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Does Nexplanon Cause Acne? (Behind the Science)

Nexplanon, a hormonal birth control method, has become a popular choice for many women worldwide. This birth control implant is known for its high efficacy in preventing pregnancy.

However, as with all hormonal contraceptives, it brings a spectrum of side effects. A frequently asked question that surfaces is: does Nexplanon cause acne?

Also read: How to choose the best acne treatment

Biggest Take-Aways:

  • Nexplanon, a progestin-only contraceptive implant, may potentially cause or worsen acne due to hormonal fluctuations, although individual reactions vary significantly.

  • Severe side effects from Nexplanon, including ectopic pregnancy and unexplained vaginal bleeding, are rare but require immediate medical attention.

  • Choosing the best birth control method involves considering various factors, including lifestyle, future plans, and potential side effects.

  • Incorporating an effective skincare regimen, such as Exposed Skin Care products, can significantly help manage acne caused by hormonal birth control like Nexplanon.

Woman showing nexaplanon implant

Unveiling Nexplanon

Nexplanon, a progestin-only contraceptive, is a small, flexible birth control implant about the size of a matchstick. This implant is inserted just under the skin of your upper arm by a healthcare provider, releasing a steady dose of the hormone progesterone into the bloodstream over three years.

What sets Nexplanon apart?

Nexplanon implant stands apart from other birth control methods owing to several reasons:

  • It's convenient: The implant is effective for up to three years.

  • It's highly efficient: Nexplanon is over 99% effective at preventing pregnancy.

  • It's reversible: If you decide to have a baby or want to stop using it for any reason, you can remove it anytime.

However, these benefits don't come without some potential drawbacks. Women taking hormonal birth control often report side effects such as weight gain, menstrual cycle changes, mood swings, and breast pain. While some women find these side effects manageable, others might find them uncomfortable or intolerable.

Hormonal Birth Control and Acne: Unraveling the Connection

One of the most-discussed side effects of hormonal birth control is its potential to affect your skin, leading to the question: can birth control cause or worsen acne?

Hormonal acne typically arises from an imbalance or hormone fluctuations, especially the ones that fluctuate throughout the menstrual cycle. The primary culprits are androgenic progestins in many forms of hormonal contraceptives. They bind to androgen receptors in the skin and can lead to oilier skin, potentially resulting in acne-prone skin.

Sad woman with acne issue squeezing pimple on forehead

The degree to which birth control can affect acne depends on many factors, including the type of hormonal birth control and your skin's sensitivity. For instance, birth control pills containing anti-androgenic progestins can often help improve acne. On the other hand, progestin-only contraceptives, like Nexplanon, may contribute to developing or worsening acne.

Delving Deeper: Does Nexplanon Cause Acne?

To understand the link between Nexplanon and acne, we must first understand that Nexplanon releases a type of progestin called etonogestrel. Etonogestrel is an androgenic progestin, which can cause hormonal fluctuations leading to increased oil production, potentially causing acne.

Research suggests that progestin-only contraceptives, like Nexplanon, could potentially increase acne in some individuals, particularly those with a history of acne or oily skin. However, it's essential to understand that everyone is different. While some women might experience new or worsening acne, others may notice no change or even an improvement in their acne.

Potential Side Effects of Nexplanon Beyond Acne

While acne is a significant concern, it's crucial to be aware of other potential side effects of Nexplanon. Some common side effects include:

  • Unexplained vaginal bleeding

  • Weight gain

  • Mood swings

  • Breast pain

  • Hair loss

While these side effects might sound alarming, not everyone will experience them. Moreover, these side effects often subside after the body adjusts to the new hormone levels. However, severe side effects such as ectopic pregnancy, liver disease, and severe pain might occur in some rare cases, indicating a medical emergency.

Strategies to Combat Nexplanon-Induced Acne

Though hormonal fluctuations caused by Nexplanon may potentially lead to acne, don't despair! There are several ways you can counteract these effects and maintain clear skin.

  • Consider switching birth control methods: If your acne becomes unmanageable or significantly affects your self-esteem, discuss other methods with your healthcare provider.

Woman hand holding a contraceptive

  • Maintaining a consistent skincare routine: Keeping your skin moisturized can go a long way. Incorporate salicylic acid, a potent acne-fighting ingredient, into your routine. It works by unclogging the pores and preventing breakouts.

  • Opting for acne medication: If acne persists, over-the-counter or prescription drugs can effectively treat severe acne. However, remember to consult your healthcare provider before starting any new medication.

  • Choosing a healthier lifestyle: Regular exercise, a balanced diet, and proper hydration can contribute to healthier skin, reducing acne's likelihood.

Can Nexplanon Worsen Acne?

Just as Nexplanon might cause acne in some individuals, it can also potentially worsen acne in others, especially those already having acne-prone skin. However, this isn't a guarantee and varies significantly from person to person.

Will Acne Go Away After Nexplanon Removal?

Generally, any side effects associated with Nexplanon, including acne, should gradually subside once the implant is removed and your hormone levels begin normalizing. However, remember that this process can take time and varies for everyone.

Recognizing the Red Flags: When to Seek Medical Attention

While Nexplanon is considered a safe method of birth control, it's essential to be aware of potential risk factors that may require immediate medical attention. Ectopic pregnancy, although rare, is a severe side effect of Nexplanon. This occurs when a fertilized egg implants outside the uterus, usually in a fallopian tube. You should consult a healthcare provider immediately if you're experiencing severe abdominal pain.

Woman suffering from severe period cramps

Another red flag to look out for is unexplained vaginal bleeding, which is different from the irregular menstrual periods typically associated with taking hormonal birth control. If you're experiencing persistent or heavy bleeding, this could indicate a more serious problem and should not be ignored.

A Closer Look at Contraceptive Options: Is Nexplanon the Best Birth Control for You?

Selecting the best birth control method is a highly personal decision that depends on various factors. While progestin-only contraceptives like Nexplanon are effective, they aren't the only option:

  1. Birth Control Pills: These combined hormonal contraceptives contain estrogen and progestin and must be taken daily. They can help regulate menstrual periods and even ease symptoms of painful periods.

  2. Combined Contraceptives: These include methods like the birth control ring or patch. They contain both estrogen and progestin and can also help with menstrual regulation.

  3. Barrier Methods: Options like condoms protect against pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.

Remember, when it comes to birth control, the 'best' method is one that fits seamlessly into your lifestyle, aligns with your future plans, and causes the least side effects.

Managing Nexplanon Side Effects: A Comprehensive Approach

If you've recently started using Nexplanon and are experiencing new or worsening acne, you might consider integrating acne medication into your skincare regimen. Over-the-counter benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid products can be effective for mild acne. For more severe acne, a prescription retinoid may be necessary.

However, acne is just one of the potential side effects of Nexplanon. Others include:

  • Mood swings

  • Hair loss

  • Changes in weight

Fortunately, many of these side effects can be managed with lifestyle changes or medication. Regular exercise can help with mood swings, a nutritious diet can support healthy hair and skin, and paying attention to portion sizes can prevent weight gain. If side effects persist or affect your quality of life, consult with a healthcare provider to discuss alternative contraceptive options.

Leveraging Exposed Skin Care for Acne Management

While birth control methods, such as Nexplanon, can potentially lead to skin-related side effects like acne, there are ways to manage this. One reliable strategy involves adopting an effective skincare regimen with proven products like those from Exposed Skin Care. This comprehensive skincare line targets acne from all angles, creating clear, vibrant skin.

Exposed Skin Care Expanded Kit

Benefits of using Exposed Skin Care include:

  • Powerful Ingredients: The products utilize science-backed ingredients and natural extracts, promoting healthier skin without the harshness of chemical-heavy formulas.

  • All-encompassing Approach: Exposed Skin Care focuses on treating existing acne, preventing future breakouts, and repairing existing acne damage.

  • Suitability for All Skin Types: Whether your skin is oily, dry, or a combination, you can use Exposed Skin Care products with confidence.

It's worth noting that while skincare can help manage acne, it may not address other side effects of birth control, such as mood swings or changes in menstrual periods. So, while Exposed Skin Care might help your skin look its best, discussing any broader concerns or side effects with your healthcare provider is crucial.


The potential of Nexplanon to cause or exacerbate acne is subjective, and reactions can vary significantly among individuals. While it's a highly effective birth control method, Nexplanon, like all hormonal contraceptives, may have side effects. These can range from mild, such as acne, to more severe complications like ectopic pregnancy. However, immediate medical attention can effectively address these more serious side effects.

When it comes to birth control, the most suitable method is highly personal and depends on various factors, including your lifestyle, future plans, and tolerance for potential side effects. Furthermore, managing Nexplanon-induced acne can be achieved through consistent skincare routines, especially when incorporating highly effective products such as those from the Exposed Skin Care line.

In conclusion, understanding your unique needs and potential reactions to hormonal birth control methods like Nexplanon can help ensure you make the best decision for your overall well-being. Remember, open communication with your healthcare provider is the key to making an informed choice about your contraceptive method and managing any associated side effects.


Q: How effective is Nexplanon at pregnancy prevention?

A: Nexplanon is over 99% effective at preventing pregnancy, making it one of the best birth control methods in terms of efficacy.

Q: Does Nexplanon protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs)?

A: No, Nexplanon does not protect against STIs. For protection against STIs, consider using condoms in conjunction with Nexplanon.

Q: Can Nexplanon cause irregular periods?

A: Yes, one of the common side effects of Nexplanon is a change in menstrual periods. Some women may experience heavier, lighter, or more irregular periods.

Q: Does Nexplanon increase the risk of breast cancer?

A: While there's ongoing research on this topic, there's no concrete evidence to suggest that Nexplanon directly increases the risk of breast cancer. However, if you have a history of breast cancer, discuss this with your healthcare provider before opting for Nexplanon.

Q: Can I remove Nexplanon at any time?

A: Yes, you can have Nexplanon removed anytime if you wish to try for a baby or if you're unhappy with the side effects.

Q: Does Nexplanon cause hair loss?

A: Some women might experience hair loss as a side effect of Nexplanon. However, this is uncommon and usually subsides once the body adjusts to the implant.