Does Adderall Cause Acne?

(Last Updated On: May 8, 2019)

In the modern world, being really successful in business or in your education requires that you’re smart, productive, and efficient at all times. The competitive nature of the business world and what it takes to get into the top universities has led to many people attempting to find ways to give themselves an edge over the competition. Nootropics are one way that people are attempting to boost their brain function. But what are nootropics and are they safe?

What Are Nootropics?

What Are Nootropics

Nootropics are often also called “smart drugs” because they enhance brain function, including the memory, ability to learn and concentration.

In 1972, a Romanian chemist came up with the word nootropic to classify drugs that boosted the function of the brain. He had already developed piracetam in 1964, which was the first known nootropic.

To be classed as a nootropic, drugs have to fit certain criteria. They have to;

  • Boost memory and the ability to learn
  • Protect the brain from chemical injury
  • Lack stimulant or sedative effects, and any negative side effects, and have no detectable toxicity
  • Make communication between the neurons and the different sides of the brain more efficient
  • Nootropics are reputed to have noticeable effects on several different areas of brain function, including enhancing cognitive ability and memory, as well as boosting energy and focus.

Are Nootropic Drugs Completely Safe?

Are Nootropic Drugs Completely Safe

Any drug that affects the chemistry of the brain comes with risks. If you are considering using nootropics, always make sure you weigh up the pros and cons of using your chosen nootropic. Finding the right one for you will most likely be a case of trial and error.

Of the nootropics, piracetam is one of the safest, and in general, the racetam class of nootropics are relatively free from side effects, so if you are using them for the first time, maybe consider noopept, aniracetam, oxiracetam, or pramiracetam.

How Do Nootropics Work?

How Do Nootropics Work

Nootropics can be very effective at enhancing your memory, ability to learn, and concentration, but the effects are temporary, so they must be taken for a considerable length of time. The brain will soon return to its natural state once you stop taking them.

The positive effects of nootropics occur because of the effect they have on the production of neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin. An increased level of neurotransmitters has beneficial effects on the mood, memory, concentration, energy, and attention span.

Nootropics also boost the flow of blood to the brain. As a result, your brain will get a better supply of glucose, nutrients, and oxygen, all of which are crucial for prolonged concentration and tough mental work.

Who Can Benefit from Using Nootropics?

Who Can Benefit from Using Nootropics

Students will benefit from the appropriate use of nootropic supplements like piracetam. When they are studying for exams or doing lengthy final year projects, they need their brains to performing well for longer.

But they aren’t just for students. Nootropics will help anyone with a heavy workload, or people who work long shifts, who feel like their brains need a little help to deal with having to work and concentrate for long periods. They are the perfect drugs to help you meet a tight deadline or finish a tricky project in record time.

The interest in nootropics is increasing, and there are many places where you can buy them. Always stick to reputable suppliers, and as always, seek medical advice before you take any supplement or drug, especially if you are on medication or you have an existing health condition.

some of the best suppliers of nootropic drugs online include Onnit, Peak Nootropics, and Clever Meds. They have a reputation for selling high quality and safe products, which should be your top priority if you are considering using nootropics.


What is Adderall (2)

Adderall is a prescription medication that consists of dextroamphetamine and amphetamine, and it’s classed as a stimulant that increases attention span, concentration and focus. It is most often used to treat ADHD and narcolepsy, but it’s also used off-license as a smart drug and wakefulness agent.

The drug comes with warnings about potentially serious side effects as well as the risk of addiction, developing a tolerance, and withdrawal effects.

How Does Adderall Work?

How Does Adderall Work

The Adderall enters the bloodstream, then the nervous system, and it’s carried to the brain where it’s taken up by the neurons in the brain. The drug then works on the areas of the brain that produce and store the chemical neurotransmitters Dopamine, Norepinephrine, and Adrenaline. These are released when you are stressed or excited, and at times when you need extra energy and focus. Adderall boosts the levels of these chemicals in the nervous system, and the result is an increased heart rate and blood pressure, higher energy levels and increased concentration, alertness, and attention.

The Benefits of Adderall

The Benefits of Adderall

The main benefit that Adderall users report is that it lifts the mood and can even induce feelings of euphoria.

Any positive effects are likely to be down to the increased levels of Dopamine, Serotonin, and Adrenaline in the brain, which can also make you feel more attentive and focused. Users also report that they feel more motivated and productive.

There’s some evidence that the drug can even increase the size of the areas of the brain that control attention, motivation, and focus.

Because it is a stimulant, Adderall is also an effective appetite suppressant and some people use it off label for weight loss.

Recommended Dosage

Recommended Dosage

The therapeutic dose that is appropriate for someone to take depends on the age of the person taking it, and the reason why they are taking it. Adderall should always be taken under medical supervision. The recommended dose for adults it 5-60mg per day, taken 4-6 hours apart.

The Side Effects of Adderall

The Side Effects of Adderall

The jury is out on whether people develop tolerance with Adderall when they take even small doses. The main concern that doctors have is that it takes time for the body to get back to normal after using Adderall. The brain takes time to get back to producing its neurotransmitters naturally without the help of the drug. The crossover between the amount of Adderall still in your system plus the body starting its own production of neurotransmitters creates the potential for neurotoxicity or adrenal fatigue because levels of the chemicals are too high in the brain.

Commonly reported side effects of Adderall use include dry mouth, appetite loss, trouble sleeping, and anxiety. The drug is not recommended for people with heart problems as it raises the blood pressure and heart rate.

People who have an overactive thyroid, glaucoma, epilepsy, anxiety and agitation should not use the drug either.

The side effects of the drug are a common reason why many people look to safer alternatives like Modafinil.

Although Adderall is very effective, there are some considerable risks associated with it. Rather than using it constantly, use it when needed, and always get advice from a medical professional. Many people who have used Adderall in the past have looked to alternatives like Noopept, which produce the desired effect but without the side effects.

Can Adderall Cause Acne?

Can Adderall Cause Acne

Acne is a common skin problem that affects many people at some point in their lives. The condition is caused by an overproduction of oil on the skin and is characterized by spots that appear mainly on the face, back and chest, as this is where the most oil glands are located.

Who’s Affected?

Who's Affected with acne

Acne is most common in teenagers and younger adults. About 80% of people aged 11 to 30 are affected by acne at any one time.

Acne is most often seen in girls between the ages of 14 to 17, and in boys between the ages of 16 to 19.

Most people have episodes of acne for several years before their symptoms start to reduce as they get older. Acne often disappears when you reach your mid-twenties.

In some people, acne continues into adulthood. About 5% of women over 25 and 1% of men have acne. This is largely due to hormonal or genetic factors.

What Causes Acne?

What Causes Acne

Acne is closely linked to the changes in hormone levels that occur during puberty, but you can get it at any age. Some of these hormones cause the oil-producing glands near the hair follicles to produce excessive amounts of oil. The excess amount of oil increases the amount of a bacterium called P. acne which is normally harmless, but when it multiplies, it causes inflammation and pus to form. The hormones also thicken the lining of the hair follicle, which causes blocked pores.

Acne can also run in families and it can occur at any time of life where there are hormonal changes, including menstruation and pregnancy.

Many people buy into the myth that eating sugary or greasy food can cause acne, but this is not proven.

Types of Spots Caused by Acne:

Types of Spots Caused by Acne

Blackheads: these are small black bumps on the skin, which are black because of pigment, not dirt as some people believe.

Whiteheads: These appear similar to blackheads but tend to feel firmer and they won’t empty you squeeze them.

Papules: These are small red bumps that can feel sore.

Pustules: These are similar to papules, but they have a white centre, which is a build-up of pus.

Nodules: These are large hard lumps that build up under the skin’s surface. They can be very painful.

Cysts: These are large pus-filled lumps that look the same as boils and if they burst, they can leave scars.

Self-Help Tips for Acne

Self-Help Tips for Acne

Don’t wash the affected areas of skin more than twice each day. Washing the skin too often can irritate it and make acne worse.

Wash the affected skin with a mild cleanser and warm water. If the water you use is too hot or cold it can make acne worse.

Don’t squeeze spots or blackheads as this can cause scarring.

Don’t wear too much makeup. If you must wear it, use water-based products that are non-comedogenic, which means that it won’t clog your pores. Always remove makeup before bed.

If your skin is dry, use a water-based emollient.

Always shower as soon as you finish exercising, as sweat can irritate acne.

Keep hair off your face as oil and grease can clog the pores and worsen acne.

Treatment for Acne

Treatment for Acne

First line treatments for acne include over the counter lotions and washes that contain benzoyl peroxide. If your acne is severe, it might need to be treated with antibiotics or stronger medicated creams.

When to See Your Doctor

When to See Your Doctor

Speak to your doctor is over the counter remedies aren’t working for you, or if the appearance of acne is causing you distress.

If you develop cysts or nodules, this warrants medical attention as they need to be treated properly. If they aren’t, it can lead to permanent scarring. Most acne treatments can take up to 3 months to work, so you’ll need to be patient.

Adderall and Acne

Adderall and Acne

If you take a medication like Adderall for ADHD or narcolepsy, the chances are that you’ve noticed your skin starting to break out. Skin reactions are quite a common side effect of taking Adderall but like all side effects, not everyone gets them. You may even notice the smell and feel of your skin is different. But does Adderall cause acne? Some experts believe that it does.

How Can Adderall Cause Acne?

How Can Adderall Cause Acne

  • It increases your blood sugar levels
  • It can leave you constipated
  • It can dry your skin out
  • It can trigger the release of stress hormones

Here’s how these impact upon the skin:

Because Adderall triggers a ‘fight or flight response’ in the body, it causes the body to produce more glucose in response to any impending danger. High blood sugar levels create an inflammatory response in the body, and acne occurs due to inflammation.

Being constipated can cause problems with your skin. If waste is not eliminated from the body, they cause the liver and kidneys to work too hard, and it will show in your skin. Also, if you’re constipated, this can cause problems with nutrient absorption, so your skin won’t be getting everything it needs.

Adderall is a stimulant which can cause dry skin. Oily skin is not the only skin type that is prone to acne. When the skin is dry, it weakens its protective barrier, and this barrier protects you from bacteria, fungi, and viruses. If the barrier is weak, it’s easier for acne causing bacteria to multiply and cause breakouts.

The ‘fight or flight’ response that Adderall causes in the body causes stress hormones to be released, and one of these, namely cortisol, is known to cause acne. The more cortisol you have in your body, the more oil your skin’s glands produce, and this can clog pores and cause breakouts. Cortisol also triggers extra blood sugar to be released into your system, and as mentioned earlier, this causes skin problems. Cortisol can also damage the proteins that keep the skin strong and give it its elasticity, and if these proteins are damaged, the skin can become irritated and prone to breakouts.

So Should You Stop Taking Adderall?

So Should You Stop Taking Adderall

Like any drug, it would depend on whether the side effects you get from taking it outweigh the benefits. Acne can greatly affect your self-esteem and quality of life if it’s severe, and if this is the case, you should talk about suitable alternatives with your doctor.

How to Combat Adderall’s Acne-Causing Side Effects

How to Combat Adderall's Acne-Causing Side Effects

Here are some tips on how to combat the side effects of Adderall that can cause acne;

To reduce stress:

Deep breathing has been shown to lower the levels of the stress hormone cortisol, and it also clears your mind. You can do this whenever and wherever you want. For best results, try to do it a few times per day. Try meditating too, which can relax you and reduce stress. For people with conditions like ADHD, Adderall can actually make it possible for them to be calm enough to be able to meditate.

To tackle constipation:

Drink warm water with lemon, which can help to stimulate the digestive system because lemon is a natural laxative.

Peppermint Tea is another good stimulant for the digestive system.

Don’t forget to drink more water. Dehydration is a leading cause of constipation, so drinking more water will help.

To relieve dry skin:

Don’t take hot baths or showers as they can zap the moisture from your skin. Adderall can cause skin dryness, and this will make the problem worse.

Moisturise as soon as you get out of the shower to lock moisture into the skin which will form a barrier to acne causing bacteria.

Avoid alcohol-based cleansers and toners as they can strip your skin of moisture too.

Final Thoughts

Adderall is a very effective drug for the management of ADHD symptoms and narcolepsy, but it’s very potent, which can lead to considerable side effects, one of which is skin breakouts and acne. If the acne is mild and it doesn’t bother you too much, stick with the medication, however if it really affects your quality of life, speak to your doctor about any alternative medications you can use to control your symptoms.


Written by Irina Radosevic MD
Irina graduated from the University of Belgrade, School of Medicine as a Doctor of Medicine (MD) and spent over 3 years working in the Clinical Hospital Center Zvezdara, in the Department of Emergency Medicine. She also undertook a postgraduate in Cardiology from the same University and had previously worked for over a year as a Physician and Nutritionist Dietitian for the Fitness club Green Zone. She eventually left her chaotic but fulfilling job in the ER to pursue her passion of writing, travelling and mountain climbing which has included writing a first aid course for the alpine club of Belgrade. Irina currently works as a VA for PintMedia focusing on medical and travel writing. Feel free to connect with Irina on LinkedIn and FaceBook. Her CV can be seen here.