Does Oxycodone (Codeine) or Oxycontin cause acne?

Codeine is a prescription medication used to treat moderate to severe pain.

Please tell us about your experience with Codeine and acne. Be accurate and honest. Thanks.

37 Replies to “Does Oxycodone (Codeine) or Oxycontin cause acne?”

    1. I think Hydro does cause acne. I am 52 years old and I feel like I am going through a second puberty. I HATE this! But I hate having back pain more. I am washing my face and then patting alcohol on the zits and then applying antibiotic ointment on the zits. It seems to be getting better, time will tell. I wish everyone to be pain and zit free!!!

      1. Hi Concetta Duncan,
        I’m 46 never had acne problem I searched. same as all people you will get the odd one sometimes, but now 2weeks now it’s 4weeks it’s getting worse they are getting bigger after starting this drug my face and head have broken out with quite large acne, it looks disgusting. Yes I also require heavy duty pain pills or I can not function. This drug is useless anyway does not work for me but I am not going over what they say max is I think I am just going to stop taking it so constant extreme pain great. if anyone can help what is an alternative legal different pain medicine. I’m not sure of those that say yes sleep fine now fine I do not sleep until pass out

  1. I landed in the hospital with severe back pain ending up in surgery a few days later. I did spend several days laying down and not a lot of showers. Long story short, even 2 weeks after being up and around and back to daily showering, I still have more pimples on my back than stars in the sky and a lot more than normal on my face as well. I am still on 2-3 tabs a day of Oxycodone for pain control. Is this the root cause? I can’t say, just an observation. My Mom told me as a teenager I would outgrow pimples. I am now 42, still waiting for them to go away!

    1. I absolutely think it does. I’ve been taking it for a couple years straight, take more than the prescribed amount (that’s what it takes now), and am wrestling with horrible breakouts for about 2 years. It sucks to go in public, I can’t model until they go away, I am sick without them, and I, too, am 42. Nightmare.

      1. Hi Sondra-from-the-year-2012! WOW–I can’t really believe that I am ONLY figuring this out now! I’m responding directly to your old post because I too work in a profession where it is IMPERATIVE that my skin looks good. I’m a singer and a “professional” tribute artist, and I’ve recently had to cancel several lucrative gigs because my face broke out so badly it seemed like it was BEYOND acne–huge under-the-skin bumps that hurt like hell and almost looked like tumors. I’ve been feeling like the Oxycontin version of John Merrick, the famed “Elephant Mal, and these atrociously oversized painful eruptions have landed me in the hospital twice, for up to five days, even having to be “isolated” from other patients cuz the docs weren’t quite sure what was going on with me and my vile, gigantic, “weeping” cysts. This is a renowned and prestigious teaching hospital,and at no point did ANY of the Drs or med students mention that there could be a correlation between the psycho SuperSized Acne lumps and Oxycontin! In fact, they gave me Oxycodone because the huge welts and/or lumps hurt so badly that I was apparently crying out in my sleep–terrific for my self-esteem, ha ha. Now I’m not only jawdroppingly hideous, but an annoyance to the poor other patients too! Good God, how embarrassing! I looked so swollen on my cheeks, upper eye socket and jaw/neck that the triage nurse first assumed I must have been beaten, and did I need a social worker to confide in.

        Anyway, didn’t mean to write so much, but I just felt like a kindred spirit to you, having to run around madly attempting to camoflauge my lumps and bumps with shading powder or odd Cousin It-inspired hairdos, all cuz in my line of work my face is literally my MISfortune. I’ve been misdiagnosed as having impetigo, facial edema and shellfish or strawberry allergies (???), or maybe I really DO have all that, but it is CAUSED by the Oxycontin.

        If you get this message, how are you doing? Are there any other routes you or other readers here have tried without merely stopping taking the Oxy? I hate sounding like a whiner, but I do have a chronic pain syndrome, and am practically immoble without my pain meds, like the difference is a flaming 9/ kidney stone/ childbirth level that my meds smother down to an underwater 3 or 4 level, so I feel like I can’t just quit takin’ em.

        Basically, I’m just interested in any other remedies. Not already mentioned here. I have tried:

        Applied Heat
        Applied Ice
        Aspercreme (Yes, on my FACE)
        Visne, LOL!
        Baking Soda and Water
        Silver hydrocolloid (sp?)
        Tea Tree Oil
        Aloe Peel-Off Mask
        Neosporin+Pain Creme
        Sulfur Mask
        Something with Charcoal in it
        All Regular Drugstore Acne Stuff
        Bio Oil
        Burn Bandages
        That Little Ionic Drugstore Device
        CRYING miserably!

        And yes, the welt/lumps are just crying out to be popped, but Temptation is the devil, as it relieves the painful pressure, but tends to then spread the lumps out into the suburbs of my face, y’know?

        Does ANYONE have new weapons? Bueller?

        I’m so scared that choosing to relieve my body pain will forever doom me to looking like I’m pregnant with several babies IN MY BIG FACE!!!


        Thanks, Sondra, et al! XOXO
        Sorry we all had to meet this way! Mean people making fun ofBad Skin. Is like one of the llast acceptable prejudices in my opinion–it seriously makes me feel like I have a second disability; people also just assume that you are dirty, or on street drugs. It is SO limiting and confidence-shattering. And I am also in my forties, constantly pissed off that I wear the motlley skin of a sweaty teenage boy. Sure wish this condition qualified me for an adult “Make-A-Wish” arrangement, not to take anything away from Batkid, but how about an adult version of “Two Minutes in the Closet” with Taye Diggs or Ryan Gosling, but we’d have to dim all the lights cuz of my Braille Road Map-py FACE,

        Peace out, Fellow Acne-tivists!


          I used their products. I’ve tried everything from proactiv* made it worse, visited the dermatologist; acne healed temporary and came back when I ran out of the meds.

          I had the worse acne in school in my opinion… had at least 90 pimples on my face before for years. The face wash is what I’ve used every morning and night. Once a week I would do a aspirin mask.

          I did this for 5-6 months and now i would get 2-5 pimples here and there….

          The cause of my acne from years of observation was eating greasy food, drinking or eating dairy, masturbating, not washing my face in the morning, drugs like xanax, etc.

          Diet, allergies, and sleeping plays a factor as well. I hope you were able to find something that works for you!

        2. Hi Stassi,
          I’m having this same issue and I’m mortified to go in public! Did you ever find a remedy???
          Thanks for any input you can give me.

        3. I have the worst issue with my skin and severe acne ever since I a drug dealer ran a red light while he was high, trying to light a cigarette, make a phone call at the same time. My pelvis was crushed and I pregnant and that caused me not to heal properly and have been in constant severe pain ever since. I use fentynal patches and my skin is awful. There is cystic acne, deep scaring, and I have had several bouts with extremely bad staph infection over past decade. I can say that one of the many things I have used it is pretty helpful is honey. It antibacterial, natural, you can use as much as you want, when ever you want, it wont dry your skin out, and if you put the honey on your face then use green tea bags you have steeped in hot water on top of the honey you already have on your skin it can also help shrink swelling and inflammation. Its not perfect but it feels nice and soothing as well as makes the skin look better and you can use it as much and as often as you want or need.

        4. Ive been on oxycodone for many years due to neck and back injuries and surgeries and pain……don’t feel alone I have those welps and things under my skin the break outs it’s ungodly I believe it is the medication but sorry I don’t have an answer so wish I did because I hate to go out in public….I look like I have leprosy or something yikes

    2. Exactly I have a deformaty and arthritis in my back so I take 2 tablets daily but am breaking out severly right now I have 6 on my face and 1 on my belly and that’s the only drug I take so just don’t know.

  2. It did for me. Within 12 hours of taking one 5-325MG tablet of Oxycodone / Acetaminophen at night to alleviate back pain while sleeping, I started breaking out. After the second night my forehead down to my temples was covered with pimples. The pimples had no head but would turn into blisters within a couple of days.

    The outbreak was probably more like what measles or mumps looks like. I stopped taking the drug after the second night and the pimples stopped. The outbreak was just on my upper face.

    I have taken Acetaminophen on its own before so I believe it must have been the Oxycodone. This is the first time I have had an allergic reaction to any drug.

  3. I had the same thing happen to me . I never had pimples and after the first day of taking oxy I woke up to a lot of pimples on my face only. (It did look like measles.)

    I hope it goes away soon!!!

    1. I used to take 10/325 oxycodone no pimples last month pain dr put me on oxycodone10 hci no Tylenol acetomicen now getting pimples on forehead hairline but can’t stop medication without it can’t get out of bed so I guess ill just deal with the pimples anyone find a cure please let me know good luck all who have this problem

  4. I take oxycodone hcl 5mg tabs. It doesn’t matter how much I am taking, my face breaks out horribly with cystic-like acne. Normally, I do not have acne. I use Proactive to help and I drink a lot of water. It only goes away when the medication is not in my system. I have asked my Dr to give me hydrocodone because I didn’t have the acne when I took that. He refuses to change the script. I’m not sure why. He keeps prescribing the oxy. I take it only if I can’t tolerate the pain.

  5. I just recently started putting two & two together with this acne. That’s not all this medicine has started doing to me. I’ve been experiencing hot flashes,especially at night. I’ve been on this medication for almost 5 years. It wasn’t always this way,in the beginning I had energy,lost weight,didn’t sweat or have any acne issues. Just about 2 years ago it went totally opposite & in high gear. Now I’m sure its because the meds are messing with my hormones. I can’t take one pill without my forehead breaking out. I can’t decide if the pain or the side effects are worse.

  6. I have been having the same breakout problems for what seems like years now! Some times the break outs are worse then other times? This breakout has been the worst ( just went from 10s to 20s) I have a very large lump on my neck and it just drains liquid. Some of the other lumps are not as big and they all drain clear fluids if I squeeze them. They look like spider bites. After I squeeze them they develop a crystal like little rock, like a mini kidney stone, which is so strange? I sure wish they would go away but the reason I have to take meds is worse then having to worry about the ugly breakouts! But any in put would help!

    1. The small piece of sand-like crystals under the skin are called “millia” or “milia”. They are chucks of dead skin that calcify into little balls and get stuck in your pores. Hydrate hydrate hydrate. Stay active. There is no topical solution that can/will make them disappear.

  7. I have sever diabetic neuropathy…for two yrs I was on hydrocodone…it quit working the pain was unbearable. My face never really broke out much…Dr. recently put me on Oxycontin and my face is breaking out on my chin, primarily…it takes forever to heal when it does it leaves a scar. my complexion looks horrible these days. I never broke out like this til i started taking oxy…I still have pain…and the dr will probably increase the oxy…my face will be worse…IDK what to do…the pain…is incredible and crippling…

  8. 47 y/o with the chin and neck breakouts from oxy. Clear liquid drains after I lance. Sometimes I use peroxide, sometimes an acne toner, sometimes caladryl and a medicated cover up. Can’t stop oxy, it’s for pain that’s only going to get worse.
    Takes forever to heal too. Best soap I found is a Shea butter soap but nothing stops it. HATE THIS!

  9. Not only do I break out with acne, but I’ve also developed hard cysts behind my ears and armpits. Nothing is working. The cysts are hard and I’ve gotten to the point of trying to pop them, but can’t. Getting worried

  10. I too just broke out in terrible acne. Small bumps and whiteheads all over my forehead taking related Lortab. I’ve now found the cause. Thankfully I can get off it because I was taking it for surgery. I feel for those trapped in the vicious cycle. I’ve been there. I wanted to suggest topamax as an alternative.. It allowed me to walk again after two herniated disks. It really helps nerve related pain. Just take zinc with it because I suspect it causes a zinc deficiency which can trigger hair loss. On the up side, it reduces appetite and helps with mood and panic attacks too. I’m not a rep really I’m not.I have a love hate relationship with this med but more love these days so I thought I’d pass on some hope.

  11. I am going through exactly what you have described. I have have taken this medication off and on for 15 years to help me through 5 back surgeries. Then just out of nowhere, the achy acne cysts are all over my face, scalp, chest and back. I have tried lortab (Norco, Vicodin), Oxycontin and others and they all just kill my skin. I have talked to several very knowledgeable doctors and when I tell them this affliction is due to a narcotic allergy they just look at me like I’m crazy and then try to explain it away by telling me it is caused by something else. As far as I can tell through my research, it is a nasty case if Nodulocystic Acne. By chance, did of you ever find a dermatologist who gave you a diagnosis and a treatment plan? If so, please share! Thank you so much for sharing your story.

  12. I sustained 2 compressed fractures of the spine, after 2 years of taking oxycodone 10/325 the 325 acetaminophen had messed my liver enzymes so bad. I need the medicine as I am in chronic pain 24/7. My doctor gave me pure oxycodone with no more acetaminophen and I broke out all over my back and my face. Some are big but most of them are small, cystic like clusters. I have never had acne, it’s frustrating because I need the medicine to control the pain. I get hot flashes early in the morning and my skin has gotten really oily. I wash my face more often and use skin toner but it does not seem to help.

  13. I have been taking oxy 5 mg 2-4 times a day for 2 years for ankylosing spondylitis and nerve damage from back surgery. I never had even one pimple all the way through puberty. After 6 months of taking this medication I have been experiencing fierce breakouts all over my neck, chin, cheeks, forehead, even a few in my nose! Its getting worse the longer I have been on it. I feel for all of you it is very uncomfortable and embarrassing. I already hate the stigma that comes with taking the medication but this is awful as well.

  14. I was administered oxycodone in hospital after spinal surgery. I was sent home with more. Ive neen taking for 4 days and my face is covered in bumps. Im 49 and never had acne issues like this. I cant just stop the meds. What does one do?

  15. I dont use Oxy any more because the chemicals were too harsh for my skin. My husband bought me the Citrus Clear products online and I tried them. I’ve used Citrus Clear and instead of acne lasting for DAYS, they go away very quickly. I had one that was gone the next morning. Very surprised at how well this works. … But I’ve never needed to use more than a teeny tiny dab so that may be why.

  16. Hi yes the oxycodone I take causes pimples on my face,back,chest,butt,legs and even some times in my nose. I have a horrible back injury and have to take these meds and I know that they are causing these horrific outbreaks. I don’t know what to do I’m afraid to tell my doctor he might cut me off or cut my meds I am trapped.

  17. Hi
    I believe it does too. I was prescribed OxyContin as a pain killer after hip surgery 11 weeks ago.
    After 3 weeks I had a breakout of spots across my right cheek and despite using anti-spot creams they keep on coming.
    I asked my GP about it but he said he didn’t think it was due to the oxy – but I can’t see what else it can be, I haven’t changed except drinking bucket loads of water to keep hydrated,
    Luckily I am coming off them soon and I certainly hope the spots then will start to disappear. I’ll let you all know.
    Good luck with finding a remedy and hope you’re all soon out of pain.

  18. I ran into the same problem! Was just prescribed oxy for oral surgery and within one day my face began to breakout. 7 new pimples on the left side of my face…some very large. I am acne prone but my face has been clear from other medications. It was out of nowhere.

  19. I too have been texting Oxycontin for severe pinched nerve in my back and I have severe acne all the way up and down my spine and getting worse! When I went off of the medication a while back the acne disappeared and just after taking it for one week that acne is instantly back

  20. I too have been texting Oxycontin for severe pinched nerve in my back and I have severe acne all the way up and down my spine and getting worse! When I went off of the medication a while back the acne disappeared and just after taking it for one week that acne is instantly back… but don’t worry folks once your body has processed those harsh chemicals it will go away. Now… on to my masseuse but not before I flush these last four Oxycontin they’re worthless anyway.

  21. Has anyone found a solution for this? I was on codeine, diazepam and naproxen for 2 weeks from a herniated disc and that’s when a break out occured all over my forehead. I haven’t had this since I was a teenager almost 10 years ago. Have attempted to ‘flush’ this out by drinking around 4 litres of waters a day but it hasn’t had any effect.. I was on these meds about 8 months ago by the way and still in search for a solution – HELP!

  22. Dear all, I take codeine for pain and have bad acne on body and face. I have had it for years (I’m now 56) and like others find it soul destroying. I feel dirty and diseased. Having done much research I’m pretty sure it result of codeine causing constipation and the toxins that result. Having taken steps to relieve constipation I think its improving,

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