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Does IUD Cause Acne? (What You Need To Know)

One of the most frequently asked questions concerning birth control is, "Does IUD cause acne?" This question often arises due to some side effects of intrauterine devices (IUDs). As a form of birth control, IUDs have become increasingly popular for their effectiveness in preventing pregnancy. However, their impact on skin health has been a subject of ongoing debate.

Our skin, being the largest organ in our body, is often the first place where internal changes or disturbances manifest. Acne vulgaris, commonly known as acne, is a frequent skin issue that can be influenced by various factors such as hormonal fluctuations, oil production, and even our lifestyle choices.

This article explores the connection between IUDs and acne, focusing on hormonal and copper IUDs, the potential acne breakouts they may cause, and how to manage and treat such breakouts.

Also read: How to choose the best acne treatment

Biggest Take-Aways:

  • Hormonal IUDs can potentially cause or worsen acne due to the synthetic hormone progestin and its effect on oil production.

  • Hormone-free copper IUDs are less likely to cause acne but may still result in breakouts for some individuals.

  • Understanding the connection between hormones and acne is crucial in managing hormonal breakouts associated with IUD use.

  • Exposed Skin Care offers a comprehensive and customizable approach to managing acne, with gentle yet effective formulations that target multiple acne-causing factors.

Woman holding a copper IUD

The Role of Hormones in Acne Development

Before diving into the relationship between IUDs and acne, it's essential to understand how hormones play a significant role in acne development. Acne, particularly hormonal acne, arises due to the overproduction of androgen hormones. These male sex hormones, present in both males and females, stimulate the sebaceous glands in the skin to produce excess oil.

This excess oil production and dead skin cells can clog pores, creating a breeding ground for acne-causing bacteria. Hormonal acne is usually characterized by cystic acne, a more severe form of acne vulgaris. Cystic acne forms when bacteria, oil, and dry skin cells get trapped in the skin, leading to infection and inflammation.

Hormonal fluctuations, especially during the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, or as a side effect of certain forms of birth control, can lead to hormonal breakouts. This is why understanding the hormone content of your birth control method, such as an IUD, is vital.

Understanding IUDs: Hormonal Vs. Copper

Intrauterine devices (IUDs), including hormonal and copper IUDs, are a long-acting reversible contraception choice for many healthy women. However, each type can potentially impact your skin differently.

Hormonal IUDs

Hormonal IUDs, like Mirena, Kyleena, Skyla, and Liletta, release a synthetic hormone called progestin into the body. This hormone is similar to the natural hormone progesterone that our bodies produce. However, this synthetic hormone can cause a slight increase in testosterone levels in some women, possibly leading to an increase in oil production and acne breakouts.

Copper IUDs

Copper IUDs, on the other hand, are hormone-free. They release small amounts of copper into the uterus to prevent pregnancy. Since they don't involve any hormones, copper IUDs are less likely to cause acne breakouts. However, everyone's body responds differently, and some women may still experience acne flare-ups after copper IUD insertion.

Does IUD Cause Acne?

The question, "Does IUD cause acne?" doesn't have a simple yes or no answer. Some women may find that their skin remains clear and acne-free after getting an IUD, while others might experience worsened acne or new breakouts.

Woman worrying about acne on her forehead

Hormonal IUDs have been linked to acne due to the synthetic hormone progestin they release. Progestin can stimulate oil glands, producing excess oil, which can cause acne. In contrast, copper IUDs, being hormone-free, are less likely to cause acne. However, the body's response to any form of birth control is highly individual and can vary greatly among women.

Acne breakouts caused by hormonal IUDs may present as hormonal acne, typically characterized by deep and painful cystic acne around the lower face and jawline. This acne is often resistant to typical acne medications and topical treatments. It might be the contributing factor if you've been experiencing such breakouts after getting a hormonal IUD.

Managing and Treating IUD-related Breakouts

While it can be frustrating to deal with IUD-related breakouts, it's essential to know that there are several ways to manage and even treat hormonal acne caused by IUDs.

Skin Care Routine

Regular skin care routines can help manage breakouts and keep your skin healthy. This should include cleansing, toning, and moisturizing daily. Using products containing salicylic or glycolic acid can help clear clogged pores and reduce excess oil.

Oral Medications

Oral contraceptives, specifically combined oral contraceptives, have been proven effective in treating hormonal acne by lowering testosterone levels. However, it's important to discuss with a healthcare professional before starting any oral medication for acne, as these can have side effects and may not be suitable for everyone.

Oral contraceptives held by person

Lifestyle Changes

Adopting a healthy lifestyle can also play a significant role in managing acne. This involves maintaining a balanced diet rich in fresh vegetables, lean proteins, and complex carbohydrates to regulate blood sugar levels, which can influence hormone regulation and skin health. Regular exercise can also help regulate hormones and reduce stress, which is another contributing factor to acne.


Sometimes, all it takes is time. Often, the body adjusts to the new hormonal environment after a few months of getting an IUD, leading to fewer breakouts.

The Science Behind How Hormones Affect Skin Health

Our skin is not just our body's outer layer - it's a complex organ heavily influenced by our internal biochemistry, particularly hormones. But what's the science behind how hormones affect skin health, specifically acne?

Androgens and Oil Production

Androgens, such as testosterone, play a significant role in skin health. These hormones, while commonly referred to as male hormones, are present in both males and females. One of their functions is stimulating the sebaceous glands to produce sebum, an oily substance that helps protect the skin.

However, when these androgen hormones become imbalanced or overly active, they can stimulate an overproduction of sebum. Combined with dead skin cells, this excess oil can clog pores, providing a perfect environment for acne-causing bacteria to thrive.

Hormonal Fluctuations and Breakouts

Hormonal fluctuations, such as those that occur during menstrual cycles or pregnancy, can also trigger acne breakouts. This is because these fluctuations often involve changes in androgen hormone levels, leading to increased oil production.

In addition, stress can lead to hormonal imbalances that affect the skin. When we're stressed, our bodies produce more cortisol, a hormone that can stimulate oil production and lead to breakouts.

White woman checking face acne with mirror

Myths and Misconceptions about IUDs and Acne

In any discussion about IUDs and acne, addressing some of the myths and misconceptions that often circulate is important.

Myth 1: All IUDs Cause Acne

The truth is, not all IUDs are likely to cause acne. While hormonal IUDs have been associated with acne due to the synthetic hormone they release, copper IUDs are hormone-free and less likely to cause acne.

Myth 2: Acne Caused by IUDs is Permanent

While some women may experience acne breakouts after getting an IUD, this doesn't mean the acne is permanent. In many cases, the body adjusts to the new hormonal environment a few months after IUD insertion, reducing breakouts.

Myth 3: IUDs Always Worsen Existing Acne

While hormonal IUDs can potentially trigger acne in some women, they do not always worsen existing acne. Everyone's body is different, and the response to a hormonal IUD can vary greatly among individuals.

Benefits of Using Exposed Skin Care to Manage Acne

When dealing with acne, finding an effective skincare regimen is crucial. One popular option that has garnered attention is Exposed Skin Care. This comprehensive acne treatment system offers a range of benefits in managing acne breakouts.

Exposed Skin Care Expanded Kit

Let's explore some of its advantages:

  • Combination Approach: Exposed Skin Care takes a comprehensive approach to acne treatment, addressing multiple factors contributing to breakouts. Its products are formulated to target clogged pores, excess oil production, bacteria, and inflammation.

  • Gentle yet Effective: Exposed Skin Care is designed to be gentle on the skin while still delivering effective results. Its formulations incorporate natural ingredients known for their anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, reducing the risk of skin irritation or dryness.

  • Customizable Regimen: The Exposed Skin Care system is customizable, allowing individuals to tailor the regimen to their specific needs. It offers a variety of products, including cleansers, toners, serums, and moisturizers, which can be combined based on skin type and severity of acne.

Remember, individual results may vary, and it's always recommended to consult with a dermatologist or healthcare professional before starting any new skincare regimen.


The connection between IUDs and acne is a complex matter that varies from person to person. While hormonal IUDs, due to their synthetic hormone content, can potentially cause or worsen acne by increasing oil production, copper IUDs are less likely to have such effects. Understanding the hormonal influence on acne development and considering individual factors are crucial when deciding on the right form of birth control.

If you experience acne breakouts related to IUD use, various management strategies are available. These include maintaining a consistent skincare routine, discussing oral medication options with a board-certified dermatologist, adopting a healthy lifestyle, and having patience as your body adjusts. Remember, everyone's skin is unique, and finding the most suitable approach may require some trial and error.

Exposed Skin Care can be a beneficial option. Its combination approach, gentle yet effective formulations, customizable regimen, and synergistic ingredients aim to address multiple factors contributing to acne breakouts. However, it's always advisable to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the best course of action for your specific skin concerns and medical history.

Ultimately, finding the right balance between effective contraception and optimal skin health is possible with careful consideration, informed decision-making, and proper skincare management.


Q: How long does it take for an IUD to cause acne?

A: Acne flare-ups associated with IUD insertion can occur as early as a few weeks after the procedure or may take several months to appear. This varies greatly among individuals as everyone's body reacts differently.

Q: How common is acne with IUD?

A: It's challenging to quantify as everyone's body and hormone levels are different. Some women may experience acne breakouts, while others may not notice any changes to their skin after IUD insertion.

Q: Can getting an IUD help with acne?

A: Generally, hormonal IUDs are not considered an acne treatment. In fact, they may worsen acne in some women. However, everyone's experience is unique, and some women may find their skin improves with an IUD.

Q: Which birth control is best for acne?

A: Combined oral contraceptives are often considered the best birth control for acne. They work by reducing the body's testosterone, which can decrease oil production and lead to fewer breakouts.