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Can Ashwagandha Cause Acne?

Ashwagandha may cause acne in some people due to its hormonal effects.

Ashwagandha, a popular herb in Ayurvedic medicine, is known for its stress-relieving properties. However, some users report acne breakouts after taking it. Let’s explore the connection between ashwagandha and acne.

Hormonal Effects

Ashwagandha can affect hormone levels. It may increase testosterone, which can lead to acne. Testosterone stimulates oil production in the skin, clogging pores and causing breakouts. Some users on Reddit reported acne flare-ups after starting ashwagandha supplements.

Hormonal Imbalance

Hormonal imbalances, especially excess androgens, can cause acne. Ashwagandha’s potential to increase testosterone might exacerbate this issue. Users have noted that stopping ashwagandha led to a reduction in acne.

Stress and Cortisol

Ashwagandha helps reduce cortisol, the stress hormone. High cortisol levels can worsen acne by increasing inflammation and oil production. By lowering cortisol, ashwagandha might help some people with stress-related acne. However, the hormonal changes it induces can still trigger breakouts in others.

Scientific Evidence

There is limited scientific evidence linking ashwagandha directly to acne. Most reports are anecdotal. Dermatologists suggest that while ashwagandha can affect hormones, it is not a proven cause of acne.

Clinical Studies

Few studies have examined ashwagandha’s effects on acne. One study found that a supplement containing ashwagandha reduced pimples, but it also included other herbs, making it unclear if ashwagandha was responsible.

Expert Opinions

Experts recommend caution when using ashwagandha if you have acne-prone skin. Consulting a healthcare professional can help determine if ashwagandha is suitable for you.

Other Side Effects

Ashwagandha can cause other side effects, including gastrointestinal issues, drowsiness, and liver problems. These side effects are generally rare but should be considered before starting the supplement.

Common Side Effects

  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Drowsiness
  • Headache

Rare Side Effects

  • Liver injury
  • Thyrotoxicosis
  • Skin rash

Benefits of Ashwagandha

Despite potential side effects, ashwagandha offers several health benefits. It is known for reducing stress, improving sleep, and enhancing physical performance.

Stress Reduction

Ashwagandha is an adaptogen, helping the body manage stress. It reduces cortisol levels, which can improve overall well-being.

Physical Performance

Studies suggest that ashwagandha can improve muscle strength, endurance, and recovery. It is popular among athletes for these reasons.

Cognitive Function

Ashwagandha may enhance cognitive function, including memory and attention. It is used to support mental health and reduce anxiety.


Ashwagandha may cause acne in some individuals due to its hormonal effects. While it offers many health benefits, it is essential to consider potential side effects. Consulting a healthcare professional can help determine if ashwagandha is right for you. For more information, you can read about ashwagandha’s effects on hormone health on