Does Acyclovir cause acne?

If you have used Acyclovir and experienced an increase or decrease in acne, please tell us about it here. Be sure to include as much information as possible, including when you started taking Acyclovir, the dosage, other side effects you experienced, and anything else that might be relevant.

9 Replies to “Does Acyclovir cause acne?”

  1. I am almost positive acyclovir (400mg) is causing my acne.

    I have had oral HSV 1 for years, and recently this past year it got a lot worse. I was prescribed to take 400mg on a daily basis for prevention, and more pills (3-4/ day) at times of high stress.

    After taking the pills for about a week, I noticed some acne appearing, but thought it might be something else. By the end of week 3, it was becoming more apparent to me that this was indeed causing my acne. I stopped taking the preventative dosage. After two weeks, my acne had cleared up.

    Two days ago I was feeling down and stressed and starting taking it at the higher dosage of 3 pills/day. I am breaking out again now.

    I understand stress can cause acne, as well, but during the period I was using acyclovir for prevention, I was not stressed.

    I isolated the other possible causes I could think of (allergies, a new facial cleaner, and wearing a plastic mask while working with some chemicals), and the only remaining factor that I believe could cause the acne is the acyclovir.

    1. I have had herpes 1 since I was a child. Approximately 10 years ago I developed herpes 2 which manifested as a spider bite looking lesion on my upper buttocks. I have taken Acyclovir for years during herpes 2 outbreaks.

      Last December I started developing lesions on my face that were different than any type of acne I have ever had or seen before. Originally I thought these facial lesions were caused by an allergy. Then a friend of mine who has studied homeopathic medicine told me that herpes is aggravated by the eating of chocolate and peanut butter. He said it was common knowledge but I hadn’t heard of this before. None of the doctor’s that I had been treated by had mentioned any association between food and herpes.

      After a few months of these lesions on my face I went to a research dermatologist who felt that the facial lesions I was experiencing that weren’t healing could be herpes related. He prescribed Acyclovir tablets and cream. My insurance didn’t cover the cream and the out of pockets cost was around $400. So I was treated with oral Acyclovir only. The lesions on my face started to heal up on the second day of treatment.

      I have again had another outbreak on my face. I rarely get more than four hours of sleep at night because I have Restless Legs Syndrome. In addition, I have 3 parents with dementia and I am a full time caregiver for one of them, Having parents with dementia is extremely stressful and it only gets worse, So I started another cycle of Acyclovir two days ago. The improvement after only two days is incredible! I will probably need to take Acyclovir everyday for prevention of outbreaks until my stress level is lowered.

      I am thankful that Acyclovir is so effective in treating my facial lesions. These lesions make be feel very self conscious and nothing else helps.

    2. I started using Acyclovir a few Days ago for shingles in my eye I also had acne that just wouldn’t Go Away Taking 800 mg five Times per day the acne and swelling from the acne and the Shingles are now gone

  2. I have often been prescribed Aciclovir tablets 800mg to prevent cold sores which then become imbetigo (Bacteria gets in when the skin is broken I think) Each time I have felt like my acne has improve slightly. The last time I took it I notice a MASSIVE IMPROVEMENT. I was taking tetralysal at the same time so I assumed that that was what was making it better however since finishing my course of aciclovir tablets my acne has started getting worse again despite still taking tetralysal. It started getting worse again within 2 days of finishing taking aciclovir tablets and because I have noticed an improvement in my acne every time I take Aciclovir I really feel that it is this that is helping my acne. Also I did not notice an improvement in my acne whilst on tetralysal UNTIL I started taking the aciclovir.
    I want to know if I can keep taking aciclovir!

  3. I am a 22 year old female. My stress level out of 1-10 would be an 8. I started taking acyclovir for a shingles outbreak October 5th 2017. I was required to take the medicine 5 times a day (I cannot remember the dosage). I started taking the medicine and my mild face acne cleared up and I didn’t have a breakout the whole time I was taking it. Two days after my mediciation ran out I started to form pimples on my chin, like usual.
    My breaks were regular I would get one pop up on my chin or my forehead (regular places) and they would go away and then another would come up about a day after that one would vanish. NOT WITH ACYCLOVIR! I didn’t have pimples for weeks..I asked my doctor to prescribe me it for my acne and she would not
    I do have HSV-1 but have never has any outbreaks orally or gentially.

  4. For me, Acyclovir has done WONDERS for my skin, both acne and facial outbreaks.. I looked in the mirror today and haven’t seen my skin so clear since I was a child. I googled if Acyclovir helps, to verify it is doing something, found this and decided to share my experience.

    I am a 30 yo female who started taking 400mg Acyclovir 2x/day to treat facial herpes 6 weeks ago.
    About a year ago I started getting clusters of what I thought was acne pimples above and corners of my mouth, around my nose, and on my chin. I thought they were pimples because they looked like white heads, but over time realized they were herpes appearing singularly on my face. They arrived, looked, felt, healed and behaved differently from acne I suffer around my menstrual cycle, and never show up on my actual lip. One would come up, then several more within hours, on a raised area of red, painful skin. I would drain them and find no ‘root’ thats found in a pimple. Further they would continue to ‘leak’ until scabbed over, then would flatten, dry out and the scab would fall off. They appeared consistently in the exact same place on my face.
    Part of what confused me was I never got the ‘itch or tingle’ associated with them and they would mature within a half hour-hour. After some time I suspected it may be herpes, and would apply Abreva 2x/day, morning and night to the areas, regardless of outbreak. It didn’t help a wink to prevent or treat what was happening. Further preventative care was daily facial sunscreen use, L-Lyseine 2x/day, little stress, exercise and I eat extremely well. Seriously, abreva is outrageously expensive and does nothing to prevent or treat- with Abreva it took 5-7 days for the sore to leak, scab, dry and heal enough to be concealed.

    It got so bad it was a never ending cycle of outbreaks. Somewhere on my face, there were three-five in the process of forming or healing. They were painful and embarrassing. I went to my doctor and was prescribed Acyclovir 800mg/day, and Zovirax cream. The Acyclovir and Zovirax cream together have completely eliminated outbreaks. I apply Zovirax cream 2x/day on affected areas morning and night regardless of breakout (I’ve had two singular breakouts, a shadow of their former selves since starting treatment. They would scab over in one day and be unnoticeable by day 2). I’ve only been on it for six weeks, but considering the never ending cycle of outbreaks before, this is nothing short of a godsend.

    To tie it all together with acne, I’ve had moderate/severe acne as a teen and young adult. Usually around my cycle I’d break out in cystic/regular acne on my cheeks, chin and nose. I think somewhere along the way I transferred the HSV to open pimples on my face, as the pimple gives HSV an easy avenue into the body. So, over time, my ‘pimples’ became HSV, and aggravated the severity of my acne since I continued to break out in pimples as well on other parts of my face. The telltale sign for HSV, for me, was when I noticed the outbreak formation and the consistency with where the breakouts were appearing. I’m convinced the Acyclovir is helping my acne as well. It is the only thing that I have added to my diet/health regimen, and my skin in clear and free of dark spots from past breakouts. I haven’t felt this confident in years. I’m not sure I’d recommend a antiviral drug like Acyclovir for acne alone, but it is a blessing for people with herpes. The anti-acne property is an added bonus.
    I’m so glad and grateful for this treatment.

    1. I have experienced this same phenomenon. I’ve had moderate to severe acne since I was a kid. After a year with my fiancee i contracted HSV2 and was prescribed acyclovir to treat it. Never really paid attention to how to affected my skin till I started planning the wedding! I experienced my first hsv2 outbreak while planning the financial aspects of my wedding, go figure, and noticed that after I stopped taking my Rx when it all cleared that my face didn’t break out. Then after a couple days the acne began to come back. All in the same places under my chin below my ears. Every 6 hours I noticed something else that would come up, cystic type places that form and burst and don’t heal for awhile! A day and a half ago I decided what if I just take my meds and see what happens, all of my spots on my face are gone. And I didn’t even take my full dosage, I took a fourth! Could this really be what I’m experiencing?!

  5. I’m absolutely positive that Acyclovir has cleared up my acne. I was prescribed Acyclovir daily 800mg for my cold sores and every time I look at my skin daily I’m getting less and less acne. I haven’t changed my nutrition as I eat pretty healthy. So I’m giving Acyclovir credit for clearing out my acne.

  6. I recently went to Corpus Cristy Texas in July 2018 for a family vacation. As soon as we get there of course we head for the beach which was our number one thing to do when we got there. First off the water was dirty but however we live no where near the beach so we wanted to enjoy the nice warm water. Huge mistake my face broke out with a cold soar and my acne got worse than it was. I had maybe about 3 pimples I do break out with 3 or 4 pimples at a time however, this beach made me break out with what looked like boils and a very nasty huge cold soar on my upper lip. My physician prescribed Acyclovir 800mg five times daily and I have never seen my face so clear. As soon as I finished my medication my face stayed clear for about a month and my normal acne returned. 😞

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