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Intrauterine devices – one of the most effective birth control options available in this field. Many women choose it as their favorite product due to its longevity, safety, and 98% effectiveness, which is an excellent statistic considering the importance of the product’s task. However, after having an IUD inserted, it’s important to be ready for certain body reactions and changes, as birth control may alter specific processes in the organism; that’s one of the main reasons women experience weight gain, mood swings, and other symptoms that may be pretty unpleasant.

Today, we decided to dedicate the article to one of the most annoying complications not only patients, but those around them may notice after an IUD insertion – acne breakouts. As devices for pregnancy prevention lead to hormonal system changes, it often affects skin health, which women are not always ready for. Here, we’ll tell you all about the nature of hormonal acne, the main reasons for its occurrence, as well as possible changes you may incorporate in your lifestyle to take this problem under control. Having perfect, glowing skin is more manageable than you think, so let’s dive into this exciting topic!

The Definition of an IUD

IUDs are also known as intrauterine devices; this product is small, T-shaped, and is meant to be inserted into the uterus for birth control purposes with an effectiveness that ranges from 5 to 12 years based on the brand and active ingredient of the selected product. An IUD is a long-acting reversible contraception, meaning it can be removed from the body anytime a woman wants to stop its effect and try getting pregnant.

According to one’s health status, preferred results, and other essential factors, a medical specialist can pick the right brand for an individual to guarantee an expected effect; of course, limitations must also be considered, as safety is always a priority when it comes to such delicate procedures.

More About Available IUD Types

Two main types of IUDs are used to protect women from unwanted pregnancy – copper and hormonal IUDs. Let’s look closely at some essential facts about each kind you should consider before stopping on one option:

  • A copper IUD. This version is also known as a non-hormonal birth control, meaning it doesn’t contain hormones and is perfect for individuals who cannot tolerate the composition of hormonal devices. The material that ensures contraceptive functioning is copper, which can thicken mucus in the uterus, making it harder for the sperm to get through it and fertilize the egg. This component also creates an inhospitable environment for sperm, so even if some specimens get through the mucus, they will be too weak to fertilize the egg. Some specialists recommend copper IUDs as an emergency contraception method. The most popular brand of this type nowadays is ParaGard, and its average durability is about ten years;
  • A hormonal IUDAll contraceptives of this type work with the progestin hormone, the main task of which is to prevent sperm from reaching the egg. Just like the previous product, hormonal devices make mucus thicker; on top of that, the active substance thins the uterus lining, so even if the egg was somehow fertilized, it could not attach to the walls. Among the most popular brands, we can highlight Mirena, Skyla, Kyleena, and Liletta. The longevity of this form of birth control is 5 to 8 based on the chosen brand for a person’s needs.

Now as we know all the essentials, it’s time to go to the main topic of this article – how are IUDs and acne related?

Acne and IUD Connection – the Basics

When it comes to the discussion of intrauterine devices and acne relations, you may get easily confused as most people provide mixed information about this topic. While some women noticed their skin to become clearer and smoother, others reported acne vulgaris problems that were not present before an IUD insertion.


From now on, we will primarily discuss hormonal IUDs, as a copper IUD typically doesn’t cause problems of this type. That’s because it doesn’t affect one’s hormonal system that much, while contraceptives with progestin can lead to some significant changes in the system.

After an IUD is introduced to the body, its active substance – progestin – converts into progesterone after some time; sometimes, this product may also increase testosterone levels. As a result, women may notice intense cystic acne caused mainly by excess sebum secretion. Unfortunately, hormonal changes and imbalance are common symptoms of an IUD after-insertion period, and this problem devastates women as it may be pretty tricky to control this condition. However, each case is unique, so before jumping to any conclusions, it’s better to contact a specialist and discuss all the concerns with them. It’s also the best strategy to come up with suitable acne treatment and pick a contraceptive able to fulfill one’s needs without hormonal disbalance.

What Are the Symptoms of IUD Breakouts?

To treat acne and prevent breakouts, the first thing you should do is to find out the nature of this problem. The chances are, an IUD is not the main reason, and some other factors just coincided, leading to unfortunate skin condition worsening.

To identify the problem, look at the placement and condition of acne; formations on the chin and jaw indicate a high chance of an intrauterine device being the reason for breakouts. Another sign is when people who don’t have a history of cystic acne suddenly begin experiencing the condition.

On the other hand, women who lived with acne for most of their lives may even benefit from an IUD insertion, as many of them notice a significant improvement after introducing a hormonal device to their organism. Even though that’s not a 100% rule, the statistic is still rather positive, so it’s an excellent option to consider.


It’s a good idea for some individuals to switch to other contraceptive types, like oral contraceptives, condoms, intravaginal rings, and others. We understand that IUDs are not for everyone, so picking the safest options for one’s needs is essential. 

Hormonal Acne and IUD – How to Deal with the Problem?

If an IUD indeed worsen acne in your case, it may be a good idea to consider some recommendations on how to take care of affected skin. The main task here is to block the entry of androgen hormones into cells, which typically cause painful inflammations on the facial surface. These are universal, so even those who don’t use intrauterine devices can try them as acne treatments.
Confident young woman with acne close-up

#1. Pick the Right Skincare

A skin care regimen is vital when it comes to hormonal acne treatment. Each step should be reconsidered and discussed with a medical professional until you develop the best routine perfectly suitable for your needs and skin type. These tips and tricks may be helpful, so remember:

  • Cleanse twice daily to ensure all the external contaminants are removed properly from the facial surface;
  • Keep your hands away from pimples or inflamed areas;
  • Try chemical exfoliants. If picked according to one’s skin type and problem, a chemical exfoliant can unclog pores, which are among the top reasons that can cause acne. Applying it once weekly is enough to see a beneficial effect;
  • Include retinol and benzoyl peroxide into your routine. These components have a massive influence on better collagen production, they help replace old skin cells and thus improve the texture and tone of the facial surface.

To pick up the best products and discuss skincare recommendations, better to cover all the questions with an experienced specialist and come up with suggestions suitable specifically for your needs.

#2. Plan Your Diet

Once you know what to put on your skin, consider your insides as well. The foods we eat reflect on the skin considerably, so sometimes, it helps to regulate the diet to control acne caused by hormonal IUDs. Here are some of the basics you should know:

  • Eat vegetables on the regular basics;
  • Avoid foods with high sugar content, such as soda, white bread, chips, and other junk products;
  • Low-glycemic foods are good for you, so eat more fresh vegetables, oats, and beans;
  • Fatty fish like salmon and mackerel work well for hormonal acne treatment.

Remember, we are what we eat, so pay close attention and correct your dietary plan if needed.

#3. Keep Calm and Relax

Stress and psychological problems can worsen acne immensely, so taking good care of one’s mental health and trying stress-relieving practices is important. If such hormones as estrogen, progestin, and cortisol make a perfect environment for cystic acne development. Yoga, journaling, herbal teas, and meditation are excellent things to add to your lifestyle.

To Finalize the Topic

Hormonal acne caused by IUD insertion is an unfortunate condition that can cause discomfort and worsen one’s self-esteem, as this problem cannot be easily ignored. The main reason women experience it is the changes in their hormonal system, as most intrauterine contraceptives work with progestin and testosterone, which are typically the reason we break out in the first place. However, there is always a silver lining, so it’s possible to consult with a specialist to come up with the proper skincare routine and acne treatments suitable for one’s unique needs. Remember, there is always an alternative, so discuss all available options with a doctor to ensure the experience is safe and overall positive. Hopefully, you enjoyed reading this article. Stay tuned for more interesting information on our blog!