Can Ashwagandha Cause Acne? | Scientific Evidence

Ashwagandha root use is going up, as millions of people are distrustful of main-stream prescription drugs. Recent data suggests that less than half of all Americans trust pharmaceutical companies, with over a third actively distrusting them.

It makes sense, then, that people with a problem as common as acne would be interested in herbal remedies. Or, would be interested if the herbal remedy they’re taking for something else can actually make their acne worse. Acne afflicts up to 85% of adolescents (under 25), and can even hit millions of people well into their 40s.

In this article we’ll explore three distinct lines of thought: does Ashwagandha cause acne?; can Ashwagandha prevent acne?; and can Ashwagandha help with other problems that can lead to acne.

What You Need to Know:

  • No data have been reported that Ashwagandha causes Acne.
  • Acne is primarily caused by conditions above the skin; contrary to some belief, it has little to do with hormones, except in cases of steroid use.
  • This is the result of abnormally high levels of Testosterone, and generally isn’t seen in people returning to normal T-Levels.
  • One effect of Ashwagandha (reducing stress) may actually have anti-acne benefits.

What Causes Acne?

Acne is a skin condition that covers a wide-range of visible effects. Technically speaking, acne is a result of what’s going on under the skin, not above it.

In general terms, acne is caused when our bodies create too much sebum (a type of oil), and this clogs the natural pores and hair follicles in our skin. This is made worse when dead skin becomes trapped in the oil and bacteria begins to grow there. This all causes irritation and inflammation, resulting in the pimples, black heads, and other acne symptoms we all know.

Hormonal causes of excess Sebum are actually quite low, with other causes including medication, diet, and stress.

Before we go further, we should point out that sebum oil is important for healthy skin. It’s present in miniscule amounts all over our body, and prevents cracking (which can lead to internal infections), protects us from ultraviolet light damage, and keeps us protected from moisture in the air. So we don’t want to get rid of it, only rein it in so we don’t get acne.

What Leads to Excess Oil?

There are several factors that can lead to this increase in sebum production, but we’ll focus on the two main causes, and how Ashwagandha may or may not influence those causes.


Many people who suffer from acne into adulthood can tell you from their experience that stress can definitely cause an outbreak. In a nod to the truth of those individual experiences, studies have shown that acne is a proven stress-response

Which brings us to our first way Ashwagandha may actually help with acne symptoms, rather than cause them. Several studies such as this one found that Ashwagandha could improve how well we handle stress, and some studies have even seen our stress hormone levels (Cortisol) drop when taking Ashwagandha.


Testosterone triggers the growth of everything from bones to muscles, and yes, can increase the production of that oily substance known as sebum. But at least one study found no connection between higher testosterone and acne. This could mean that hormone related acne is based on individual “normal” testosterone levels.

That means that for each person’s biological base-line of Testosterone, exceeding it by levels as experienced in puberty could lead to acne. But staying within our natural, healthy levels shouldn’t lead to excess sebum production, and thus, won’t cause acne. 

For anyone using Ashwagandha has a T-Booster, this is good news. Because Ashwagandha only helps you reach your natural optimum T-Levels, it shouldn’t lead to any hormone-related acne. 

Ashwagandha: Track-Record of Safety

There simply isn’t room in just one article to cite every single Ashwagandha study I’ve ever read. But anyone who has a weekend to kill can click all the links I’ve provided here at the Great Green Wall. Or, I can save you that time and just tell you: no trial of Ashwagandha has listed any side effects of using it.

No heart troubles, no blood pressure or blood sugar spikes, and no acne breakouts. And I’ll point out that in all of the Ashwagandha studies researching the Testosterone link, none mentioned acne either.

Final Thoughts

While there are some hormonal causes of acne, no one taking Ashwagandha should be concerned. If anything, there is some ancillary evidence that Ashwagandha may even reduce acne by mitigating our stress response. 

And even if you’re taking Ashwagandha for Testosterone, this will only bring your T-Levels back up to where they belong–not spike them as a dangerous steroid might.

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About the Author

Sam is a passionate health and fitness enthusiast who has been interested in supplements, fitness, and wellness for over 10 years. He is the founder of Great Green Wall - the health and wellness brand and has completed multiple fitness certificates, including personal training and nutrition certifications. Sam has been working as a personal trainer for the past three years and is dedicated to helping his clients achieve their fitness goals and lead healthier lifestyles. He believes that a healthy lifestyle is crucial to a happy and fulfilling life and is committed to sharing his knowledge and passion with others.

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