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5 Big Reasons Not to Use Prednisone for Acne

While there are various acne treatments available, ranging from topical applications like benzoyl peroxide to oral antibiotics, not all are equally effective or safe.

One such controversial treatment option is prednisone—a corticosteroid medication that is used for severe inflammatory acne. This article aims to unveil the critical reasons that make prednisone for acne a less-than-ideal choice.

Also read: How to choose the best acne treatment

Biggest Take-Aways:

  • Systemic steroids like oral prednisone can cause a variety of health issues, including acne, and should not be a first-line treatment option.
  • Long-term use of corticosteroids, both oral and topical, can result in detrimental side effects and increased susceptibility to acne.
  • Considering both short-term relief and long-term health implications, a balanced and sustainable approach to treating acne is essential.
  • Exposed Skin Care offers a comprehensive range of products that provide a safer, more effective alternative for treating various forms of acne.

Open hand holding multiple pills of prednisone

The Realities of Prednisone: What Is It Exactly?

Prednisone is a corticosteroid medication used to treat many conditions, mainly because of its potent anti-inflammatory properties. However, its efficacy comes at a cost.

It can have a series of potential side effects, making it a risky choice for treating acne. This section delves into what prednisone is and why it is often considered for the treatment of acne.

Prednisone is a Corticosteroid

Corticosteroids like prednisone are produced by your body and are commonly used to suppress the immune system and reduce inflammation. They are usually recommended for conditions such as arthritis, allergies, and even some forms of cancer.

Prednisone for Acne Treatment

When it comes to acne treatment, prednisone is primarily used for its anti-inflammatory properties to reduce severe forms of acne, like cysts and nodules. However, despite its potency, there are critical reasons why it may not be the best choice.

Reason 1: Side Effects are Plenty

While prednisone can be effective in reducing inflammation, the potential side effects make it a problematic choice for treating acne.

Man suffering from insomnia

Systemic Effects

Prednisone is known to suppress the immune system, making the body more susceptible to infections. This can particularly be a concern for individuals with already compromised immune systems.

Hormonal Imbalance

Prednisone can mess up the body's natural hormone production, leading to various health problems, including mood swings and sleep disorders.

Reason 2: Steroid Acne – A Cruel Irony

Interestingly, one of the most common side effects of prednisone use is acne itself, known as steroid acne. Treating acne with a medication that can cause acne seems counterintuitive at best.

What is Steroid Acne?

Steroid acne is a common type of acne that is a common side effect of prednisone and other anabolic steroids. This form of acne usually manifests as small papules and pustules rather than the typical acne, like whiteheads and blackheads.

Severity of Steroid Acne

The irony of treating acne with prednisone is that it can lead to more severe forms of acne that are harder to treat. Treating steroid acne often requires a different treatment plan, complicating the already intricate process of acne care.

Woman with acne on her face

Reason 3: The Vicious Cycle of Dosage and Treatment Length

With prednisone for acne, the dosage and length of treatment can contribute to a never-ending cycle of acne outbreaks and treatment adjustments.

High Dosage Risks

Higher doses of prednisone can effectively treat severe acne in the short term. However, this higher dose also increases the susceptibility to the previously mentioned side effects.

Weeks of Treatment and Stopping Prednisone

Most treatment plans involving prednisone span several weeks. Stopping prednisone abruptly can result in a flare-up of acne and other health concerns.

Reason 4: Ineffectiveness for Common Types of Acne

Prednisone is typically reserved for treating severe inflammatory acne, making it ineffective for common types of acne, such as whiteheads, blackheads, and mild forms of acne vulgaris.

Topical Treatments

Topical applications like benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid are generally more effective for treating common types of acne and have fewer side effects.

Derma clinic applying salicylic acid on girls face

Other Oral Options

Besides prednisone, other oral options like isotretinoin and oral antibiotics can be more effective and safer for treating a wider range of acne types.

Reason 5: Malassezia Folliculitis – A Confused Diagnosis

Sometimes, what appears to be acne may be Malassezia folliculitis or fungal acne. Prednisone is particularly ineffective in these cases and can sometimes worsen the condition.

What is Malassezia Folliculitis?

This is an infection of the hair follicles caused by yeast. It often resembles acne, leading to misdiagnosis and incorrect treatment.

Prednisone Can Worsen the Condition

Prednisone can exacerbate malassezia folliculitis by suppressing the immune system, making the skin more susceptible to fungal infections.

The Benefits of Using Exposed Skin Care to Manage Acne

While some may consider oral prednisone as a treatment for severe acne, the side effects can be detrimental. Prednisone can cause acne flare-ups and exacerbate existing conditions. This is where Exposed Skin Care comes in.

Exposed Skin Care Expanded Kit

Here are some compelling benefits of Exposed Skin Care:

  • Targeted Treatment: Unlike systemic steroids, which broadly impact your system and increase your susceptibility to acne, Exposed Skin Care focuses on the specific areas needing treatment.
  • Minimal Side Effects: Stop taking prednisone or other oral steroids, which can lead to severe side effects. Exposed Skin Care's products are designed to be gentle on your skin while effectively treating acne.
  • Comprehensive Care: While steroids may sometimes be recommended in large doses for severe acne, our kits offer a balanced range of topical antibiotics, topical corticosteroids, and other treatments to manage acne without such drastic measures.
  • FDA-Approved: All Exposed Skin Care products are Food and Drug Administration-approved, ensuring safety and efficacy in your acne treatment journey.

In sum, for those dealing with acne caused by prednisone treatment or otherwise, Exposed Skin Care provides a safer, more targeted, and more effective approach. It is an ideal alternative to the long-term use of topical corticosteroids and other risk-laden medications.


Often prescribed by healthcare providers for various inflammatory conditions, prednisone can cause several possible side effects. It is crucial to consider the long-term implications and potential side effects of using it to treat acne.

Oral steroids, although powerful, increase susceptibility to various health issues. The use of corticosteroids, be it oral or topical, should not be the first line of treatment for acne, mainly because the long-term use of topical corticosteroids can also bring about undesirable effects.

There are various treatment options available that offer a more targeted and less invasive approach to treating acne. Brands like Exposed Skin Care focus on providing comprehensive, Food and Drug Administration-approved options formulated to address the specific needs of people with acne.

While steroid use may be a quick fix, long-term wellness should always be the goal. The journey toward clearer skin often involves navigating options ranging from topical antibiotics to lifestyle changes.


Q: What are systemic steroids like oral prednisone?

A: Systemic steroids like oral prednisone are medications often prescribed for inflammatory conditions but can cause side effects like acne flare-ups.

Q: How does prednisone cause acne?

A: Prednisone can cause hormonal imbalances and increased oil production, leading to acne as a common side effect.

Q: What is the downside of using corticosteroids for acne?

A: Long-term use of corticosteroids, whether oral or topical, can lead to a range of side effects, including skin thinning and susceptibility to further acne.

Q: What other treatment options are available aside from steroids?

A: Options range from topical antibiotics to lifestyle changes, as well as comprehensive skin care kits like those offered by Exposed Skin Care.