Prozac & Acne

Prozac 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 Prozac to cause acne. However, if you do experience acne while taking Prozac, you should consider that it is likely a by-product of depression / anxiety, and not directly related to Prozac.

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

46 Replies to “Prozac & Acne”

  1. Seems to me that prozac causes acne. I’ve been dealing with depression for all most al my life, not knowng that’s what was wrong with me! It wasn’t until recently that it was diagnosed and I was put on prozac. Ever since then my face and chest have been breaking out horribly. Its embarassing! Don’t know what to do, consideed coming off the meds, but I feellike they’re finally starting to help me…

    1. i have been on prozac now for two months and it has given me acne
      i normally have beautiful skin

      1. I started taking a low dose of prozac for mild anxiety about 2 months ago, and have terrible acne now it’s awful. I didn’t have it before taking prozac. I stopped prozac today. Will check in with you in a month and let you know how it went

        1. Oh and I should also mention that I had been dealing with mild anxiety for a year prior, and had no acne before starting prozac. So I know my current acne is not caused by anxiety. Also, the prozac helped my anxiety go down, but my acne is worse and worse.

      2. Recently stopped taking it due to a pharmacy issue but ever since then, my usually acne-covered skin has completely cleared up and you wouldn’t ever have guessed I used to struggle with acne.

        1. I’ve been on Prozac for over 15 years…just finished weaning off over the last two months….My skin looks soooo much better!!! I thought it was a coincidence so I researched it, wound up here and read that many people think their bad skin is due to the drug….I’m thinking it is too!!

    2. Im in the exact same boat. Im so devestated about my face and neck but the prozac is helping 3 weeks in. I hope this goes away- im 35 and this is so disappointing- to say the least!

  2. I also think Prozac causes acne as I’ve had depression since I was 15, I’m now 23 and only started taking antidepressants about a year and a half ago, first ones made me feel really odd :S so I asked to try Prozac as my mum told me they worked well for her and to give them a go, before I took them my acne was minimal but when I started on Prozac my acne got really bad. My sister also had the same problem, when on Prozac her acne was awful now she is off them and her skin is clearing up well!

  3. I don’t think Prozac causes acne at all. I have always had really clear skin. I started Prozac when I was 19 and I’ve been on it for 6 years. I’m tapering off now and I’m on the lowest dose since I started (5 mg a day) and at 25 I’m experiencing moderate acne (which to me seems like a lot). I’m fairly certain I can attribute it’s sudden appearance to an increase in my stress and anxiety levels and the way I’ve been coping with them.

  4. I’ve had anxiety and depression all my life, acne since i was teenager, but when i was 30 years old acne had dissappeared however at that age i started to take prozac and since then the acne is back, thinking about stop taking it right now.

  5. I too feel that there is a connection between acne and prozac. I started taking prozac in April of 2011 and had only the occassional break out prior to that. I am now taking another medicine to try to clear up the “hormonal” acne that I seem to have developed. I have never had such bad acne on my chest, chin and back. Starting to taper off of Prozac and the acne is clearing on my chest and back…..hopefully will on my face too. Would love to be able to discontinue the other medication as well.

  6. I have always had a problem with my skin, but as I’ve gotten older I can pretty much keep it in check. I’ll get a couple small bumps every now and then, but I recently started taking Prozac and now I’m getting the big, under your skin, sore bumps all over my face. Not only are they horrendous to look at, they also hurt like Hell! I hope once my body gets used to the drug, this will go away.

    1. I had the same reaction when I started prozac! Big horrible painful ones. I’ve been on prozac for 2 months and my acne steadily gets worse and worse. Acne is different for everyone. But for me, the prozac is making it worse, and my body isn’t getting used to it. I’m stopping it today. Especially after reading all these comments similar to mine!
      Good luck!

  7. I have adult acne. My Prozac dosage was recently increased from 10 mg. to 20 mg. because my Dr. thought it would help my afternoon fatigue and sleepiness. It did help that and as a bonus, I have noticed my acne is all but disappeared! I have also noticed that I no longer have pms or painful cramping. It seems for me that the Prozac clears acne rather than causes it.

  8. I recently got switch from 80mg of cilitlopram to prozac and by the third week of prozac my acne is horrible. Im hoping its an initial reaction that will fade because the prozac is working great for me.

  9. I have recently started taking prozac and my skin is the worse it has ever been.prior to taking this medication I was often told how beautiful my skin was. Now I look like a 13 year old. The meds are working wonders but seriously starting to reconsider them.

  10. I finally stopped taking Prozac (Fluoxetine) because it caused me to have acne. The meds worked great but Jeez did it screw up my skin. I am 38 years old and have never had such acne.

  11. I have adult acne caused by a hormornal imbalance after child birth. I am finally on Prozac to help with that imbalance and have noticed my skin clearing up beautifully. I have struggled ever since having children with my skin and pmdd. I think it just depends on why you take the medication. I had a hormonal balance that it fixed thus clearing up my skin rather than breaking it out.

  12. I am 32 years old, and I am taking 10mg of Prozac once daily, I have never had acne, throughout my life, just the occasional pms pimple, i have been taking the Prozac for 2 months now and I have terrible acne, I feel like a teenager going through puberty. I thought it was online, I’m glad I read this information and now I don’t feel alone

  13. My history of side effects, aka 6 months on various antidepressants.
    1) Paroxetine (paxil) – horrible highs and lows, black outs, shaky- and dizziness, insomnia – lasted on it for a week.
    2) Fluoxatine (prozac) – insane under the skin acne which I never before had, they would clear a tiny bit but wouldn’t go with using a prescribed antibiotic/zinc liquid on them – 3-4 months and got it changed for my gp’s suggestion.
    3) Citalopram (celexa) – acne completely gone within a week, but weight has started to pile up – 2 months and 20 lbs later I switched to…
    4) Fluoxetine (prozac) – and the acne is back, however, the appetite had decreased.
    There is a definite link between prozac and acne without doubt, but we all are different, so do our reactions to the same things. For me prozac works the best in the view of the chemical imbalance in my brain, it’s only my hormones that don’t seem to agree.
    Suggestion: Try and take zinc supplement daily before you go on antibiotics. Not sure what is the link between prozac and zinc, but zinc is surely a cure for acne (google it) so I’d give it a shot. Definitely do a mini-research on the subject first though.

  14. So i am glad i came across this. . was wondering what was making my skin acne flare up so bad after taking Fluoxetine. . im off for almost a month, acne cleared up somewhat but still bumps here n there. . ill find another solution for my anxiety/depression. id rather be dealing with my anxiety then causing more anxiety over my ugly-under-the-skin-pimples.

  15. Prozac has an antibacterial property, particularly against gram positive bacteria. P. Acnes is a gram positive bacteria that causes acne. It sounds as if prozac disturbs the balance of bacteria for those who already have a good balance and clear skin. For those of us already having acne, it actually kills the bad bacteria and clears our skin.

  16. My acne has gotten incredibly bad in just six days of regularly taking prozac. I had mild acne prior to taking this, but only blackheads and occasional small surface blemishes. My blemishes now start deep under my skin and get large and painful very quickly. Every part of my face is erupting but I am going to try to take it for another week and then consult my doctor at my appointment.

  17. 28 year old female. Started prozac a month ago. I haven’t had acne like this since I was a teenager. Quitting the prozac!

  18. I started Prozac in January , had absolutely NO acne and now my face is completely broken out !!! Really think it’s the Prozac :/

  19. I’ve been dealing with depression, anxiety and frequent severe panic attacks for about a year now. I was recently given a prescription for prozac. I took my third pill this morning, having never taken anti-depressants before. Last night I noticed that my chest is breaking out worse than ever. Nothing like this had ever happened before, even in my teens when I did have acne, it was usually on my face or upper back. If it worsens or migrates to another part of my body I’m going to discontinue the medication and seek an alternative. It’s too soon to tell if the prozac has been working for me emotionally yet, but I can at least subdue the panic attacks with Xanax, which I was also prescribed. The panic attacks were the most debilitating for me, the depression I can hang on a while longer until I find the right meds.

  20. I’ve only been on Prozac for 6 days! It’s causing major breakouts like cystic, painful, hard to pop and not only that they stay on my face and stay painful. Prior to taking Prozac, I never had acne like this, mild acne that was/is being treated with clindoxyl gel. Which now doesn’t seem to work on these tough breakouts. Prozac=acne. No doubt about it!

  21. I’m on prozac for almost a year and my face is terrible with acne, it gets better from time to time! But never clear!! I’m 25 and I never had this kinda breaks out not even in my teenage years! I couldnt realize why is this happening to be till today when I read this! Thanks for sharing these. I have to consult with my Dr about this.

  22. Same! I’ve always had clear skin until I started taking Prozac! I’ve only been on it a few months & although my breakouts aren’t terrible they have caused me to scar!! I’ve never ever scarred before:/

  23. I have dealt with depression and anxiety for most of my teenage and adult life. The only time when I had acne was during the 6 months I was on fluoxetine and about 2 months after that. I analyzed everything I was doing in my life during that time, because not even when I was a teenager did I have acne, I thought maybe it was the hair products I was using, or the face wash, but I kept coming to the same conclusion. I hadn’t changed any of those products and I haven’t changed them since. I got off of fluoxetine as a personal decision and although I still struggle with depression from time to time, my skin has cleared out and it is back to normal (minus the scars I got during those months).

  24. I have been on Prozac for 3 days and my skin was clear before this and already have huge breakouts, it is the Prozac!!!!!

  25. I am 27 and I know for a fact that Prozac has caused me to break out like a high school kid ……

    I wanted to start with that because I want people to know that this medicine could have a side effect of acne for you. Prozac has made me get zits in places I’ve NEVER gotten zits before (the skin above my collar bone and my eye lids are a couple examples). I struggled with acne my whole life, but as I’ve gotten older, its gotten better … until I was put on Prozac. At first I started noticing clusters of pimples on my forehead, and I said to myself “okay, this is new and so is my medicine so it could be the medicine BUT maybe my body is just getting use to it and it will go away”. So I stayed on Prozac for a month and a half …. ya …. the acne did not go away. Instead it spread all over my face, on my neck, my shoulders, my back, my butt … everywhere!

    I’m thinking one reason someone might be reading this blog is because they are about to start Prozac, and the sad truth is (to whoever is reading this) you will have NO IDEA how this medicine will effect you until you try it yourself. Your psychiatrist can’t tell you “if you take this medicine, you will break out with acne” … and this is why my heart goes out to people like myself, struggling with anxiety or depression. Our chemical disorders are still so hard to diagnose and treat. It’s like each doctor is playing an educated guessing game … “here try this pill … oh that gave you horrible dreams and you cant sleep? Well then here try this pill … oh you have acne all over your body? Well then try this pill ….” ????? what kind of science/health practice is this???? Everyone’s experience/journey is different, but mine has been really rough … by the end of this, I might be able to tell people what side effect I had for every pill out there! All I can hope is that I find one pill that works.

  26. I’m so upset. I have never had such bad acne in all my life. I feel like a monster. I started prozac a month ago and have broke out with sore bumps that were hard to pop. I ich like crazy on my face with what looks like a rash. i will be stopping the prozac and find another alternative.

  27. I started taking prozac about 3 months ago and i started getting really bad acne and a bunch of other side effects. i haven’t gone to the doctor to get switched off of it yet and it’s really a pain in the ass and just doesn’t work for me. I wake up in the morning with more acne than i had the day before and it doesn’t make an sense because i wash my face regularly.

  28. I am in my sixties and never had acne scars but now I do. I started taking Prozac a few months ago and until tonight I never realized that it is what has my face horribly broken out. I hope I can go off cold turkey because after reading all of these comments about acne I am sure that is what has me so broken out. My breakouts are horrible and hurt. I hate being around the public

  29. It definately causes cystic acne. If you went on Prozac and didn’t get acne count yourself lucky! On Prozac in my 20’s and started having cystic acne to the point I was on accutane 3 times. I never had so much as a pimple prior to that. I was on Prozac for almost 10 years went off of it for past 15 years and my face was clear as porcelain. It wasn’t until three months ago I went back on Prozac 19 mg and my face has had horrid cystic acne. It just dawned on me the only thing different was Prozac. I am 45 years old and a psychiatric nurse practitioner and will keep an eye on this side effect for them now that I realize what Prozac can cause. All those years and never realized the cause. $100 spent on different makeup. Ugh I will never take it again.

  30. It does. Its not just acne itself.
    Prozac and many prescription drugs may cause a rise in sugar blood wich is related to other metabolism disorders. In my case, treating insulin resistance, i controlled my acne. But when i take prozac my sugar blood rises and i have severe acne periods.

  31. Ever since day one of being on Prozac have had spots breaking out and even boils now i have got oily skin, they work well for the depression but not very good if you are prone to acne

  32. I have always had very mild acne, and I had been on 20 mg for a year, when I decided it wasn’t working anymore, and went up to 30 mg a day. In a month I had full blown crazy acne all over my jaw line, cheeks and neck. I started taking birth control to combat painful PMS and acne, but it didn’t help. Eventually I decided to wean myself off of Prozac. Now my acne is almost gone. So I think the Prozac was the cause for me.

  33. I’ve just come across this feed. And I’m glad I’m not alone! I have had the most amazing skin before and since I was about 15 and now I’m getting constant pimples after being on Fluoxetine. I came off the meds about 5 weeks and my skin is still pretty shit. Actually seems to be getting worse. Does it go through a bad phase when you come off them then get better? How long did it take for people’s skin to clear up after coming off Prozac?? God I hope it clears up and goes back to normal! If not then there’s obviously something else causing them and back to the drawing board for me.. My skin is causing me more stress and anxiety than ever before.

  34. Hi everybody ! Lil, i’m exactly in the same situation, i came off fluoxetine about 5 weeks and for the moment, my skin is still awful. How is you skin one month and a half after your post? Same question to everybody : how long did you had to wait before to see your skin going better? Thanks a lot and sorry for my bad english, i’m french :(.

  35. I’m also sure Prozac caused my acne (localized on my nose, chin and lips). I came off the meds 5 weeks ago and for now there isn’t any change. What do you think? Is it normal? How much did you have to wait before to see changes? Thanks a lot in advance for your answers and sorry for my english (not my language)

  36. I’ve dealt with depression majority of my teenage life into adulthood, as a teenager i took prozac and had acne really bad then i stopped taking it and my skin cleared up i am now 27 and started prozac again because depression became a issue again and the acne flared up again.

  37. Prozac, even at 10, 5 and 2.5mg has caused me to have horrible acne on my face, chest and back. My back looks like I have chicken pox! It does, however, help with the depression which is the ONLY reason I continue to take it. I have tried to wean down to the lowest possible dose to control the acne but that doesn’t seem to make any dent to the severity of the acne. It’s possible to take very low doses due to the long half-life of the drug. I had nice skin prior to starting Prozac but now, like others have reported, I have cystic acne on face, esp. chin and jawline. It’s horrible and I am weaning myself off it because I refuse to look like I have the plague! I can’t even wear tank tops because it’s also on my upper arms and my shoulders are covered. It’s awful and people shouldn’t have to suffer this indignation when we’re already suffering so much mentally!

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