Do Hormonal IUDs (Mirena) Cause Acne?

The use of birth control devices has grown in popularity in recent years, owing to their effectiveness and ease of access. 

The Mirena IUD, on the other hand, can cause acne in some women. Following the insertion of an IUD, some women will experience acne breakouts. 

Although the exact cause of this is unknown, some speculate that it may be related to hormonal changes caused by Mirena. 

Please continue reading if you are considering getting an IUD or if you already have one to learn about the potential side effects of this birth control method!

What is an IUD & How Does it Work?

An IUD is a device that is inserted into the uterus to prevent pregnancy. It is a T-shaped device that sits inside the uterus. 

The primary hormone IUDs release progestin, which prevents pregnancy by making it more difficult for a fertilized egg to attach to the lining of the uterus (implantation)— by keeping thick cervical mucus and making it hard for sperm to travel through the cervix and up into your uterus. 

They are safe and effective for most women. Many women use them as a long-term birth control solution. IUDs are 99% effective at preventing pregnancy, but they do not protect against STDs. An IUD can be taken out anytime you want to get pregnant or decide to no longer need it.

How does Mirena Work?

The intrauterine device Mirena releases a small amount of hormone, the progestin levonorgestrel. This is used to prevent pregnancy and help clear acne in some women by reducing excess oil production on their skin. 

Unfortunately, some doctors prescribe this contraceptive specifically for that purpose alone! 

If you do decide to give Mirena a try, make sure your doctor monitors how effective it is at preventing pregnancy before prescribing another type of birth control with it combined for more serious cases of hormonal acne treatment.

Does the IUD Cause Acne, or does Mirena Cause Acne?

The IUD can cause acne, but it is not likely. Mirena is the only hormonal IUD that contains progestin which may worsen pre-existing acne or even produce new breakouts. It is also worth noting that emergency contraceptive medication also contains a high dose of progestin, which can also trigger acne breakouts.

In addition, acne might be caused by inflammation around your hair follicles due to high levels of prostaglandins. This will change hormone production and decrease sebum production in women who are prone to both conditions. 

If you have a history of either condition, make sure your doctor knows about it before using an IUD as a long-term birth control solution. In addition, pregnancy hormones could increase this risk further if present during pregnancy days 20 – 40 (the implantation window).

Risks of Acne with IUDs & Mirena 

Mirena is also associated with other side effects, which should be considered. Most common are ovarian cysts and uterine cramps, followed by irregular menstrual bleeding/ spotting; nausea; headache; breast pain or tenderness (mastalgia); mood changes such as depression or anxiety; acne flare-ups in some women. 

Mirena may also cause dangerous blood clots to form in your legs (deep vein thrombosis), lungs (pulmonary embolism), and eyes (thromboembolic retinopathy). 

Other rare but severe complications of the IUDs during pregnancy include miscarriage, septic abortion, preterm labor and delivery, low birth weight infants due to early placenta detachment, and pelvic inflammatory disease.

Pro’s & Con’s of using an IUD or Mirena for birth control

One of the most common concerns is whether an IUD or Mirena can cause acne. You may have heard a friend mention that their sister’s skin cleared up after they started using birth control, and you wonder if it could be related to your problem with acne. 

The truth is, there have not been any studies confirming this association between hormonal contraception and breakouts, but some dermatologists do believe that there might be a connection between these two things.

A few pros are:

  • Highly successful in preventing pregnancy
  • Reasonably priced
  • Great for married couples

A few cons are: 

  • Can cause side-effects such as acne


Now that you know what IUDs are and how they work, you might better understand why many women choose this form of birth control. In addition to being extremely safe, it also has the added benefits of helping with menstrual cramps and reducing spotting during your cycle. 

In addition, there is no hormonal disruption in the body like there is with other forms of contraceptives such as pills or patches. 

When choosing which method best fits us, we must consider all factors, whether for cosmetic purposes or health reasons!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Gynecologists Help with Acne?

Gynos may specialize in acne treatment, but they can also help with an IUD. However, since acne is not a common side effect of IUD, seeing an endocrinologist may be more helpful.

What are the Side Effects of Mirena?

Potential side effects include ovarian cysts, headache or dizziness, breast pain or tenderness, nausea/vomiting, and temporary depression. Rarely reported severe complications to have pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).

How can Progesterone Help my Acne Breakouts?

It does this by reducing the amount of testosterone that is produced in women. This makes sure that you have less oil production, which will reduce your chances of getting a breakout.

Originally Published: November 22, 2021

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sam wood is GoodGlow's Chief Editor
Analyzed by Sam Wood

Hi, I’m Sam Wood, the chief editor, lead acne expert, and health coach at GoodGlow, as well as a best-selling author for one of the top acne books on Amazon. I struggled with acne for over 10 years, and began studying the effects of diet on skin quality while pursuing a degree in Nutrition Sciences at the University of Missouri. After shifting from mainstream skincare trends to in-depth research in medical journals, I experienced significant personal success in managing my acne. This inspired me to start GoodGlow, where I simplify complex scientific findings into easy-to-understand advice. With over 10 years in the field, I’ve helped more than 2,500 people achieve clearer skin through natural, holistic methods, and I’m dedicated to personally assisting those seeking guidance on their acne journey.

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