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Skin & Beauty

Does Ashwagandha Cause Acne?


Closeup Acne on Woman’s Face With Rash Skin

In the wave of holistic health and wellness trends, one question emerges prominently: Does ashwagandha cause acne? This article dives deep into the relationship between the herb Withania Somnifera, commonly known as ashwagandha, and acne.

Originating from Ayurvedic traditions, ashwagandha is recognized for its adaptogenic properties, aiding the body in managing stress[1]. While it offers numerous health benefits, concerns arise about its potential effects on skin health. The core query we address: Could ashwagandha contribute to acne breakouts?

Acne is a complex skin condition, influenced by factors like oil production, inflammation, and clogged pores. Given the popularity of ashwagandha supplements, it’s essential to investigate any potential links. In this article, we will review scientific data to understand ashwagandha’s impact on skin and overall health.

It’s crucial to emphasize that individual reactions to supplements can vary widely based on dosage, genetics, and other health factors. Throughout this review, we’ll detail the mechanisms by which ashwagandha may or may not affect acne, presenting research findings along the way. Our goal is clear: To answer the question, Does ashwagandha cause acne?

Does Ashwagandha Cause Acne? Lets Find Out!

A Visual by PureHealth Research on ashwagandha and acne

Current scientific data have yet to confirm a direct connection between ashwagandha intake and acne development. It’s crucial to recognize that individuals may respond differently to supplements. As studies continue to probe the relationship between ashwagandha and skin health, those considering its use should consult with a medical expert, especially if they hold concerns about potential skin reactions.

How Ashwagandha Interacts with Acne: What We Know

Bowl of Grinded Ashwagandha Next to Ashwagandha Sticks

Acne is a multifaceted skin condition that can manifest in various ways, largely influenced by genetics, environment, and individual factors. As the holistic wellness movement grows, many are asking about ashwagandha’s role in acne development or alleviation. Here’s what current research suggests.

Hormonal Acne

Hormonal acne, marked by its connection to hormonal imbalances, can lead to increased oil production and inflammation. While ashwagandha is known for its adaptogenic properties—helping the body manage stress—it’s unclear how or if it directly impacts hormonal acne. Some anecdotal accounts suggest a link between ashwagandha intake and hormonal acne flare-ups, but we lack robust scientific evidence to draw definitive conclusions.

Inflammatory Acne

Inflammatory acne is primarily a response to bacteria, excess sebum, and inflammation. While ashwagandha has been traditionally believed to possess anti-inflammatory qualities[2], this doesn’t directly translate to it being a remedy for inflammatory acne. Current research has not established a definitive connection between ashwagandha consumption and reduced inflammatory acne.

Cystic Acne

Cystic acne, known for its tender, deep lesions, arises from a combination of genetics, hormones, and inflammation. Some believe that ashwagandha might exacerbate cystic acne due to its potential effects on male hormone T- levels. However, this link is speculative, and more research is needed to understand the relationship fully.

Non-inflammatory Acne or Comedonal Acne

This type, which includes conditions like whiteheads and blackheads, emerges when pores clog and sebum accumulates. Any claim suggesting ashwagandha’s direct role in non-inflammatory acne is largely anecdotal. Rigorous scientific studies are needed to provide clarity.

Acne’s complexity arises from genetics, environment, and personal factors. With the increasing interest in holistic wellness, ashwagandha’s potential influence on acne is under scrutiny. 

Presently, while ashwagandha is valued for stress management, its direct effect on various acne types remains uncertain. Current understanding is a mix of traditional beliefs, anecdotal accounts, and limited scientific evidence, highlighting the need for more research.

6 Ashwagandha’s Benefits for Holistic Wellness

Ashwagandha Powder and Roots in Wooden Cups on Black Background

Ashwagandha, a well-regarded herb, offers a range of benefits that potentially support both mind and body wellness. Here’s a deep dive into its notable contributions:

1. Stress Management

In today’s fast-moving world, managing stress is crucial, not just for mental well-being but also for skin health. Ashwagandha, renowned for its adaptogenic properties[3], helps balance cortisol levels—our primary stress hormone. While it’s not a direct solution for conditions like acne, incorporating Ashwagandha can address a key trigger: stress. Using this herb is a strategic step towards holistic wellness and better skin health.

2. Mental Health Challenges

Ashwagandha is rich in bioactive components, particularly alkaloids and withanolides[4]. These compounds are believed to strengthen the brain’s resistance to stress, regulate neurotransmitter levels, and support neuroplasticity — the brain’s capacity for adaptation. Given these properties, ashwagandha presents a compelling option for those seeking natural ways to manage feelings of distress and dark mood.

3. Improved Sleep

Ashwagandha has garnered attention for its potential to enhance sleep quality. Multiple studies have delved into its effects, revealing promising outcomes.

A 2021 study[5] with 400 participants observed the impact of ashwagandha extract on sleep for both people with and without sleep problems. The results were noteworthy, particularly for those with sleep disorders:

  • Quicker Sleep Onset: Participants fell asleep more rapidly.
  • Enhanced Sleep Efficiency: A greater portion of the night was spent in restful sleep.
  • Extended Total Sleep Time: Sleep duration was effectively lengthened.
  • Fewer Disturbances: There was a decrease in periods of wakefulness after initially drifting off to sleep.
  • Morning Alertness: Upon waking, participants felt more mentally alert.

In light of these findings, ashwagandha presents itself as a viable natural option for those aiming to enhance their sleep quality and overall well-being.

4. Cognitive Enhancement

Ashwagandha is believed to positively influence neural pathways and cognition. Recent studies[6] indicate its ability to augment sustained attention and boost short-term memory. Given these insights, ashwagandha emerges as a promising supplement for those pursuing natural methods to enhance cognitive function.

5. Support for Thyroid Function

Ashwagandha root extract exhibits promising potential in normalizing thyroid indices, especially for individuals with subclinical hypothyroidism. Here’re a few key findings after an 8-week treatment period described in this study[7]:

  • Ashwagandha was found to significantly improve serum TSH, T3 (triiodothyronine), and T4 (thyroxine) levels in comparison to the placebo.
  • The normalization of these thyroid indices with ashwagandha treatment was significantly consistent throughout the 8-week duration.
  • From the 50 initial participants, only four reported mild and short-lived adverse effects, with only one from the ashwagandha group and three from the placebo group.

This highlights ashwagandha as a potential natural solution for managing this thyroid condition. However, as with all therapies, individual responses can vary, and it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement regimen.

6. Immune System Boost

Ashwagandha, a well-known herb, has recently been studied for its potential to support our immune system[8]. The research shows that ashwagandha can help increase certain important immune cells and markers in our body, which are vital for fighting off illnesses. This backs up its traditional use as a herb that not only strengthens our defenses against pathogenic agents but also helps rejuvenate our body and counter stress. In essence, ashwagandha might be a natural way to give our immune system a helping hand.

What Are the Biggest Side Effects of Ashwagandha?

Hand of Mature Man Holding Abdomen Suffering From Ache, Diarrhea or Indigestive Problem

We recognize that when it comes to personal health, you need clear and authoritative information. Ashwagandha, often praised for its numerous benefits, does come with its set of considerations. Let’s delve deep to understand the side effects, address common concerns, and guide you in making informed decisions about its usage.

Allergic Reactions

Allergic reactions to ashwagandha are rare, yet vital to be aware of. If you’ve ever shown sensitivity to the Solanaceae family of plants, think tomatoes or bell peppers, ashwagandha might be a concern. Symptoms could range from skin rashes and itching to severe responses like breathing challenges or, in exceptional cases, anaphylaxis—a condition needing immediate medical attention.

Considering ashwagandha? We recommend a preliminary patch test. And always remember: safety first. Should any unusual symptoms appear post-consumption, cease intake and consult a healthcare professional immediately.

Hormonal Changes

It’s essential to understand that while ashwagandha can influence hormonal balance, it might not be the right choice for everyone.

For individuals with hormone-sensitive conditions—such as breast or ovarian malignancies, or even thyroid-related issues—ashwagandha requires a cautious approach. These conditions often have specialized medical treatment protocols, and introducing an element that modulates hormone levels might be counterproductive.

Upset Stomach and Diarrhea

One thing to remember is that ashwagandha may cause issues for some individuals. While most people can handle ashwagandha without any problems, a few might experience discomfort in the stomach, bloating, or even diarrhea after taking this herb. These effects on the system could be due to ashwagandha’s impact on the gut microbiome or its ability to stimulate digestion.

To minimize the chances of experiencing discomfort, you might want to start with a lower dose of ashwagandha and gradually increase it over time. This approach allows your body to adjust and helps you gauge your tolerance level. Additionally, taking ashwagandha with food can sometimes alleviate any stomach issues.

Who Should Avoid Ashwagandha?

Anonymous Crowd of People Walking on a Busy Street

Ashwagandha’s potential benefits might not be suitable for everyone. Due to their health conditions or medications, certain individuals should exercise caution or avoid the herb altogether. Here are some groups that should consider refraining from ashwagandha use:

  • Pregnant and Breastfeeding Women: Traditional Ayurvedic practice does use ashwagandha during pregnancy, but there have been concerns about its potential to cause miscarriage. Due to the limited amount of research and possible adverse effects, it’s commonly recommended for pregnant women to avoid ashwagandha.
  • Individuals With Autoimmune Disorders: The modulating properties of ashwagandha may have the potential to aggravate disorders, such as those where the immune system mistakingly attack the joints, nervous system, or other organ systems.. The impact of ashwagandha on responses could potentially worsen these conditions, resulting in heightened inflammation and exacerbation of symptoms.
  • People With Thyroid Issues: Individuals with thyroid disorders, especially hyperthyroidism, should exercise caution with ashwagandha. The herb’s potential to affect thyroid hormone levels could interfere with thyroid medication or worsen underlying thyroid conditions. 
  • People on Immunosuppressive Medications: Ashwagandha’s immune-modulating properties might interact with immunosuppressive medications, commonly prescribed to prevent organ transplant rejection or manage autoimmune conditions. Using ashwagandha alongside these medications could potentially compromise the desired immune-suppressing effects.

While ashwagandha offers numerous potential benefits, it’s crucial to recognize if you fall into one of these categories and prioritize your health and safety by consulting with a healthcare professional before incorporating this herb into your regimen.

Unveil Radiant Skin with Acne Clear Formula

Having delved into the multifaceted benefits and cautions surrounding ashwagandha, it’s evident that nature’s offerings can be profound. Similarly, when seeking out skin solutions, it’s worthwhile to consider natural, comprehensive approaches. Take a glance at PureHealth Research’s Acne Clear Formula.

Acne Clear Formula Supplement Bottle by Purehealth Research
  • Holistic Approach: Just as ashwagandha addresses overall health, Acne Clear Formula targets the root causes of acne, not just the surface symptoms.
  • Science Meets Nature: Combining cutting-edge research with potent natural ingredients ensures the best of both worlds for skin health.
  • Commitment to Quality: In a manner reminiscent of traditional herbs’ meticulous sourcing, every ingredient in Acne Clear Formula is backed by scientific research and chosen for its potential to promote clear skin.

Take your skincare regimen a step further with Doctor Holly Lucille, ND recommended, Acne Clear Formula, by harnessing the power of nature, combined with today’s research, to achieve that desired clear and radiant complexion.

Key Takeaways

As we wrap up our in-depth exploration on the intricate interplay between ashwagandha and skin health, let’s revisit the salient points that emerged from our discussion.

  • So Does Ashwagandha Cause Acne?: No definitive evidence directly links ashwagandha intake with acne. Individual reactions to the herb can be diverse due to factors like dosage, genetics, and overall health.
  • Ashwagandha’s Holistic Benefits:
    • Might support stress management by balancing cortisol levels.
    • May benefit mental health, potentially aiding in feelings of distress and mood challenges.
    • Potentially promotes improved sleep quality.
    • May enhance cognitive function and memory.
    • Offers potential support for thyroid function, particularly in subclinical hypothyroidism cases.
    • Might support the immune system, reinforcing traditional uses.
  • Side Effects of Ashwagandha:
    • Potential allergic reactions, especially for those sensitive to the Solanaceae plant family.
    • Possible hormonal imbalances.
    • Gastrointestinal issues like upset stomach and diarrhea for some individuals.

In essence, while ashwagandha boasts a plethora of potential benefits, its relationship with acne remains complex. Always consult with healthcare professionals before incorporating new supplements into your regimen.

Informed choices stand paramount; the path to clear skin embraces holistic approaches and involves professional input before introducing ashwagandha. Let evidence and knowledge illuminate the route to healthier, clearer skin as wellness evolves.


[1] ASHWAGANDHA: Overview, uses, side effects, precautions, interactions, dosing and reviews. (n.d.).  

[2] Sikandan, A., Shinomiya, T., & Nagahara, Y. (2018). Ashwagandha root extract exerts anti‑inflammatory effects in HaCaT cells by inhibiting the MAPK/NF‑κB pathways and by regulating cytokines. International Journal of Molecular Medicine. 

[3] Singh, N., Bhalla, M., De Jager, P., & Gilca, M. (2011). An overview on Ashwagandha: A rasayana (Rejuvenator) of Ayurveda. African Journal of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicines, 8(5S). 

[4] Can traditional treatment such as ashwagandha be beneficial in treating depression? (2023, January 1). PubMed. 

[5] Cheah, K. L., Norhayati, M. N., Yaacob, L. H., & Rahman, R. A. (2021). Effect of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) extract on sleep: A systematic review and meta-analysis. PLOS ONE, 16(9), e0257843. 

[6] Xing, D., Yoo, C., Gonzalez, D., Jenkins, V., Nottingham, K., Dickerson, B., Leonard, M., Ko, J., Faries, M. B., Kephart, W. C., Purpura, M., Jäger, R., Sowinski, R., Rasmussen, C., & Kreider, R. B. (2022). Effects of acute ashwagandha ingestion on cognitive function. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 19(19), 11852. 

[7] Sharma, A., Basu, I., & Singh, S. (2018). Efficacy and safety of ashwagandha root extract in subclinical hypothyroid patients: a Double-Blind, Randomized Placebo-Controlled trial. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 24(3), 243–248. 

[8] Tharakan, A., Shukla, H., Benny, I. R., Tharakan, M., George, L. K., & Koshy, S. (2021). Immunomodulatory Effect of Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha) Extract—A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo Controlled Trial with an Open Label Extension on Healthy Participants. Journal of Clinical Medicine, 10(16), 3644. 

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