Wellbutrin & Acne

Wellbutrin is a prescription drug used to treat anxiety and depression, two conditions which are highly correlated with acne. 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 Wellbutrin to cause acne. If you experience acne while taking Wellbutrin, you should consider that it may be a by-product of depression / anxiety, and not directly related to Wellbutrin.

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

43 Responses to “Wellbutrin & Acne”

  1. Samantha 29. Mar, 2011 at 1:48 pm #

    Are you kidding? Do you have acne? Serious cystic, long-term and/or hereditary? How can you say depression CAUSES acne and not visa versa? Sure because 90% of Americans do not follow these dietary guidelines and many also have depression. But for the 10% who do, this is really hard to listen to.

  2. Lila 25. Apr, 2011 at 4:26 pm #

    I have been on Wellbutrin for a couple months and I’ve never had acne this bad. My entire back is covered with pimples. I also have been getting deep red pimples on my face, mostly my chin and forehead. I have also been through a breakup so that may be the cause, but I’ve been feeling better lately, and the acne doesn’t seem to be clearing up. :( Wellbutrin can cause anxiety in some, so maybe that can increase acne.

    • Dustbunnies 08. Nov, 2012 at 3:59 pm #

      Lila-

      You and I are in the exact same boat then. I am glad I saw your post because it has confirmed it for me. I need to get off this medicine before it scars my face!!!!

      • Emil 04. Jan, 2013 at 9:13 pm #

        I have had mild acne my whole life. I have been on Wellbutrin for almost 5 weeks now and my acne is so severe I could cry for how much my face hurts and has been taken over by clusters of very painful deep cysts. I couldnt stop thinking and going through everything I’ve done in the last month that was different than I normally do. I couldnt think of anything out of the usual. Then I remembered I started taking this anti-depressant. I immediately saught out for answers to find if this is in fact what has been causing it. Now I have come the logical conclusion that it has. This is very unfortunate because this is the first anti-depressant out of 6 others that has actually worked for my depression. I guess I will have to find some other alternative because I can’t live like this anymore. I want my face back, not one that has been taken over by this horrible acne :(

  3. ds24 20. May, 2011 at 1:03 pm #

    I’ve been on zoloft/wellbutrin for the past few months, and the skin on my face (but nowhere else) has erupted into huge cysts that I’d never had problems with before. I wouldn’t say that acne and depression are related in my case. When I was depressed, my skin was clearer than it had ever been. Now that I’m stress-free and stable, it’s worse than ever (though I’ve learned to not let it destroy my self-esteem).

    For the record, I also eat healthy (I log everything onto caloriecount.com to check my nutrition levels, since I’m a vegetarian and on a budget), try to eat organic and pesticide-free produce as often as possible, exercise daily, drink the recommended 8 cups of water a day, sleep regularly at night, wash my face twice daily with gentle cetaphil facewash, wear spf 100 sunscreen and lotion every time I go out, practice yoga and meditate, wash/change my sheets and pillowcases every week, vacuum and dust every week, take a daily mutivitamin supplement along with fish oil and cranberry powder, and keep my hair out of my face as much as possible.

    The only thing that’s change within the past few months (during which my skin broke out) has been the addition of Zoloft (50 mg) and Wellbutrin (150 mg) into my daily life.

    All evidence in my mind points to one of the two being the cause of this otherwise random outbreak, but of course I’m always open to other suggestions (especially since the medication has worked amazingly well for my depression).

    • Anxious Rabbit 28. Sep, 2014 at 8:40 am #

      I have also experienced breakouts since I’ve been on Wellbutrin. It’s not severe, life altering acne but it’s pimples that have been popping up way more than before and the ONLY thing that has changed is the fact that I’ve been on this medication. It seems to be working fairly well except for the fact that I get horrible stomach cramps from it, my anxiety is through the roof around large groups of people and I just ramble on out of nervousness. However, I haven’t been feeling so hopeless in life like I was before. Hoping that the anxiety and mild acne will get better in time because I really have high hopes for this medicine.

  4. lauren 08. Jul, 2011 at 12:00 pm #

    most of my face has broken out within about a week of starting wellbutrin. i’ve been taking paroxatine for depression for years, and had well-managed acne until now. sigh.

    • Mary 05. May, 2014 at 3:07 pm #

      My acne is so bad on the 1st week of using 150 mg of Wellbutrin XL..and I am 60 yrs old!!! How is your acne condition now, please?

  5. Eve 10. Aug, 2011 at 4:13 pm #

    My husband started Wellbutrin recently, and he just upped the dose to 300 mg a day a couple of days ago. Today we saw that he is breaking out like crazy all over, especially on his legs. Definitely think it’s the Wellbutrin as nothing else has really changed.

    Will watch out for hair loss too..

  6. dianalia 15. Jan, 2012 at 7:20 am #

    I have been taking Wellbutrin for only 2 weeks and have started getting cystic acne, mostly on my chin and jawline. I eat properly, get enough rest, etc and wellbutrin is the only change I’ve made. As of today I quit taking it. Sometimes the “cure” is worse than the problem.

  7. dianalia 15. Jan, 2012 at 7:23 am #

    PS – I would stress to any who read my comment, don’t stop any medication without checking with your doctor.

  8. larrya 06. Feb, 2012 at 7:29 am #

    Wellbutrin caused me serious complications with scalp acne and random cysts. I thought it was related to bacteria or something else, but I stopped taking it for a few days because of the way my paychecks/prescription coincided and the acne/cysts cleared up. I’d been taking it for almost a year and been battling with the acne for about 3 months. One time I’m glad I ran out of my meds!

  9. Claire 10. Feb, 2012 at 11:03 pm #

    I have been taking wellbutrin for about two and a half months now, and my skin has never been clearer. I have dealt with acne for as long as I can remember (I’m 23 now). For those of us who have dealt with it, you know it can be a real confidence buster. Sure I’ve gone through phases of harsh acne and light acne… but seriously, it’s never been clear for this long, and the only thing I can think of as the reason is the wellbutrin. I suppose depression and/or anxiety were my major causes for acne. I’m sure it is different for everyone though. I have never been happier with my skin.

    • shirley 06. May, 2012 at 7:12 pm #

      AS SOON AS I STOPPED TAKING MY BUPROPION MY FOREHEAD AND JAW LINE HAVE BAD ACNE. I AM TAKING IT AGAIN, I HOPE THAT WILL DO THE TRICK.

  10. Susie 23. Feb, 2012 at 11:51 am #

    I have been taking Wellbutrin for about 6 months now and my skin has totally erupted on my face and around my bikini area. The worst part is that once the pimples/inflammation starts, they don’t go away. I have had the same outbreaks on my face for almost a month! That is definitely not normal. I used to take Lexapro and never had this problem. Ive struggled with depression my whole life, I am 27 years old now, and before now, my skin was always clear. I definitely attribute these outbreaks to the Wellbutrin.

    • Mary 05. May, 2014 at 3:09 pm #

      I have started Wellbutrin XL 150mg for a week and my cheeks are full of acne! Did your face ever clear up? Thanks!

  11. Alana 13. Mar, 2012 at 8:27 pm #

    I’ve been on Wellbutrin for about two years. I’ve had worsened acne since taking Wellbutrin. The past several months have been really bad. Large cystic acne that doesn’t go away and very painful. With help from my doctor, I am weaning off of Wellbutrin. I have noticed a positive difference in a week, but I have gotten a few new zits. I will post an update when more time passes.

    I was using Proactiv for my acne. It worked wonderfully in the past, but since on Wellburtin, it hasn’t worked at all. I am currently ending Proactiv as well.

  12. Leigh 23. Jun, 2012 at 1:23 am #

    I am in my 40′s, and have been taking Wellbutrin for 3 months to quit smoking. I did quit, 2 weeks after I started the medication. My skin has been clear for decades, aside from a random small spot or two during my menstrual cycle, and they were barely visible.
    About 6 weeks in to taking the medication, I started breaking out. My face, neck, and chest are covered with literally thousands of breakouts. There isn’t one inch not covered. It is just getting worse every day, and I have been using every medication on the market to control it.
    This is definitely casual in my case. I am not taking anything else new. I am weaning off the medication now. It has made me depressed and embarrassed to even go out in public. Stopping smoking was worth it, but that habit is gone forever. Wellbutrin will now be gone forever as well.

    • gail 03. Jun, 2014 at 5:15 pm #

      I’ve always suffered from hormonal cystic acne, if not taking testosterone blockers, birth control, and antibiotics. I also suffer from major depressive disorder. Needless to say, bad breakouts worsen my depression. My skin is always under control if I have a dermatologist taking care of me with medications and topical retinoids. I’m in my thirties, and am a licensed esthetician.

      My psychiatrist put me on 150 Wellbutrin XL for 7 days to increase to 300. Within 24 hours, I got cysts, blackheads, and papules in places I’ve only broken out at my very worst. (Depo-provera birth control shot was the last known medication that triggered my acne.) If a medication affects your adrenals and hormones, it will stimulate acne in chronic hormonal acne sufferers. Wellbutrin affects the hair follicles. Thinning skin, dry skin, and thinning hair are also reported side effects.

      Needless to say, my psychiatrist said to stop after 5 days when the condition continued.

  13. Naomi 31. Jul, 2012 at 1:18 am #

    I started taking Wellbutrin a few months ago and recently I’ve started breaking out like crazy. My cheeks are completely covered with acne and so are my shoulders. I’ve never had this problem before. I’m sure this is caused by the medication. I’m starting to withdraw.

  14. Katherine 02. Aug, 2012 at 9:55 pm #

    I started taking Wellbutrin recently and noticed a wonderful change in my mood. Unfortunately I also noticed that I have random, spontaneous and very painful cystic pimples coming up around my face. I am stopping this.

  15. Dawn 30. Aug, 2012 at 3:56 pm #

    My entire back broke out in horrible acne after being on Wellbutrin for only 2 weeks. I am no longer taking it…..still working on/waiting for back to clear up. makes me more depressed.

    • Tristan 23. Jan, 2014 at 6:22 pm #

      I know this post was a few years ago but I just started taking Wellbutrin two months ago and now am breaking out on my chest which has never happened before and on my back as well. I’ve had problems with acne on my back but not this bad before. It’s only getting worse. I called my doctor to see if I can stop taking it. It’s just making me want to hide my body and I hate the feeling. I was wondering if you remember how long it took for your back to clear up when you stopped taking the medication?

  16. Nicole 12. Nov, 2012 at 3:10 pm #

    I was using paxil which worked very well for my depression, but made me very tiered. I had no pimples before while I was depressed or on paxil. I starting taking wellbutrin instead of paxil and I had breakouts, and it didnt work for my depression. Then later on I went back on paxil, and added wellbutrin to even out the tieredness, thankful this has worked well and I am happy and not tiered. Unfortunately as soon as I added wellbutrin, I started to break out again. I have never had breakouts this bad, and I am 25. I don’t know what to do now. I am assuming it has something to do with the hormones it effects because it can increase your want for sex, etc. Or maybe because it is so stimulating it somehow increases oil production. I have no idea..but I want to be happy, awake and acne free. Maybe I will find something else, or look into getting my hormone levels checked.

    • Mary 05. May, 2014 at 3:12 pm #

      How is your acne now pease? My cheeks are red w/acne after over a week on Wellbutrin XL 150mg…this is embarrassing but I don’t want to give up yet as I am feeling much better mood-wise? Thanks!

  17. Rachael 04. Jan, 2014 at 9:26 am #

    I’m in the same boat as the majority that have left a comment. I started Wellbutrin a few months ago and ever since my back and chest is COVERED with acne. I’ve never had a problem with this before. I may have 1 or 2 pimples pop up during my cycle, but that’s the extent of it. It’s so embarrassing; I’m skipping my high school dance because my adorable, backless dress will not accommodate my scarred back. Now I’m depressed AND have nasty skin.

    I have tried everything from frequently changing sheets, to Noxema, to natural homeopathic remedies– NOTHING WORKS.

  18. Christina 28. Mar, 2014 at 8:56 pm #

    I don’t know if it is my medication because I started on Buprprion in 2009 and I never have had acne on my face my entire life up until last year and I have tried all kinds of acne treatments to help get rid of it and nothing has worked. I don’t know what else to do to help get a clear face again. Just wouldn’t make sense that it would be my medication if it took this long to start bothering my skin?

  19. Judith 11. Apr, 2014 at 9:29 am #

    Hi from Holland, I used Wellbutrin for ADHD/depression, and I must admit I was very pleased with the effects. Felt very good, strong and secure. But my god, I got more pimples than I had during puberty. Big cystic acne, just like someone else mentioned, for a month on the same spot. So of course I got scars, I still have a small ‘hole’ in my cheek… I stopped Wellbutrin and acne cleared very soon. I tried some othe medicine, didn’t work very good, and also I started smoking again and wanted to stop that. So I decided to give Wellbutrin another try. Exactly the same happened: my skin broke out again, same pattern of acne too. Big cystic acne on my chin, cheeks and next to my nose. Too bad, but I’ll never use it again. Unless the pharmacological company does some research into this acne thing and presents a solution. My guess? It’s the rise in dopamin, because dopamin has an interaction thing going on with testosteron. And it’s the testosteron that’s giving you pimples (look at bodybuilders).

  20. Airelle Austin 18. Apr, 2014 at 12:33 am #

    I have been on wellbutrin for almost 3 weeks now. I have dealt with acne since I was 12 years old. But getting older I have seemed to get it under control. Aferer these 3 weeks my face has broken out horribly! Pimples all over my cheeks, forehead, chin, everywhere. I’m seeing my doctor next week, and definitely getting off of this medecine. I don’t recommend wellbrutrin to anyone !

    • Susan 31. Aug, 2014 at 5:01 pm #

      How did you make out?

  21. Melissa 24. Apr, 2014 at 6:38 pm #

    I started taking it about two weeks ago and haven’t had acne like this in years and I used to have bad acne ! What sucks is , it’s the first antidepressant to actually work for me and now I think I need to stop it. Instead of being depressed I am obsessing over my face and it is really effecting my self esteem! It’s a lose lose!

    • Susan 31. Aug, 2014 at 5:00 pm #

      Exactly!

  22. Ellen 02. Jul, 2014 at 11:45 pm #

    I’ve been on Wellbutrin for 9 weeks . At 7 weeks I went up from 150 mg to 300 mg. 10 days later,I have 2 big pimples on my face. I’m 58, and haven’t had a pimple since I was in my 20′s. I immediately suspected Wellbutrin because it was the only thing new that I’ve added.
    Also I’ve been wondering why my hair has felt so flat and thin. I already had thin hair. Now I’m afraid what my hair and face are going to look like.
    But, I’ve lost some weight and am starting to feel better. It would have to get really bad for me to quit the Wellbutrin if it continues to work. My mental health is just way too important.

    • Susan 31. Aug, 2014 at 5:00 pm #

      Thx for your post, sure helped validate this!! Hair and skin

  23. Bob D 21. Jul, 2014 at 8:38 pm #

    Glad I found this site. I started taking Welbutrin 300mg about 5 months ago and absolutely love it. The pulls I take are white and round and look like they are made of plastic. Express Scripts (idiots by the way) “accidently” sent me the 150mg pills instead. The 150′s are oval shaped and sort of pink in color. As soon as I stated taking two of the oval 150 mg pills my face went berserk. I didn’t suspect it was the pills because I had been taking the 300mg version for months with no problems, but I am now 98% convinced it is something in the 150mg version of the med that is breaking me out. I’m thinking they must have something in perhaps the binder or other inert ingredients that my body can’t tolerate. Anyone else have a similar experience?

    • Ronnie 22. Jul, 2014 at 1:36 pm #

      Maybe. I’ve gotten acne from both 150mgs and 300mgs but I recently noticed that the XL version seems to break me out WAY worse than the SR version. Was the one that doesn’t break you out name-brand or generic? I think I’ve always had generic.

      All this aside, wellbutrin stimulates the adrenals so cystic acne can be a side effect no matter what version you’re taking.

  24. vanessa 22. Jul, 2014 at 5:42 am #

    I am 17 and i has severe acne since i was about 11 and i couldent go outside the house without wearing make up. my acne acually started clearing up when i was about 16. i still had breakouts now and then but i had pimples for so long i was used to it and didnt bother me anymore. Now on top of that i had clinical depression and anxiety. My doctor perscribed me Wellbutrin xl and i notice a lot of pimples on my back and chest, as well as painful pimples on my neck and cheeks. i have only been taking it for a week, now the thing is i was also on my period when i first started taking it and i know for a fact i breakout during my period. so im praying that its just left over breakout from my period.!!

  25. Ronnie 22. Jul, 2014 at 1:31 pm #

    I have been on and off various doses of Wellbutrin for more than a few years now for both quitting smoking and depression augmentation of other SSRis or add treatments etc. For the last couple years I’ve been on it more than not (for depression) and all I can say is this drug causes cystic acne FOR SURE. Took me forever to narrow it down but apparently wellbutrin stimulates the adrenals so especially for those who are prone to acne watch out!

    I have used every acne treatment ever and gained an impeccable diet over the years. No joke, I even ended up going on accutane and everything cause I just had no idea it was the wellbutrin. I actually did quit wellbutrin while on the tane and my skin was freaking gorgeous the entire time. It wasn’t even just the absence of cystic acne it was the tone texture firmness etc (old looking pitted skin is another SE welly gives me).

    I couldn’t figure out why I suddenly didn’t have such weathered looking skin anymore (i thought maybe this was a side effect of aging but NO it wasn’t) but soon as I got off tane and went back on wellbutrin: BAM cystic acne just as bad as before and old saggy dried out yet still oily looking skin just like before! That was when I began to suspect…

    The worst part is the longer you’re on the welly the worse it is getting off it. I keep quitting it only to come back cause it seems to be the only antidepressant that doesn’t cause me major side effects–EXCEPTf or the skin issues and let me tell you the skin issues this crap gives me never feel worth it in the end. This stuff makes me feel motivated to get up and go out all ready to conquer the world until I look in the mirror and decide wtf hell no I can’t go anywhere looking like this! That’s why I keep trying to quit it.

    FYI if you suspect welly gives you acne try tapering off and you should get results pretty quick (the zits you already have wont magically go away but you should notice a big difference in how many new ones you get!).

  26. Amy 15. Aug, 2014 at 1:10 pm #

    Well, you all just confirmed it. Wellbutrin is the cause of my painful breakouts. Mostly around my mouth and chin area. I’m 57 and was on Escitalopram, an anti-depressant, along with Clonazepam for the anxiety the Escitalopram caused and was doing well until the Escitalopram caused some sexual dysfunction (couldn’t orgasm) Doc put me on Wellbutrin (generic) and in two weeks the breakouts started.

    Getting off Wellbutrin as fast as I can. I already have severe scars from cystic acne as a young adult.

    I would encourage all to seek your doctors advice on getting off the Wellbutrin and on something else, I know I am.

  27. Susan 31. Aug, 2014 at 4:58 pm #

    I have been on Paxil for 10+ years. I quit smoking 4 mos ago and just tried adding in a tiny amount of buprion with the hopes of dopamine stimulation because after quitting smoking my depression has worsened. I am glad i finally decided to google buprion and acne and found these posts because the acne has been horrible! I’m 47 and premenopausal and I’ve only been taking this small amount of buprion for 2 weeks. One quarter of a 75 mg pill! I’m super sensitive to meds so we started tiny. The cyst like pimples are all along my jawline, chin, forehead, etc. it’s horrible! I even got a period 14 days into my cycle and this was the only new variable. My facial skin feels dry and bumpy. There are a ton of mini pimples on my shoulders and chest. I hate this!! I skipped taking it today and will see if my skin clears up over the next few days. I sure hope so. I feel ugly!

  28. Brittney 11. Sep, 2014 at 9:16 pm #

    No more Wellbutrin !!! I wash my sheets every week , I don’t touch my face , I went vegan,I’ve done so many detoxes while purchasing expensive products… All of this and it’s this freaking medication. I’d rather be sad and pretty than bumpy and upset lol these things hurt and there coming around my cheek and mouth area. I’m so clad I read this post… Thank you all

  29. Tony 24. Sep, 2014 at 8:01 am #

    I’ve tried Bupropion (Wellbutrin XL) a couple of times, and after only a couple of doses can notice my skin is a lot more oily. It’s manageable at 150 mg but just gets out of control at 300 mg. I think it is also worse with instant release, which should give a higher peak level of the drug. I also suspect dopamine is involved. After all, SSRI drugs seem to make my skin less oily and less prone to breakouts, and serotonin has an inhibitory effect on dopamine. An old drug called Amineptine was a potent dopamine booster, and guess what, severe acne was a recorded side effect.

  30. Grace 26. Sep, 2014 at 3:44 pm #

    Hi!
    I’m 53 and this is my second round with Welly. I had horrid cystic acne the first time, which cleared up when I stopped. I have severe depression due to taking accutane (one of a myriad of serious illnesses I suffer from that drug). Unfortunately Well.. is the only anti D that works.

    My doctor now has me on minocycline 100 MG.2x per day. Its helped a bit, I no longer get the giant cysts but I do still get pimples and a ton of blackheads on my nose daily(just like high school).

    My face too is dull and just doesn’t look the same. Until I took W I was known for having beautiful skin, those days are over. Anyone know of a anti D that works for depression that doesn’t ruin skin? Send me an email. Prrivate at aol

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