increase my anxiety because of their texture and cause me to want to pick at them. I hate skin that’s not smooth, so the picking only makes it worse. :-(

  13. Amanda 17. Dec, 2012 at 11:37 am #

    I am 34 years old and started taking 10 mg Lexapro 6 months ago. I have had acne all my life since I’m 12. I took care of it with Accutane and the pill Diane 35 when I was in my teenage years. A year ago, I got another outbreak and started Accutane again. Usually I take 30 mg daily for 3-6 months and I’m clear to go for at least a year. As soon as I started Lexapro, I lost my hair. That is OK for me, I can live with that side effect but 1 month ago, I started having acne and now cysts on each side of my lower jaw. It has been less than a year since I stopped Accutane, and Acne never re-occured to me so fast. Also I never had acne on my lower jaw or body. A week ago, I started breaking out on my back and torso, and I keep scratching them all the time Acne is known to create anxiety and depression; so for me Lexapro is a bummer. I’m now running in circle.

  14. Shelly 05. Jan, 2013 at 9:44 pm #

    I’ve been on Lexapro for 18 days and I am breaking out on my cheeks…not my chin like others mentioned. I am in my early 50’s and have not experience this kind of breakout since I was a teen! I feel Lexapro is working for me but am very upset with these ugly breakouts on my cheeks! Makeup does not cover it. Thinking about going off it and finding another antidepression because my face is getting kindof scary. Ugh!!

  15. Emily 17. Oct, 2013 at 9:51 pm #

    I checked this to see if anyone is having any similar experience to me. I’m on Cipralex (Lexapro) 10 mg. I’ve been on it for almost 2 months now. I have had 2 acne cysts on my chin on the LEFT side. I have never before had experienced any cystic acne. I really hope this doesn’t continue cuz they’re gross and hard to deal with!

  16. Brit 02. Nov, 2013 at 9:40 pm #

    I just started lexapro 3 weeks ago. I am very sensitive to drugs of any type and breakout whenever on something new. I have been having horrible cystic acne, and I definitely sympathize with the person who was referencing feeling the compulsion to pick the scabs. In turn I feel like I am in much more control of my panic and depression but this acne is making feel ugly and not want to go out because of it. I really hope that since I am still adjusting it will go away. Oddly enough my break out is also chin and right face oriented as well. I’m 23 and started at 20mg a day. My side effects have been severe as are all my side effects with all medications. I have had insomnia. Loss of appetite. Weight lose. Lose of concentration. Acne. But feel so much better already and mentally way more stable. I hope the side effects lesson I know that 10mg is the regular starting dose so I guess my side effects are probably dose related.

  17. Bec 14. Jul, 2014 at 1:11 am #

    I’ve been taking 10mg of Lexapro for 4 weeks now and have also broken out along both sides of my chin/jawline. 2 big cystic pimples each side and heaps of little blind bumps primarily on the right side of my face. I haven’t had acne like this for years and from reading the above comments, I truly believe that it’s a result of this medication. Personally I haven’t noticed much of a change mentally so my doctor has suggested I increase it to 20mg but now I’m very hesitant because of the terrible affect it’s having on my skin. One thing that Lexapro has done for me is improve my sleep tenfold. I haven’t slept this well in years.

  18. Haily 14. Jul, 2014 at 8:14 am #

    I am 18 years old and have only been on Lexapro for two weeks now. I have seen a dramatic increase in little white and black heads all over my face, ecspecially my “T zone”. I have been struggling with acne for 6 years now and this year it finally began to clear up until I started using Lexapro; unfortunately, now it is coming back. This past week I have felt much more happy and upbeat (I’m not sure if its a psychological thing or if the drug is actually working already) but I am about to head off to college and the last thing I want is the acne I struggled with for so long to return. But I also don’t want my frequent anxiety attacks and depressive episodes to worsen as well.
    Any suggestions? Considering stoping the medication before it gets too late.

  19. Angela 10. Sep, 2014 at 6:23 pm #

    I started on 20 mgs regular lexapro in college, in 2004, was on that until about 2010..somewhere around that time I believe my health insurance carrier United Health care would no longer cover the regular Lexapro, only the generic stuff called escitalopram, and i believe that is when my skin started breaking out horribly. However, I always had a little acne do I never put two and two together. These days I’m still on 20 mgs of escitalopram, and my skin is the worst it’s been ever. It’s extremely oily throughout the day, so I have to continually blot with toilet paper. While I don’t have much acne on my forehead, I have severe acne on my cheeks, around my jawline, and around my mouth and chin. The cystic acne is mainly on my chin, jawline, and cheeks. The cysts have caused red blemishes all over my face and I have some deep scarring on my right cheek. It makes me really sad to look in the mirror and see those scares. Who would have thought that acne would have caused these scares on a 30 year old…. I could see maybe a pubescent 17 year old, but a 30 year old? This medication is a curse. Not only that but some manufacturer’s of the generic stuff make my brain feel super tingley and foggy headed. I’ve heard that as far as the generic stuff goes, manufactures are only obligated to make each pill 80% of the active ingredients, and the 20% (whatever that may be) are fillers. So whether I’m experiencing this foggy headed ness from less medication, or more gunk fillers, remains to be known. Yes, the acne makes me super sad, but the foggy-headedness/spaceyness makes me feel wayyy more depressed. I wish I could go back to taking regular lexapro, but insurance won’t cover it (those snakey, money hungry bastards) and who has an extra $200 a month lying around to pay for the good stuff? It’s sad but the insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, and doctors are all in bed with each other, pushing drugs that are cheaper to make but are less effective so we have to pay top dollar for stuff that works. I’m sorry to depress everyone. At least we have the Internet so we don’t have to suffer in silence. Thanks for listening. Be well.

  20. Barb 12. Sep, 2014 at 5:40 am #

    My 15 year old daughter started taking Lexapro after her Prozac stopped working for depression and anxiety. Her acne has worsened considerably, and it started just after she started taking the Lexapro. She hates what her face looks like, and she is more self conscious, and I worry that the side-effect will worsen her depression. The acne is primarily on her forehead

  21. Ann 20. Oct, 2014 at 9:10 pm #

    I am in my mid 50’s and have been on lexapro for the last 2 years. My breakouts started on my chin and cheeks …then my entire body. They took a long time to heal. I have decreased the dosage and they have already started to heal. Did this after reading these comments. Will be getting off of this completely….he breakouts stress me out. Suggest you consult your doctor.

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