Does Adderall Causes Acne? Things You Should Know

Adderall is the name of a prescription drug made out of amphetamines and dextroamphetamines. This brand name medicament works by changing the chemical and nervous functions of your central nervous system, helping you treat and manage symptoms such as hyperactivity, attention deficit and impulse control.

Because of these effects, Adderall is often prescribed to treat ADHD, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and even narcolepsy, which is a condition in which the individual falls asleep at random times of the day, often without noticing. The reason why Adderall is prescribed in these cases is thanks to its stimulating capabilities.

Whether you’ve been prescribed Adderall to manage ADHD or Narcolepsy, there’s a good chance you’ve heard that Adderall causes acne but is this true?

 Keep reading to find out.

Are Breakouts Actually Common While on Adderall? 


There are many side effects to Adderall, such as elevated blood pressure, blurry vision, dry mouth, constipation, weight loss, changes in libido, rashes and, yes, even breakouts.

While these breakouts rarely develop into full out acne, they’re a rather common side effect of Adderall that has three important root causes:

  • Increased blood sugar levels.
  • Dry Skin
  • Stress hormones.

As you can see, those are also side effects to the medication so you could say that it’s not that Adderall causes acne but rather than the side effects of Adderall can cause acne.

Breakouts, thus, are a side effect of side effects.

To better understand how Adderall causes breakouts, it’s important to analyze those three causes:

Increased Blood Sugar

This is a somewhat common effect of Adderall and is triggered thanks to the fact that it can make you feel more alert, which is known to make people feel jumpy and on edge.

High blood sugar can cause an inflammatory response in your body, though the intensity of it depends entirely on the individual, and this can lead to clogged pores. If that wasn’t enough, if you already have acne, which is by itself another form of inflammation, so it can be worsened by this prescription medicine.

Even if you don’t have acne, clogged pores mean that your body won’t eliminate grease and waste properly so they can accumulate and, eventually, lead to breakouts.

This inflammation can also cause nerve damage and even affect your digestive tract, causing constipation or diarrhea.

Dry Skin

Contrary to the popular belief, oily skin isn’t the only kind of skin that’s prone to acne.

Dry skin is one of the most common side effects of Adderall use as well as one of the most uncomfortable. The lack of oils in your skin means your skin can’t protect itself from the environment as well as it normally would which can open the door to bacteria, fungi and viruses.

As the lipid layer of your skin weakens, bacteria and viruses can enter your skin more easily which increases the probabilities of developing breakouts or even full-blown acne.

If your skin is particularly sensitive or if your immune system is compromised you can even develop cystic acne, which is one of the hardest forms to treat.

Stress Hormones

Remember what we said in the blood sugar section?

Adderall causes your body to become more alert, often to the point where it feels threatened and acts like it. This means that several stress hormones, such as cortisol, are released through the day.

Cortisol is one of the world’s most well-known acne hormones so it’s involvement in acne related breakouts is unsurprising.

Cortisol can not only elevate your blood sugar levels (which we’ve already covered) but it can also damage the collagen structure of your skin which can lead to weakened barriers (which we’ve also covered) and to slower healing responses, which means that even the mildest forms of breakouts tend to take more time to disappear.

So, Does Taking Adderall Causes Acne? 


It can, but saying Adderall causes acne is rather extremist.

If you want a more accurate statement, Adderall can promote conditions that are known for causing Adderall, but whether it happens to you or not depends on a variety of factors that change from individual to individual.

What Can I Do to Minimize the Risks of Developing Acne? 

There are many things you can do to minimize breakouts when taking Adderall and, as you can imagine, they all involve managing the three side effects we previously mentioned.

  • Meditation is an easy and cheap way of lowering your stress levels and, while ‘meditation’ and ‘AHDH’ might seem like contradicting words, you’ll find that Adderall can actually help you focus on the meditation better so, in a sense, the cause is the solution.
  • Whenever you’re feeling particularly stressed or hyped up try taking slow and deep breaths. This can help lower your cortisol levels which can lead to decreased stress hormones.
  • Drinking more water can help you manage inflammation. Adding lemon juice to it can help reduce inflammation even faster so go ahead and squeeze a couple of lemons in a water bottle and drink it through the day.
  • Shower with cool or warm water, as hot water can irritate dry skin even further.
  • Use daily moisturizer to help increase necessary oils in your skin, which can improve the strength of your skin lipid layer.
  • Avoid aggressive, alcohol-based face washes which can dry your skin even further and cause your body to generate excessive oils in order to compensate.


While the side effects of Adderall can lead to breakouts and even acne, it’s not a sure thing. Some people will develop them and others won’t but there are things you can do to minimize the risks.

Because of this, if Adderall works to manage the symptoms that lead to its prescription then, by all means, keep taking it. Appearances might matter but mental health is way more important and you should do what’s best for you.

Thank you very much for reading! Don’t forget to leave a comment if you found this article useful.

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