Does Wellbutrin cause acne? 

Does Wellbutrin cause acne? 

Wellbutrin may cause acne in some individuals. Although it is not a common side effect of this antidepressant, people can react differently to medications. 

If you find acne or patches on your skin, or you experience itching or irritation right after taking your first-ever dose, you should immediately seek medical attention as it could be a sign of an allergic reaction to Wellbutrin (1). 

If your acne develops with time and is mild, it will likely clear up as your body adjusts to the medication. Make sure you discuss your concerns with your doctor and learn more about the antidepressant you’re currently taking.

What is the incidence of acne on Wellbutrin?

The incidence of acne as a side effect of Wellbutrin (bupropion) is not well established. Acne is generally not listed as a common or rare side effect of Wellbutrin based on available information (1,2). 

However, it is important to note that individual responses to medications can vary, and some people may experience acne or skin changes while taking Wellbutrin.

What factors can contribute to acne while taking Wellbutrin?

It is important to note that acne can be influenced by various factors, including (3):

  • Hormonal changes: Fluctuations in hormone levels, particularly during puberty, menstrual cycles, pregnancy, and menopause, can lead to acne breakouts.
  • Genetics: If your parents or close family members have a history of acne, you may be more prone to developing it yourself.
  • Excess oil production: Overactive oil glands can result in the accumulation of oil on the skin, leading to clogged pores and acne.
  • Bacteria: The presence of certain bacteria on the skin, particularly Propionibacterium acnes, can contribute to the development of acne.
  • Poor skincare habits: Using harsh or irritating skincare products, not properly cleansing the skin, or frequently touching the face can worsen acne.
  • Diet: Although the link between diet and acne is not fully understood, some studies suggest that consuming certain foods, such as high-glycemic index foods or dairy products, may exacerbate acne in some individuals.
  • Stress: Increased stress levels can trigger hormonal changes that contribute to acne flare-ups.
  • Environmental factors: Exposure to pollutants, humidity, and certain occupational hazards (e.g., working with oils or chemicals) can impact the skin and contribute to acne development.

What to do if you are experiencing acne while taking Wellbutrin? 

It’s best to report Wellbutrin-induced acne to your healthcare provider. Your doctor may try dose reduction to reduce the incidence of this side effect. 

This may or may not work, as some people may experience side effects that are not dose-dependent and it’s just how Wellbutrin generally makes them feel. 

In case of severe acne, your doctor may put you off Wellbutrin, after which your skin will eventually start to clear up on its own. Your doctor may also prescribe a medication, either oral or topical to help your acne clear up faster. 

However, Wellbutrin is not commonly associated with acne and other factors should also be evaluated to clear up your skin. 

Make sure you discuss your side effects with your doctor to determine the future safety and efficacy of Wellbutrin use. If it’s not the best choice of antidepressant for you, your doctor will switch you to another one. Just don’t make any changes to your prescription on your own. 

Helpful tips to recover from acne

There are some tips that can help speed up your recovery from acne and can prevent it from getting worse. These include (4):

  • Wash your face twice a day with a gentle cleanser to remove excess oil, dirt, and bacteria. Avoid harsh scrubs or over-washing, as this can irritate the skin and make acne worse.
  • Avoid touching your face. Touching your face can transfer bacteria and oils from your hands to your skin, which can clog pores and lead to breakouts.
  • It can be tempting to pop or squeeze pimples, but this can make the inflammation worse and lead to scarring. Instead, apply a spot treatment with benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid to help reduce the size and redness of the pimple (4).
  • Eating a balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help support overall skin health.
  • Change your pillowcases and towels regularly. They can accumulate dirt, oil, and bacteria over time, which can worsen acne. 
  • Stay hydrated. Drinking enough water helps keep your skin hydrated and can improve overall skin health.

If your acne is severe or doesn’t improve with over-the-counter treatments, it may be helpful to consult a dermatologist.

Remember, everyone’s skin is unique, so what works for one person may not work for another. It’s important to be patient and consistent with your skincare routine while giving your skin time to heal.

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Huecker MR, Smiley A, Saadabadi A. Bupropion. 2023 Apr 9. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan–. PMID: 29262173.


Dhillon S, Yang LP, Curran MP. Bupropion: a review of its use in the management of major depressive disorder. Drugs. 2008;68(5):653-89. doi: 10.2165/00003495-200868050-00011. Erratum in: Drugs. 2008;68(7):980. PMID: 18370448.


Beylot C. Mécanismes et causes de l’acné [Mechanisms and causes of acne]. Rev Prat. 2002 Apr 15;52(8):828-30. French. PMID: 12053788.


Oge’ LK, Broussard A, Marshall MD. Acne Vulgaris: Diagnosis and Treatment. Am Fam Physician. 2019 Oct 15;100(8):475-484. PMID: 31613567.

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