The Link Between IUDs And Acne

People say you look beautiful as long as you're comfortable in your own skin. That is true, but having whiteheads and blackheads all over your face is hardly comfortable. For ages, physicians have been researching the causes of acne. Among the most common triggers of acne flare-ups are stress, diet, poor sleep, excessive makeup, and overproduction of sebum.


Yet there is another less-heard-of cause of acne breakout that's been the talk of the town in recent years — IUDs. Hailey Bieber revealed in an episode of "The Biebers on Watch" that she started getting adult acne after getting an IUD, stressing that her flare-up affected her self-image (via The Daily Mail).

IUD is an acronym for intrauterine device, a T-shaped tool that is implanted in your uterus to prevent pregnancy, per Planned Parenthood. There are several different types of IUDs.

The effectiveness of this long-term birth control option has been decisively proven. But can IUDs make your skin a prime target for acne? Here are some experts' insights.

Types of IUDs

Per WebMD, there are two types of IUDs: hormonal and non-hormonal IUDs, also known as copper IUDs. Made of copper and plastic, copper IUDs can ward off pregnancy by killing off sperm before it can reach and fertilize an egg. Additionally, copper hinders the ability of fertilized eggs to implant in your uterus.


Meanwhile, a hormonal IUD is a tiny, pliable T-shaped piece of plastic that releases a small amount of levonorgestrel, a substance similar to progestin, into your body. This hormone thickens the mucus on your cervix, thus blocking sperm's access to your egg and preventing pregnancy. It also thins your uterine lining and, in some cases, will stop your body from releasing eggs through ovulation.

While IUDs are said to be over 99% effective in helping you steer clear of pregnancy for several years, they are not without side effects. For some people, copper IUDs can cause worsened menstrual pain and heavy or abnormal bleeding, warns Planned Parenthood.

For those who get hormonal IUDs, you should be aware of headaches, irregular bleeding, pelvic discomfort, and mood swings as possible side effects, among others (per Mayo Clinic). A hormonal IUD can also be the culprit behind your irregular acne breakouts.


Hormonal IUDs can cause acne

Hormonal IUDs can trigger a flare-up, even if someone hasn't had acne problems before, says gynecologist Dr. Felice Gersh (via Shape). Levonorgestrel, which is released into the body through hormonal IUDs, changes your hormone levels and can trigger "a state of inflammation." This can lead to acne.


"For some people, IUDs do cause acne," gynecologist Dr. Lauren Demosthenes tells Byrdie. Demosthenes notes that the progestin released into your body impacts the sebaceous glands, and can facilitate the production of more oil, clogging pores and leading to acne breakouts. Acne caused by hormonal IUDs is often cystic and painful.

Copper IUDs are not known to aggravate skin conditions or induce acne outbreaks. Therefore, non-hormonal IUDs may be a better option if you have chronic acne.

While IUD-induced flare-ups are not uncommon, everyone has different skin types and lifestyle habits which can worsen their skin condition. Therefore, you should speak with your dermatologist to get advice on how best to care for your skin when using a hormonal IUD.