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Can Ashwagandha Cause Acne?

Ashwagandha is a plant that grows in the tropical regions of Asia and Africa. It is often used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat anxiety, depression, arthritis, and anemia. 

Can it cause acne? The answer is simple: yes, it can cause acne! But before you go running for the hills, hear me out. Acne is caused by inflammation in your skin, and while this herb does have inflammatory properties, there are also some benefits to using it. 

Ashwagandha can also be taken as an herbal supplement for hormone regulation or weight loss, which I explain in detail in the Unmasking Acne Resource Kit.

Let’s take a look at how ashwagandha might improve or even provoke troublesome pimples.

What is Ashwagandha, and How Does It Work?

Ashwagandha is an herb that comes from the Ayurvedic tradition in India. It has been used for thousands of years to treat many conditions, including stress, depression, arthritis, and even cancer! 

Ashwagandha means “the smell of horse” because it was believed that ingesting this plant gave you the strength and vitality like a horse. 

Because of its potent antioxidant properties, ashwagandha can be taken as a supplement or naturopathic medicine to help with many disease processes. 

Currently, studies are being conducted on these potential benefits, but there have not been any conclusive results yet since they are still preliminary.

Does Ashwagandha Cause Acne?

Ashwagandha might not directly contribute to causing acne. Still, there isn’t enough evidence from scientific literature since most research has been done on humans using animal models, limiting their reliability. 

It may also depend on the individual since everyone’s skin reacts differently to different supplements or medications. 

In general, though, most dermatologists recommend steering clear from any sort of supplement if you are looking to treat your existing acne. This includes Ashwagandha and many other “natural” treatments like tea tree oil, making things worse.

How To Tell If Your Acne is Caused By Ashwagandha?

Typically, if you start taking ashwagandha and notice that your skin is getting worse, it’s probably due to the herb. However, since everyone reacts differently, there isn’t a surefire way of knowing for sure without consulting with your doctor. 

This will allow them to analyze what changes may be happening in your body and recommend how to best address those issues, like switching medications or discontinuing supplementation.

Suppose you notice that your skin is not getting any better while taking ashwagandha and may be worsening. In that case, it’s worth talking to your dermatologist about whether the supplement could be causing this. 

While many supplements like green tea or fish oil can help reduce acne breakouts, ashwagandha might not be one of them. Most likely, they will make a new supplementation plan based on what has been working for you and try an alternative medication if necessary.

Should I stop taking Ashwagandha Because of Acne Symptoms?

If you have been taking ashwagandha for a while and notice that your acne is getting worse, it’s essential to talk with your doctor about whether the supplement could be triggering acne breakouts before you stop. 

Although most supplements are not associated with worsening acne symptoms, some do cause flare-ups. Therefore, it’s best if they can recommend an alternative medication or treatment, so you don’t have to be stuck without anything at all!


Imagine you’ve been taking ashwagandha for a while, and you’ve noticed that your skin isn’t improving or is worsening. In that case, you should consult with your dermatologist to see if the supplement is to blame. 

Make sure they know what other medications or supplements you might be taking and that they can recommend alternative treatments if necessary.

If you’re interested in supplements to help with acne check out our acne supplement guide which covers the 9 best and 3 to avoid!

Frequently Asked Questions

Does ashwagandha cause weight gain?

There isn’t much evidence right now about whether ashwagandha causes weight gain. It’s best to talk with your doctor before taking any supplement or medication that could cause changes in body weight. In general, though, most supplements out there claim they will help you lose weight if taken regularly, so it might be worth talking to them first!

Is ashwagandha good for females?

Since most studies on ashwagandha have been conducted using male test subjects, it’s difficult to say whether or not this supplement works for women. There is no significant difference between female and male mice in terms of their weight loss, but since the sample sizes were small, it cannot be confident what will happen with larger groups of people.

What are some other supplements which may cause acne?

One supplement which has been shown to cause acne in specific individuals is tea tree oil. This can be found in many different topical creams and ointments, especially those claiming to treat or prevent acne. Additionally, supplements like green tea and fish oil might cause problems in some people, so it’s best to talk with your doctor first if you’re looking to take one of these.

Does ashwagandha dry skin?

While there isn’t much evidence to say whether or not ashwagandha causes dry skin, it does appear that this supplement might help with some of the problems associated with having too much sebum production. In general, though, most dermatologists recommend steering clear from any sort of supplement if you are looking to treat your existing acne.

Need more help? Ask our team!

I’ve helped over 2,500 people clear their acne naturally. If you cannot easily find an answer to your question on the website, please reach out to me by email ([email protected]) or send me a message on Instagram or Twitter. I will reply within 24 hours.

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sam wood is GoodGlow's Chief Editor
Analyzed by Sam Wood
Hi I’m Sam Wood. I’m the chief editor, lead acne expert, and health coach behind GoodGlow. I’m also an author of one of the top selling acne books on Amazon, a husband, father of two, and a pretty good cook! I’m so glad you found GoodGlow and hope the information I have spent the last 10 years cultivating will help you clear your skin and improve your overall health. I began experiencing acne breakotus as a sophomore in high school, but unlike most of my friends, my acne actually got worse as I got into my 20s. I exercised regularly, ate healthy (or so I thought) and spent hundreds of dollars a month on high end skincare products and supplements to help clear my skin. Despite these measures my acne breakouts and scarring only got worse as the years wore on. This greatly wore on my self confidence and mental health. Simple things like taking pictures or going out with a large group made me feel self conscious. So I avoided these situations whenever I could help it. As a last ditch effort I decided to try an extremely restrictive diet recommended by a close friend with an autoimmune disease. After following this diet for about two months my skin started to clear for the first time in over 8 years. The good news is that this restrictive diet is not actually necessary for 99% of people to permanently clear their skin, and over the course of a few months I was able to add back about 90% of my “normal diet”. After clearing my skin I spent the next 4 years self experimenting on myself with different diets, supplements, skincare products to try and find a pattern for what was triggering my acne breakouts. I even tried different meditation, ice baths, and accupuncture to try and isolate the root cause of the breakouts. In the end I realized that an extremely restrictive diet was not necessary for clear skin. The most important thing to do is to avoid inflammatory foods in your diet. Some common examples of this are fried foods, alcohol, sugar, and dairy. Most impoirtantly I stopped reading trendy websites for skincare advice and began reading medical journals authored by dermatologists and nutritionists. Although the information in the articles was great the information was not easily understandable to most readers (including me). I spent hours dissecting individual posts and looking up terms I did not understand. Over the next 6 months I gradually began to understand these journals and started self experiemting some of the research on myself. After experiencing quite a bit of success personally, I started sharing my research on forums and with close friends struggling with acne. When I shared the research it was in easy to understand, plain English. Everyone I talked to loved what I had to say and kept asking more and more questions. So I decided to start a blog so I could just send someone a link when they asked a question instead of rewriting something I had sent 100 times before 😅 While the same directional principles apply to everyone, acne is very personal and should be treated on an individual basis. That’s ultimately why I created GoodGlow. To help everyone reverse engineer the root cause of their acne and clear their skin permanently. To date I’ve helped over 2,500 people clear their skin using a natural, holistic approach. If you are unable to find an answer to your question in any of the articles my team has written please reach out and I will do my best to guide you to the proper information and resources so you can make a thoughtful, informed decision. Read more of Sam's articles.

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