Paxil & Acne

Paxil is a prescription drug that is used to treat anxiety and depression, two conditions which are highly correlated with acne (check out the studies page of our site). It is not known whether depression causes acne, acne causes depression, or a 3rd factor causes both. Regardless, it is unlikely but not impossible for Paxil to cause acne. However, if you do experience acne while taking Paxil, you should consider that it is likely a by-product of depression / anxiety, and not directly related to Paxil.

Does Paxil correlate with acne in your experience? Please tell us your thoughts.

17 Responses to “Paxil & Acne”

  1. Leigha 15. Apr, 2011 at 1:51 pm #

    Paxil most definitely caused my acne hands down. This Is why I came off of it! From the start I had continuous breakouts of cystic acne. I had always had great clear skin and that all changed with this medication. I took it for 3 years and during this time I changed makeups, new skin care, chemical peels, facials, everything
    That I could to stop the breakouts. Nothing worked so I narrowed it down to the Paxil. I weaned off and within 2 weeks not one breakout! I am now at 3 months and my skin is the exact way it was before this medication! I know for a fact that this medicine destroyed my complexion! It’s not from the stress because now that I am off I am stressed constantly! Paxil ruined my complexion for 3 years and now I will have to continue with my dermatologist to try to get rid of the scarring!!

  2. Cgold 02. Jan, 2012 at 11:10 am #

    Paxil gave e horrible acne. It cleared up about two weeks after I stopped. was on it for six months.

  3. Joanne 09. Feb, 2012 at 12:10 pm #

    Within one week of increasing my dosage of paxil from 20mg to 40mg, I began with a few breakouts. Now three weeks later I am averaging 1-3 new breakouts daily. These breakouts are very cystic like under the skin surface, not a whitehead. I am decreasing back to 20mg and giving it a few weeks to see if there is change, then I will know.

  4. Candi 26. Mar, 2012 at 10:47 pm #

    Yes, Yes, and YES!!! As I was reading the 3 prior posts with my husband, he asked if I had already posted my message. The description and experiences are exactly what I’ve been living for 2-3 years now. I’ve spent a lot of money on creams, soaps, tried this, tried that, changed diet, …everything short of a face-transplant!! I am going to ween myself off of my 20mg/day dose…should probably call my dr too. But why didn’t HE put 2 & 2 together?? I went to him for the acne problem and he put me on heart medication=big FAIL. Will report back soon. And a big THANK YOU to all of you I hope.
    *the end is in site* =D

  5. hogan 14. Apr, 2012 at 9:58 am #

    You all are correct. Disregard the original website post. Cystic is right! Underneath the surface. I have great skin and in the last month or so after going onto a high dose of paxil they start showing up. If you’re on paxil and this sort of sit starts showing up that’s the connection. Talk to your doctor about it. Maybe you can switch meds.

  6. Haley 19. Apr, 2012 at 11:45 pm #

    I have been on Paxil twice and it DEFINITELY causes acne, deep under the skin, can’t pop it kind of acne. And I have not had acne since I was 16 (am 29 now) On my back and chin. 🙁 I hate this because this medication works really well for me and my anxiety. And I am on the lowest dose possible. I don’t break out on paxil till I have been on it for about a year. Have done this two times and at the end of about 10-12 months of being on it I start to break out. 🙁 And since it’s about to be summer and I love my summer dresses looks like I will need to find a new medication, one that doesn’t make me gain weight! Paxil never made me gain, but several others did. Any one with panic disorder on a good medication with minimal side effects? I would love suggestions. Thanks! 🙂

  7. Jasmine 07. Jun, 2012 at 4:02 am #

    “Regardless, it is unlikely but not impossible for Paxil to cause acne.”

    I have had flawless skin my entire life. Its in my genetics to have perfect skin-small pores, glowing, toned skin and acne once or twice a YEAR. EVER SINCE I started Paxil I have the skin of someyone who has been struggling with acne for years. By skin type went from Normal to Oily. Its a universe the difference! I’m gonna get off this evil pill asap. I’m taking it because of the anxiety/depression my BDD causes but this has caused me acne which causes me the anxiety/depression that I’m trying to rid myself off.

    I rather be the saddest/neurotically anxious mofo on the PLANET then ruin my perfect skin with harmful and UNNATURAL substances.

    • Sarah 21. Aug, 2016 at 4:36 pm #

      That last sentence… You are shallow and you’ve got weird priorities then. But I guess that’s your whole problem.

      • Rachel 10. Dec, 2016 at 7:22 pm #

        Sarah really? do you even have anxiety or depression?

  8. Sue 18. Dec, 2012 at 3:31 pm #

    I have Ben taking paxil for 6 years…Lost my perfect skin, but not badly. I have decided to stop paxil and now I have acne. Probably all the crap I am eating, however the more I cut down the worse it is getting. Can’t wait til it is DONE….

  9. Sherrie 12. Dec, 2013 at 4:43 pm #

    I have always wondered whether Paxil is causing my outbreaks. I have bad t-zone outbreaks on my chin and forehead. I have been on Paxil for 8 years and in the beginning it never made me break out but I had noticed that I get more pimples in the area. However I am now taking trazadone and paxil together and I am beginning to think one or the other is exacerbating the acne because they have become so much worse. When I go off paxil it seems like my acne subsides. But is this just my imagination? I never even had acne this bad when I was a teenager…..could it be that I am approaching 30 and my hormones are simply just changing? I cannot go off paxil for good because without it I am quite a state and my anxiety levels soar. I also notice when i come off paxil my appetite gets stronger and I crave salty foods, or weird combos of food.

  10. Sherrie 12. Dec, 2013 at 4:50 pm #

    But in all honesty Paxil has been great for me and even with acne I don;t care I still take it because I am someone who without it will have a major depressive episode which happened in 2004 where I couldnt eat, sleep or do anything for 3 days but cry and want to kill myself cause I was so tired and just wanted to jump out of my body because it was painful….and the docs have told me I will be on it for the rest of my life. I have thought about trying to conquer it with natural ways but when I go off paxil my anxiety is really bad, like puking going out the front door or eating in public places…….nervous. not cool.

  11. Dale 18. Sep, 2014 at 8:29 pm #

    After taking it for about 1 year, I have started getting acne predominantly on my right inner thigh but to some degree, on both my legs. This is a very unusual place as I have never had a problem in my life with anything below the waist. It triggered in my mind that something is very different and wrong. I’ve always attributed it to hypothyroidism and being off on the hormone levels but when tests show my thyroid hormone is spot on, I’m left perplexed by what the real cause could be. For some reason, it came to my mind to check the relationship between acne and paroxetine. I have gone cold turkey (not advisable I know) for 3 days and do not have any withdrawal symptoms to speak of at this point. If I do, I’ll get back on the drug until I can find another alternative drug.

  12. liz 26. Mar, 2015 at 9:11 pm #

    I have been on Paxil for 19yrs and have had break outs the entire time. But yes, as others are saying, the cystic under the skin ones. They wont pop despite extreme pushing/squeezing. I get terrible scars and sores from squeezing. But they ate painful and. V. E. R. Y annoying. I always blamed it on hormones, eating something oily, not cleanimg my skin well enough, etc. But I tried changing my diet and drinking more water, different make up and lotions, but nothing has helped. Now that i have read what others have said, i’m completely convinced the Paxil is the culprit. I am 50 yrs old now and am not menstruating anymore so it can’t be the hormones for crying out loud. The medicine also has made it hard to lose weight. But then again i am on 80mg/day. When i went to tjis dosr about 15yrs ago in 6 weeks i had gained 30 plus pounds! Yikes! But i was pretty non-functional w/o it. Trapped in acne land at this age – it stinks! Btw, i had normal skin and less breakouts as a teenager!

  13. D Tea 29. Mar, 2015 at 6:26 am #

    I am beginning my third week on Paxil, and the acne I was shocked to see appearing on my cheeks within days of starting a 20 mg dosage is becoming more and more pronounced! I have NEVER had pimples on my cheeks until now. Downright depressing! 🙁 Tapering off now.. It was working great for my PTSD and depression, but this is unacceptable.

  14. Kay W 19. Jun, 2015 at 3:08 pm #

    I’m so glad I have seen all these comments. I started taking Paxil 20mg and Biotin vitamins about three months ago and I couldn’t tell which one caused the cystic acne I am experiencing. I never had acne issues…even as a teen. I stopped taking the Biotin because I thought it was causing the breakouts but the acne still persists. I miss my near perfect complexion but Paxil works so well for my anxiety so I wouldn’t dump it just over acne. I’ll be on Paxil for four more months so I will just have to wait to see clear skin again.

  15. shandilynn 27. Aug, 2015 at 12:54 pm #

    Ive only been on paxil for about 10 days and have never had such deep painful pimples its horrible..

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