Can taking probiotics cause your skin to break out and develop acne?

by Paris B on · 102 comments

in Health,Musings

Last week, I talked about how what we eat and how our internal plumbing affects our skin. A couple of you mentioned taking probiotics and how you derived benefits from it.

Well, when I was doing my personal research, I found that probiotics is definitely helpful for helping with digestion and bowel movement. What it is, is billions of beneficial bacteria introduced into your gut via a capsule or a yogurt or yogurt drink or even a drink like Yakult or Vitagen (I happen to love drinking the latter 2 as a kid, nevermind the sweetness. It was such a treat!)

probiotics cause skin to breakout?

The purpose behind probiotics is to introduce more good bacteria to balance out the bad bacteria in your gut. It is being touted as a new health thing and like all health things, there will naturally be pros and cons. If you look out there though, the pros outweigh the cons of taking probiotics by about a million to one. Probiotics is even said to be able to help people who have skin problems, allergies or acne.

Well, guess who discovered a small side effect of taking probiotics that isn’t quite as inspiring as all that? 😛

Yours truly actually had acne after taking probiotics. Yep. It defies imagination doesn’t it? Here is this capsule of all these supposedly good bacteria that’s supposed to help with digestive problems, clear up internal plumbing and maybe even help with clearing up acne on skin.

What I experienced was otherwise. I was having some spots. This was during the time before I decided to do anything to my diet. It was highly irritating. I was then suggested to try some probiotics. Everyone in my family was taking it and everyone was raving about how regular it made them. That was the primary reason for taking the probiotics I might add.

probiotics cause skin to breakout?

So I started taking it once a day. After about a week, I started to realize that my skin, which was bad before, was now stark raving NUTS! I was having huge, painful cystic acne on my chin and honestly, after not having such bad skin for such a long time, it was a downer. It wasn’t hormones, I might add. It wasn’t close to that time of the month when hormones go nuts, and I haven’t had hormonal acne for a while now.

I don’t know what made me think about the probiotics I was taking. One morning, I woke up and thought “I wonder if its the probiotics?” Perhaps it was some instinct so I stopped it. Within 2 weeks, I started to notice a difference to my skin. Coupled with my lifestyle and diet change, I found my skin was healing itself, with no lasting damage. Was it the probiotics then? Could it actually cause me to have acne?

I looked for information online but there was little to no information. Most people said it HELPED their acne problem. It was on a few little known forums where I found one or two people who mentioned the same things I experienced. Within a couple of days of taking probiotics, they erupted with acne along the chin and jaw line. After stopping, the breakouts stopped. Most people shot that theory down and told them to stick it out but I personally felt there was something there. I wasn’t going to stick it out, no matter what anyone said.

I’d gotten my problem under control by this time. Barring the regular random blackheads my skin was back to normal. So, I decided to experiment. I popped a probiotic capsule just last week in the morning. By evening, there was a painful hard spot forming on my chin. By the next morning, it was a full blown painful cystic acne spot. I wasn’t waiting around to see what happened if I popped another capsule!

So, going from my personal experience with probiotics, I’m going to stick my head out and say that yes, in some very rare cases (like mine) probiotics can cause you more harm to your skin than good. Probiotics can, in my case, cause you to break out and have acne problems where you had none before, or even make your problem worse.

I’ve stopped taking probiotics and am now treating the spot with the Nexcare patch which is helping to bring down the swelling and reduce the painful spot. Once it flattens out or comes to a head, I’ll go with tea tree oil and then perhaps a whitening spot corrector to get rid of the mark and hydration to get my skin back to normal.

Its a horrible process and if you ask me, I think this an awful way to discover that probiotics isn’t for me. I might add that it could also be the strain of bacteria used in this particular brand (it all looks like the normal stuff in most probiotics supplements though). Not being medically or pharmaceutically trained, I can’t tell. The only thing I will say is that I’m quite safely NOT going near anymore probiotic supplements from now on.

If anyone has shared a similar experience as I have, I hope you could share it. Perhaps you had a good experience with taking probiotics. Share it too! :)

Paris B

Disclaimer: This anecdote and conclusion is based on my personal experience. I am not medically nor phamaceutically trained. If in doubt please consult your doctor.

Previous post:

Next post:

[ 102 comments… read them below or join the discussion ]

Joy Chong
Twitter:
June 12, 2012 at 9:09 am

This year i went on this epic diet where I was obsessed with yogurt and had almost 500ml of it everyday for lunch. I broke up like crazy for 3 months because according to the dermatologist, there were too much hormones in the yougurt i.e from a cow = hormone crazy = crazy skin.

Reply

Paris B
Twitter:
June 12, 2012 at 11:16 pm

Wow! I didn’t know that could happen! Maybe the sugars in yogurt too? I’ve stopped taking yogurt since my lactose intolerance. Since the probiotics in there didn’t help with digesting the yogurt I guess it just didn’t help me there.

Reply

DyN June 29, 2012 at 1:29 pm

Yup my derm mentioned how the hormones from the cows (all the stuff they feed them) has been scientifically proven to worsen acne. He cited some medical journal and advised me not to take so much beef, milk etc for my acne =/

*I’m new to your blog ParisB and am enjoying every post!

Reply

Lily
Twitter:
June 12, 2012 at 9:15 am

Oh my goodness, that’s horrible! I haven’t taken any probiotics in my life even though doc recommends it. All the more reason to stay away from it now. Do you think it is getting rid of the bad toxins in your body and if you continued, everything will clear up? Well, actually, even if it’s the case, I wouldn’t wait around to find out 😉
Lily recently blogged…Beat the Monday Blues: Exercise!My Profile

Reply

Paris B
Twitter:
June 12, 2012 at 11:17 pm

I know! Everyone recommends it but after this experience, I’m not going to try it again bah! What a way to figure it out. I did read sometimes it maybe the bad toxins coming to the surface etc. but I wasn’t prepared to stick it out and find out 😛

Reply

Lindsey June 12, 2012 at 9:22 am

I personally only take probiotics after taking antibiotics and that sort of thing, to put back in what was possibly killed, you know? But I think anything we put into our bodies can cause acne, or not, everyone’s skin is just so different. It’s why I hate things that claim to be “non-comedogenic” because that’s really a person-to-person thing. I think we just have to be careful of only introducing one new thing at a time, so it’s easier to figure out what the cause of a breakout/reaction is, that seems to be the only way around this stuff.

Reply

Paris B
Twitter:
June 12, 2012 at 11:19 pm

I agree with you totally! We are all built differently so there’s no way we can say that one thing works for everyone. What it may work for is the majority but there will always be exceptions. I’ve gone back to taking fish oil. Working well for me!

Reply

ProudMummy
Twitter:
June 12, 2012 at 9:48 am

I’ve been reading your various posts on acne and thought I’d share this.
I’ve had acne since my student days in the UK. Fast forward to today, I’m almost 50 years old and still have acne. My breakouts are mainly around the chin area, which everyone says it hormone-related. Well, I went for my routine check up and my gynae confirmed that I have fibroids, which basically mean my body produces too much of female hormones. Sad thing, I’m due for surgery soon to remove my womb and I’m hoping that despite this bleak diagnosis, my problem with acne will finally be over. So ladies, do go for regular checkups.

Reply

Paris B
Twitter:
June 12, 2012 at 11:21 pm

Thank you for sharing! I will agree that a chronic and long lasting problem may signal that something is wrong internally and should get checked out. Im sorry to hear of your impending surgery :( I hope it will not only solve your acne problem, but also any other medical issues related to it.

Reply

Grace
Twitter:
June 12, 2012 at 9:51 am

It could be the probiotics detoxify toxins from ur body…and the only way those particular toxins to come out is unfortunately it chose ur face its exit and as pimples.

Reply

Paris B
Twitter:
June 12, 2012 at 11:23 pm

Yup! That’s what I read too but I wasn’t keen to stick it out and find out. Partly, most people who did experience breakouts had small pimples that went away after a few days. I was having painful cystic acne that was getting worse everyday. When I stopped, it got better. Didn’t want to risk staying on it :) could just be me though 😉

Reply

kim January 25, 2014 at 6:20 am

I had the exact same experience. Started taking probiotics about 3 months ago. The past six to eight weeks have been horrible. I’ve never had good skin, but these chin pimples were huge, hard and cystic. One after another and I haven’t been able to figure out what is going on. Today it hit me – maybe it’s the probiotics! I’m stopping today and we will see. Thanks so much for the post because I thought maybe I was the only one.

Reply

Jyoan June 12, 2012 at 10:34 am

I never knew probiotics could help or stop acne. Good post!

Reply

Paris B
Twitter:
June 12, 2012 at 11:24 pm

It helps with digestion primarily so I guess the helping to cure acne problems maybe a positive side effect :)

Reply

Riceball June 12, 2012 at 10:45 am

Maybe because the probiotics were cultured in milk? To people who are allergic to milk and that might cause problem. I am taking probiotics too, and you just reminded me to test if it is causing the random acnes I am having lately, because I am lactose intolerant :(

Reply

Paris B
Twitter:
June 12, 2012 at 11:25 pm

That’s an interesting point! I am slightly lactose intolerant although my intolerance manifests mostly in stomach indigestion. I can’t recall if I got acne due to eating dairy foods, to be honest! But it could be a reason!

Reply

plue
Twitter:
June 12, 2012 at 10:51 am

sorry to hear what happened, but i guess at least it’s spots that you can deal with, though it’s quite a long healing process.

am just starting to take probiotics that’s included in cereals, hopefully i don’t get any adverse effect!

Reply

Paris B
Twitter:
June 12, 2012 at 11:27 pm

Probiotics in cereals usually don’t come in such high doses so I guess you’re safe :) its a horrible healing process :(

Reply

Jue June 12, 2012 at 12:55 pm

My sister had the same problem and she did stick out for weeks and her skin turn out well after that.

But I don’t have the same optimistic level as her and don’t want to go through weeks of hell to have a clearer skin (yes, that’s a lot of negative in one sentence).

I think my skin is alright at the moment and I am perfectly fine with having occasional spots and dealing it with continuous using serum.

Reply

Paris B
Twitter:
June 12, 2012 at 11:44 pm

Hats off to your sister! I’m afraid that like you, I’m not prepared to try sticking it for weeks in the hope something good will come out of it. What if it only gets worse! *gasp* I’m very happy with my skin now too *touchwood* just got to get rid of this damned spot and I’m good :)

Reply

Stacey
Twitter:
June 12, 2012 at 1:37 pm

i love yakult and it would be a shame if it causes acne. i can’t go one day without it. but so far, i didn’t have any breakouts on my chin lately. *knocks on wood*

I am just curious.. you took probiotics in the morning and by evening a pimple popped out? that’s pretty fast.. i thought it takes much longer for the pimple to surface actually..
Stacey recently blogged…Mango Sale up to 50% off!My Profile

Reply

Paris B
Twitter:
June 12, 2012 at 11:45 pm

Yup, within a day. It might have been an unfortunate coincidence but I wasn’t waiting to see if it was! None others have popped up since I stopped though. But it’s good to know it works for you. My family can’t understand either lol!

Reply

Michelle November 23, 2013 at 8:52 am

I can completely relate to the acne around the chin line while taking probiotics. After taking them for years, this is new for me. I actually get itchiness on my forehead from breaking out with little pimples, also, then the painful cystic ones along my chin. Once before I stopped taking all my supplements and my skin cleared up. After some experimenting, I thought it was my fish oil or Vit D. Now I’ve stopped the probiotics and no new eruptions or itchiness. Once this break out has cleared up, I’m not going to go back on probiotics again unless through food. Thanks for sharing since there wasn’t much info regarding this online.

Reply

Sze Ling June 12, 2012 at 3:20 pm

When I was a teeny tiny kid, I love love love Vitagen. Now, I just can’t stand the sweetness. Drives me nuts!

I don’t purposely take any form of probiotics. But I do like plain yogurt with fruits every not and then. Probably once a week. So, I hope that’s not too much for my skin. 😛

Reply

Paris B
Twitter:
June 12, 2012 at 11:52 pm

I haven’t had vitamin for years?! Haha I do like taking it though but only in th original flavor and only if it’s very chilled. I wonder if it’ll make me break out too? It probably doesn’t have as many bacteria as the capsules I was taking. I stopped taking yoghurt due to lactose intolerance. Surprisingly, the probiotics in it didn’t help with that!

Reply

Petrina Alescna June 12, 2012 at 7:11 pm

I’m so sorry about your experience :( I personally do take a capsule of probiotics daily and have been for the last 5 years as I have a very horrible digestive system. Mine is kinda inherited ( mum, sis & bro have it too) and it has been a God send for me.

Reply

Paris B
Twitter:
June 12, 2012 at 11:57 pm

I guess it works differently for us all :) I’m glad it helps with your digestion though. It’s so important to have the digestive system working properly right? Really bothersome otherwise!

Reply

casacanberra June 12, 2012 at 9:48 pm

Hi Paris,

I’ve been a reader for a loooong time, but haven’t gotten a chance to comment.

I have the most problematic (asian) skin – sensitive, oily, dehydrated, extremely prone to redness!! I can’t even use Clarisonic for 2 days in a row, without getting a breakout!! On good weeks, I can probably use the Clarisonic twice a week… and that’ the max, before my skin screams murder!!

I’ve been taking probiotics for a few years, mainly to help with my gastric problem. On good months when i diligently take my probiotics day and night, my skin actually cleared up. My skin has only gotten worst when I OD on sugar and dairy, coupled with Probiotics. I’m a sugar-fiend, and cutting back on sugar is worst than someone taking away all my credit & debit cards. So while I think Probiotics may not be for everyone, cutting back on sugar and dairy definitely has brought about significant changes to my skin!! Perhaps you can take the probiotics 1st thing in the morning, on an empty stomach, with lots of water.

Reply

Paris B
Twitter:
June 13, 2012 at 12:01 am

Hi there! Thank you so much for sharing your experience. I think it’s so interesting how we all have different experiences with everything so it’s educational to hear from others, good or bad! 😀 cutting back on sugar and dairy wasn’t hard for me because I don’t eat much of either 😉 I was taking the probiotics first thing in the morning with water. I guess it’s just not for me :(

Reply

Alene June 12, 2012 at 9:57 pm

PARIS! you are right! i cannot take not only probiotics, but any form of supplements, be it zinc, vitamin b, vitamin c or multivites, it makes me skin go STARK RAVING mad as well! absofreakinglutely crazy!!!

Reply

Paris B
Twitter:
June 13, 2012 at 12:01 am

Wow! It’s nice to know I’m not alone 😛 I can take oat supplements but am taking fish oil now. That shouldn’t be horrible for your skin right?

Reply

Alene June 13, 2012 at 11:18 am

oh yeah fish oil so far has been ok for me, but really nothing else. man i tell u the zinc ones last time murdered my skin!

Reply

Helz Nguyen
Twitter:
June 13, 2012 at 2:52 am

Yup, probiotics doesnt work for me either :( they always made my stomach upsets and it goes on for weeks before my stomach settle down. But I never heard the side effects that you had either, so I guess probiotics arent that wonderful and suitable to everybody. Sucks!
Helz Nguyen recently blogged…DIY Glitter Gradient Nails TutorialMy Profile

Reply

Paris B
Twitter:
June 17, 2012 at 11:03 pm

I’m sort of glad to know that you can’t take probiotics either. Well, not glad that you cant but glad that I’m not alone :) I think we all react differently to different things.

Reply

Clare June 14, 2012 at 5:53 am

Hi, I just wanted to add to this discussion what I recently experienced, taking a Probiotic. During the last 3 days or so, I’ve noticed raised “Air bumps” or Whelps on the inside of my left arm, the only place they appear. Being a 3 time Breast Cancer Survivor, I do take many medications to manage both my resultant chronic pain and other ailments that accompany age (64 1/2). Anyway, a Doctor I saw yesterday called what he saw were “Hives” but the description of Hives and what I was seeing on my arm did not match, in any manner at all. But I do kind of remember seeing these “bumps” some time ago while taking the same Probiotic. So, I just thought I’d add my two cents to the discussion to see if anyone else had had such a experience. Replys would be helpful..Thanks Much

Reply

Janet June 15, 2012 at 5:52 pm

This is a bit bizarre for me to read… as the I thought the science behind the concept of probiotics helping skin was pretty sound – eg – http://www.optibacprobiotics.co.uk/resource-centre/faq/category-precise-conditions/46-can-probiotics-help-with-acne-or-spots.html – granted this is written BY a probiotics company haha!

You mention you were taking them with water – but were you drinking lots of water Paris ? I suppose if they work they could displace toxins in the body so its necessary to make a real effort to flush these out..?

Reply

Paris B
Twitter:
June 18, 2012 at 12:23 pm

I don’t doubt the science behind it, but I will have to say that as with all medicine/supplements every body will react differently. There are people online who I’ve found had similar results which leads me to my conclusion that it isn’t something I’m willing to take. Yes, I was taking a lot of water but it never got better, only worse and it cleared up when I stopped taking the probiotics so I guess that answered my question :)

Reply

Karen B June 23, 2012 at 12:45 am

Paris, I also break out really bad with anything that has probiotics in it. My sister does too.. We think it’s a genetic thing. Sad part is that I keep trying them because I love healthy things and detoxing my body… I already have really bad acne as it is, but taking probiotics in pill form, drinking kombucha or kefir; you name it, I break out everytime! And just like you, I get the cysts.. It’s no fun!

Reply

Paris B
Twitter:
June 24, 2012 at 10:11 pm

Hi Karen B, I’m sorry to hear of your experience but I’m sort of relieved I’m not alone in this! I guess we belong in the minority here

Reply

Robin June 24, 2012 at 6:36 am

I just call my term, to see if she can change my prescription I take oral meds for my acne made my skin so clear pimple free, i was recently told by my family Dr to take a probiotic everyday, i started going to the bathroom regular but my face started to break out so bad, i have been trying to figure out why all of a sudden this happened, I was online looking for a new Derm Dr thinking the one I have wasn’t for me but after reading i now believe its the probiotics… I won’t take for a few days and see what happens. Thanks for the information.

Reply

Cindy C June 29, 2012 at 3:14 am

Paris, I’m with you!, I am in my early 50’s and have had no problem with acne except for an occasional pimple every 6 months, or so… For the past couple of months, I have been experiencing large, cyst like breakouts on my chin, along with rash like, bumpy break outs on my forehead, scalp and cheeks, along the hairline. I couldn’t figure out why it was happening because I haven’t changed any routine in my skincare, haircare or diet. EXCEPT, I starting taking a probiotic every day a few months ago!!! Today, I am convinced it’s the probiotic, and will update you in a couple of weeks to let you know if the break outs have stopped!

Reply

Paris B
Twitter:
July 2, 2012 at 12:00 pm

Thanks for sharing your story Cindy! I hope your breakouts stop once you stop the probiotics! Apparently, whilst it may be good for the general populace, some of us can’t handle it!

Reply

Nonnie July 16, 2012 at 2:45 pm

Yes! I have been taking a daily probiotic for over a month now and my acne prone skin has gotten worse. I am experiencing tiny bumps along my forehead, jaw line and chin like i’ve never had before. The probiotic is the only thing new I’ve added to my life in the last month. I haven’t taken one in 3 days but I am still breaking out. I’ll let you know the status in 2 weeks. Thank goodness I decided to research this cause I thought just like most of you that probiotics would be good for acne.

Reply

Beth August 31, 2012 at 9:33 am

Have you ever heard of Leaky Gut Syndrome? I came across information tonight about drinking Kombucha and it causing acne, and I drink a fair amount of it (it has probiotics). And I also this past month started drinking Apple Cider Vinegar (for the probiotics – one shot every morning) and eating Keifer (for the probiotics – for breakfast). Maybe it was overboard.. but I’m thinking it might be because I have leaky gut syndrome. You should look into this.. there is a great forum on acne.org that also talks about the correlation. I am currently taking a break from this to test my theory. As well as a break from cod liver oil, which I heard can also cause cystic acne on the jawline.

Reply

Julie September 13, 2012 at 2:07 am

Hi Paris. Thanks for your post! I thought I was the only one. I was recommended probiotics by my Naturopathic doctor to help with a stomach/bowel condition that I have. It seemed to help my stomach but left me with horrible cystic acne, especially around the chin. I’ve been on the probiotics since June and just recently made the connection. I have been off them for about 2 weeks and seem to be improving greatly. I will mention this to my doctor at my next visit to get her take on it. It’s so hard to know what we should/shouldn’t do :)

Reply

Paris B
Twitter:
September 16, 2012 at 10:11 pm

I hope you find a solution, Julie!

Reply

Steve M September 16, 2012 at 11:10 pm

Mornin Everyone !
1st time poster and thought I’d share my experences. A few days after I started taking probiotic pills I started to get a large whitish looking pimple on the gum. Just one of them. (I am not prone to, nor have I ever had any acne issues) I was pretty shook up, as I have bad teeth, and I thought it was another infection, cavity, etc. I called my denist… he said what I was describing did not sound like a tooth/gum issue, but to moniter. On a hunch I stopped taking the probiotics, and within days the pimple was gone. A few months have gone by, and decided to try taking the probiotic pills again. Sure enough, after a day or two, here come another pimple looking thingy on my gum. I thought too, it might be the toxins leaving my body. Since the pimple(s) are on the inside I am going to start taking probiotics again, on the hope if it is toxins leaving that eventually the pimple(s) will go away as the toxins inside me begin to subside. Just my two cents. I’ll bookmark this site, and report back my results. Have A Nice Day All.. Steve Out !!

Reply

jzn October 18, 2012 at 6:42 pm

Great post! I woke up this morning trying to find a cause to my acne. I had acne as a teenager and as an adult it went away. About 2 years ago I started taking probiotics to manage my symptoms of IBS. I started having severe acne probelms..the deep cystic pimples. My dermatologist prescribed me some cream and it helped me manage the acne. Last year I was off the probiotics as I lived in a different country and the price was out of control. NO acne. I started taking probiotics again in September 2011 and since then my acne has returned. I literally woke up this morning and thought to myself that maybe my probiotic was causing my acne. If this is true…I am bummed. I need the probiotics to manage my IBS. Has anyone found any other solutions to manage their IBS w/o having acne break outs?

Reply

Julie November 10, 2012 at 11:05 am

Hi Jzn,
I have IBS/ulcerative colitis. I posted my experience with probiotics back on September 13th. Since I have stopped taking them, my acne has gotten 100% better. As for treatments for IBS, I have recently started seeing a Naturopath, as I did not want to take a prescribed medication daily. My ND had originally put me on supplements, anti-flammatory shake mix, as well as probiotics. After I made the connection with the probiotics I am now down to just supplements. They are working great! I have not had any stomach issues and do not need to take the prescribed medication from my specialist. It might be worth consulting a Naturopath to see what type of supplements would be right for you. It’s worth a shot. Best of luck!

Reply

JessicaW November 5, 2012 at 11:04 am

So thankful I found this blog. I started my probiotic (Align) 3 weeks ago and had almost perfect skin. I have 7 cystic nodules on my face as of today along with other zits everywhere on my chin. I have cried all weekend (I’m 27 and a newlywed and am so embarrassed for my husband to see my awful cysts). The only thing that has changed in my diet is the probiotics for my IBS. I stopped them a week ago but continue to breakout. I am going to the Derm in the morning, I’m convinced I need an antibiotic to kill even the good bacteria from the probiotic. I pray this stops the cysts. I will never take a probiotic again.

Reply

Jake November 6, 2012 at 12:19 pm

Randomly thought of this today… wasn’t sure what was going on with my all of a sudden 4+ cystic acne, i started probiotic PB8 or something about 3 weeks ago. Makes so much sense now.

Reply

A December 2, 2012 at 1:36 am

I thought i was crazy! I cant find much information on this topic, but it seems to be the case with me too!

Reply

terra December 7, 2012 at 9:29 am

Thnks for sharing. Ive been looking for this info for a week. I have the same problem. Aftr my friend introduced vitagen collagen to me and i took it every morning then i started to have break outs. Its really painful. So i stop taking vitagen for two weeks and my skin back to normal but it leave ugly scars… so sad.

Reply

katie December 8, 2012 at 5:28 am

Oh my goodness…. I hope that this is what’s causing my acne! A few months ago I started breaking out on my chin, and they’ve been the hard, cystic, “leave dark hyper pigmentation marks all over your face” kind. It’s been beyond awful. Once I get it under control I’m going to have to worry about all the awful discoloration. Anyway, I finally decided after spending tons of money on products that haven’t done anything that I needed to change my diet. So recently I cut out dairy and have been treating myself for candida overgrowth. So last night as I was about to pop my two probiotics that I’ve been taking for quite a while now into my mouth, I looked at the back and saw that they’re made from dairy. I thought “Uh oh, can’t take these on my new diet.” So I found some today at the drugstore (Culturelle) that are dairy free. Then for some reason I decided to do a google search to see if probiotics could be the culprit and I found this blog post. I’m having the same type of breakouts you described! I’m not sure if I should not take these new dairy free one or not… I’m so glad I stumbled on this post. Thanks for sharing!

Reply

H Dyess January 9, 2013 at 11:37 pm

I am 58 and have in the last two years had a terrible problem with cystic acne on my chin. I believe I am alergic to the protein in milk and I find that if I completely leave dairy alone I do much better. Remarkably better. I too just started taking Probiotics 4 days ago. However, I made sure to look for some that do not contain dairy. So far no problem. After reading all of the post I am concerned now, since I was doing this to try and help with the Acne problem as well as it seemed it could help with better absorption of nutrients in the gut which also can be a problem. I would remind everyone to be aware that it seems most probiotics do contain dairy and it is my belief that dairy cause far more problems with our skin that is acknowledged by most doctors. So if you are going to take them you would need to be sure dairy is not the real problem. For the longest time I was eating so much dairy thinking it was good for my bones, skin, hair, etc. And I was continuously getting these huge cyst and I don’t seem to do this as long as I stay away from dairy in any form. And this is very hard to do.

Reply

RD January 13, 2013 at 9:47 am

Ive been taking Udos probiotics for exactly one week now and have broken out pretty bad. Ive taken the exact probiotic in the past with similar side effects such as pimples but it only lasted 3 days and by the 5th day I was clear. I took probiotics for years in the past and they really helped my skin out from breaking out, especially on ingesting bad foods or alcohol. I took about a year off and have had such unusual behavior towards certain foods(sensitivities)and vitamins.I think the digestive system is the first place to start with health. I’ll report back in a week and let others know about my experience.

Reply

Ranelle February 10, 2013 at 11:59 pm

Great article. Every time I start taking probiotics, I break out!
I also get bloated. I’ve tried non-fat yogurt with no sugar and I’ve tried lactose free probiotic capsules. In both instances I break out. Such a shame as its supposed to be so good for you but I guess my body is fine without it.
I’d only ever take them when coming off antibiotics and want to replenish the good bacteria.

Reply

Shaila March 5, 2013 at 4:26 pm

I am currently taking antibiotics fro strep throat and since I am very prone to yeast infections when on antibiotics, my nurse practitioner reccomended a probiotic to help even things out. I have noticed that my very pale and usually no problem skin has become reddish in the cheeks as well as areas like the eyebrow corners, nose corners, and occasionally around the mouth. It is visibly oily where I have never had an issue before. As much as I would really like to stop taking the probiotics and get my skin back to its usual low maintenance self, I am afraid of getting a yeast infection. Is there anything that I can do to prevent the infection but also help my skin?

Reply

Leslie March 16, 2013 at 4:03 pm

I am so glad I cme across this! My skin has been doing well with little to no breakouts for more than a year. All of a sudden my skin has completely lost control. I’ve been so upset over how bad it has become and now realize its probably due to the probiotics! I take up to 3 a day and the breakouts definitely began around the time I implemented them into my regime. No more probiotics for me!!! :) I’ll keep you posted you the outcome! Thanks again for sharing this!

Reply

Diana March 24, 2013 at 11:57 am

I began taking probiotic capsules given to me by my doctor. After taking them for about a week, I developed red, itchy whelps. I assumed it was an allergic reaction, so I stopped taking them. The patches dried up and disappeared. I don’t think I’ll be taking those anymore.

Reply

grayson May 10, 2013 at 10:57 am

Yes, I think this is happening to me. It is very upsetting. My whole forehead is broken out. But I need the probiotics – they do wonders for me in other ways, so I’m not giving them up. I will have to get some stronger skin products, I think. It does make sense that this would happen, since probiotics are making your body an increasingly more hospitable environment for bacteria, which is what causes most pimples.

Reply

arbb May 12, 2013 at 8:45 am

I just found your blog from searching “probiotics” and “pimples.” It’s now happened to me twice where I’ve taken just one probiotic (50 billion strain) before bed and woken up with painful pimple/pustule type thing on my lower cheek near my mouth and chin. I also wanted to take them to improve gut health and bowel movements, but pimples is a side affect for me too. I’m not going to take them. Thanks for your article.

Reply

Sue May 26, 2013 at 10:05 am

I just completed a three day cleanse and it included (what I suspect is) a high dose probiotic which I purchased at a high-end, reputable health food store. I have never had more than two pimples on my face at a given time, even as a teenager, until today. My face is covered and feels like it’s burning. It started on the jawline and worked up. After reading other posts, I’m pretty sure its the pills. It’s the only new/different thing I’ve introduced to my system. I’m sure they have wonderful benefits for people; they just don’t mix well with me.

Reply

Kristen May 28, 2013 at 8:20 am

I have been taking probiotic supplements now for a month, and my face is crazy. I have had huge cistic acne along my jaw and on my chin. Nothing seems to help, and it actually hurts. I began to suspect the supplements as nothing else has changed. Thank you for writing your experiences down.

Reply

Angela June 17, 2013 at 10:59 am

I recently started taking probiotics and my chin has completely freaked out! Cystic acne! I just stopped taking the probiotics. How long did it take you, once stopping, to see results in your acne clearing up?

Reply

RosieC June 21, 2013 at 10:16 am

Thank you guys for all your posts… I’ve recently started taking probiotics for better digestive health and all of a sudden I have pimples all over my face… I have been so upset, since my face had been pretty clear and thought it was the probiotics… Does anyone know how long it takes for this stuff to leave your system? I only took it for a week.. Stopped bcause not only did I get acne, I’ve also been nauseous and have stomach aches,
Thanks :)

Reply

Estella June 28, 2013 at 5:08 pm

So here’s my story:
For about 4 years now, I’ve been suffering from various forms of acne on my chin (the worst!), forehead, cheeks, and back.

Over a month ago, I decided to cut out milk and milk products. I also started to observe my body – if I added something to my dietary routine and then started to break out – I eliminated it and my skin would go back to normal within 2 days (in the worst of cases, because it usually got better within hours). I discovered that apart from milk I also cannot eat eggs (they contain angrogens which I’m sensitive to, the same as milk) and soy products but in general, it was over a month of beautiful, clear skin with occasional little spots – nothing I cannot deal with. My acne just disappeared and my skin finally started to clear up – without any worsening, it-gets-worse-before-it-gets-better or inflamatory states, if I may add. The whiteheads just dried out and the blackheads started to come out on their own. THIS is what the true clearing-up looks like and THIS is why I am not going to believe that break-outs occur because the body is getting rid of toxins. Not in my case. Or else by toxins you mean dairy or probiotics.

Anyway, after about a month, some digestive problems started – I blamed the lack of milk in my diet and maybe some kind of probiotics deficiency. So I added them to my routine, taking care that they don’t contain any milk. In the beginning my skin improved but then I started having breakouts: back, chin, cheeks, forehead respectively. In addition, I broke out on nose, arms and neck – may I add that I never EVER had acne in those areas? AND my skin got itchy all over.

I started to look for information on probiotics causing break-outs and here I am. Anyway – I confirm, it is possible to break out after probiotics.

Reply

Alex July 4, 2013 at 3:00 pm

A few weeks ago I started taking probiotics recommended by a friend for immune support and digestion. Maybe a week or less later, I started breaking out in a rash along my belt line. I racked my brain about what it could be. Something made me think of the probiotics but I too found no info online about it being a common side effect or anyone else experiencing it. I had heard it could be my body releasing toxins so after concluding it must be that, decided to stick it out and tough through it. Now it’s all along my belt line, chest and my whole body is inches and is sensitive. The idea of it clearing out my toxins is appealing but the rash covering my body in the summer is not. I’m 2 days off now and my itching has deminished a bit. You’re the only post I’ve seen online of anyone being seriously effected by them. I’m over it tho. Ill stick to my kombucha. Thanks for posting.

Reply

nazia November 23, 2013 at 5:46 pm

I’ve had the exact same problem! it’s on my lower back and all over my tummy and chest!!! I can’t believe it could be the probiotics! Hope you’re feeling better now. :)

Reply

Missy August 5, 2013 at 7:48 pm

i started taking probiotics pill form.i thought all was great till about on the 5th day i started waking up with painful, really painful acne.i havn’nt had bad acne like this since i was a teen.i stopped taking for 2 weeks and my skin cleared.i decided to start again and same result. dissapointed, but the pain and marks i can do without.

Reply

Lisa August 6, 2013 at 3:29 pm

I started taking dairy free probiotics only for less than a week and noticed pretty quickly some strange cystic pimples on my cheeks and chin and little bumps under my skin. I watch what i eat, avoid dairy and sugar and actually had a pretty clear skin the week before. Although it did help combat the effects of some antibiotics I was on, I decided to stop them and only use it for emergency purposes if I need antibiotics in the future. For some reason it feels like it’s interacting with my hormones and sensitivity of my skin. Regardless I use the basic test. What was I doing before and what did my skin look like. What key change did I make within the last week and the only thing is the probiotics so I guess it’s bye for now! I appreciate all your previous comments, it makes sense why my skin suddenly went a bit mental! Lol

Reply

Chris Florky August 12, 2013 at 11:32 pm

Just 2 days ago I began to think that perhaps probiotics were making my skin break out. After all, I’m 65 and this shouldn’t be happening! It’s been happening for almost 2 years and the ONLY time it didn’t break out was when I had an abcessed tooth pulled and I was on antibiotics, and that will be 2 years this November. My skin stayed perfectly clear for 3 weeks while I was on them and w/in 24 hours of stopping them (when they’d run their course), I was breaking out again. Not willing to take antibiotics daily and screw up my system, I was putting up with it. Then I though about 3 days ago: what if it is the probiotics I’ve been taking? After all PRO-biotics is the opposite of ANTI-biotics! That’s when I went hunting and found your comments here. Thank you! It may confirm what I have suspected. Time will tell; it’s been only 3 days, but so far so good :)

Reply

Chelsea September 21, 2013 at 12:16 pm

A little late adding to this post, but if I can somehow help another person than it’s still worth my time to share my experience. Throughout my teenage years and early 20’s I’ve been on and off birth control at least a half dozen times. I never really reacted well to the pill but obviously like the benefit of not having to worry about becoming pregnant. My skin is always been decent and never really got any worse from taking birth control but never really completely clear either. Recently I had started birth control again and got a yeast infection which I had only had one in my life. After starting my second pack of pills I got another yeast infection decided to start taking probiotics to help prevent anymore of them. After realizing that the new birth control was what was causing the yeast infections I switched brands and continued taking the probiotics. After one month of the new birth control, no yeast infections (thank god), but decided that I didn’t want to be on them at all anymore so I stopped taking them altogether. Not thinking anything of it, I continued to take the probiotics because I figured they would somehow benefit me. Ever since starting the probiotics my skin has been awful. New pimples daily, and in places I had never gotten them before like my jawline and even some on my neck. I tried new face washes, taking evening primrose oil pills, biotin…and nothing has worked. Finally I decided to search online if probiotics can cause acne and stumbled upon this post. I’m convinced I’ve had the same reaction to the probiotics because my skin started acting up at pretty much the same time I started taking them. As of tomorrow I’m not going to be taking them anymore and I’m pretty sure my skin problems will subside.

Reply

Nikle September 26, 2013 at 5:34 am

I know this thread is old but….Same thing happens to me. Ever since I started taking probiotics (for other problems) almost 5 years ago I’ve had the most horrible acne around my chin. I am now taking antibiotics, using a topical gel, and drinking green tea. It is better but whenever I decide to take a probiotic my acne flares up horribly. I have tried numerous strains of pribiotics (even the dairy free ones) but it always screws up my face. I feel your pain!

Reply

Pam October 14, 2013 at 3:44 am

This is exactly what happens to me when I take a probiotic. I was searching the web to see if there were any others out there with the same problem. That’s how I found your website. Thank you for sharing, and now I know it’s not just me. I get horrible, painful cystic acne from probiotics around my mouth and jawline as well. I have to go off of them for my skin to heal. This is so frustrating because the probiotics help me so much with my digestive issues.

Reply

nazia November 23, 2013 at 5:39 pm

Hi, I was trying to detox and after 2 weeks, i’ve started to get these rashes and blotches all over my skin! i couldn’t ever have thought that it could be the yogurt or the probiotics. I kind of thought it would be the fish oil and the b complex i was taking. but thank God i’ve stopped the probiotics too. And from one comment, I can tell that yogurt could be the culprit of my condition too! :( . I think we should be very careful when trying to detox. Adding one thing at a time and seeing the results would be the ideal thing to do!

Reply

Ace December 1, 2013 at 2:55 pm

I started taking probiotics less than two weeks ago and my skin has broken out like crazy. Not cystic, but small bumps all over my face (esp along the jaw line and chin) and my chest and shoulders, upper back, and neck. My skin is so irritated. I have similar breakouts when I eat yogurt. Just sayin – I think I’m with you and probiotics are not for me. Sad I wasted $13 on this… :/

Reply

Leesa January 13, 2014 at 1:02 pm

I too have problems with probiotics causing cystic acne! I started drinking Kombucha for digestive purposes because it has probiotics in it. I cannot eat yogurt because am sensitive to dairy and also binders and capsule covers on other probiotics…which I previously thought was breaking me out. But, after reading your comments I’m convinced I cannot do anything with probiotics in them. Thanks for helping verify my concern!

Reply

Aundria January 20, 2014 at 11:33 pm

It has totally cause me to break out. I did the same thing as you. I noticed the break out and never had break outs before. So I stop taking them and my face cleared up but left ugly marks….

Reply

Samantha January 26, 2014 at 11:57 am

I just stated taking probiotics about 5 days ago and within 2 days my face was filled with big red zits. And for me 1-2 the week before my period is normal. I started freaking out. I look like a pubescent teen and even as a teen I never came close to this. I was frantic to figure out what it could be and then it dawned on me what I had changed. Probiotics. I am heartbroken right now, because I refuse to leave my house until it is under control. Of course, I won’t be taking anymore, that’s for sure! Thank you for writing this so I don’t feel completely alone. It’s horrible.

Reply

Brandy March 7, 2014 at 7:01 am

i took align for several weeks and it worked great, i switched to a better brand from a health food store with more active cultures thinking would get even better results, I have ibs and crohns disease, I did get better results but i also got acne on the edges of my forehead and on my chin and jaw line. I am also wondering if this can cause an overgrowth of bacterial growth. THe opposite of a yeast infection. I dont suffer from it, but wouldn’t it make sense? anti biotics cause not enough bacteria couldn’t this cause too much and not enough yeast?

Reply

julia m March 12, 2014 at 7:44 am

Ive been getting the same damn thing !! Yes ive had acne for years but after healing my gut, they cant blame it on lack of bowel movements now.

I take the synbiotic kit by progressive, it has human strains and very strong to implant all good bacteria in your system, also containing a prebiotic. ive gotten my hormones tested and everything is always in good range. but the BREAKOUTS ARE CRAZY . cystic chin acne, jawline, and a bit of cheek. its just horrible but since theyre so expensive and are helping my insides, i want to just finish the round. BUT YOU ARENT THE ONLY ONE ! i am sugar free, dairy free, and gluten free, and very active, this is the only possible thing causing the bad cystic ones !!
i wonder what the probiotics do in your body to be causing this!??
theyre supposed to be the best thing for you ! crazy

Reply

Mia March 23, 2014 at 8:20 pm

I gave my son some baby probiotic (he’s 1) in the morning and on that day at around lunch time he started having some crazy rashes – swelling on his eyes, raised bump on his neck, arms, and face. And he’s not allergic to anything. I couldn’t work out what it was, cause he had the same probiotic before. The bumps etc dissipated by the end of the day though. Two days later , same thing happened and I remembered I gave him the probiotic as well on that day, but still wasn’t sure. Two weeks later again! All after I gave him the probiotic. And the last time I gave him I wanted to test whether it was really the probiotic, and indeed the rashes appeared again. So yeah, probiotic can cause allergic reaction.

Reply

Carol March 25, 2014 at 10:08 pm

I took Keybiotics after much research as to the best fit. I experienced horrible acme. I had never had acme before. Unfortunately I felt better taking the keybiotics; however, am stopping for I figure the acme will cause havoc on my self esteem.

Reply

Stewart April 8, 2014 at 8:36 pm

Hey glad I found this wee site! every time I drink a yakult I get these massive hard cystic spots along my jawline. Couldn’t believe it was the Yakult until i found this, stayed clear of them now and low n behold my skin had cleared up. They are the worst kind of spots and really depressing when they show up. I’m also gluten sensitive and being a food lover this has been nothing short of the most stressful thing I have ever had to put up with. Thanks for these posts, they’v helped me a lot.

Reply

Laurie Lynn April 9, 2014 at 4:25 am

I am so glad I found this site! I started breaking out on my forehead about 2 weeks ago – like a teenager. The only thing I could think of that was different was the probiotics I started taking. At first it didn’t dawn on me that this was the cause because previously I had taken the “Pearl” probiotic and had no problems. This time I bought a Kroger brand probiotic. I stopped taking it just this morning and we’ll see if it starts clearing up. Yikes.

Reply

Laurie Lynn May 1, 2014 at 2:27 am

Yes, within a couple days my face was cleared up. It was definitely the probiotic.

Reply

Shane April 25, 2014 at 10:40 pm

It’s incredible to come across this post AND the comments that support my exact same thought. I too started taking probiotocs 1 week ago, taking a higher count of bacteria, and taking 3 capsules a day. 4 days after starting i shaved and was shocked at how many pimples along my jaw line. Some hard too. So ive been battling them for a few days and woke up this morning and thought, gee, i wonder if its the probiotics so i googled it.

You’re definitly on to something. I will cease for now, then maybe just try 1 capsule/day.

Reply

HollyD May 23, 2014 at 10:11 pm

I experienced the exact same thing you described in your blog! I went on a mission trip to Honduras in March and came back with some stomach issues and began taking probiotics. I researched to find the best recommended ones and started taking them immediately. It helped my stomach problems for the most part except for slight constipation. What I did notice was my face breaking out with big cysts, mainly on my chin but also around my nose! I had changed my face regiment products so thought it could be that so changed all of that. My face only got worse. And then, similar to you I woke up today and thought \”I wonder if it\’s the probiotic\”. So I googled the question and found this information. I\’m so relieved to find this because I\’ve been dealing with this for two months! I stopped taking it this morning and am expecting good results!

Reply

Kristina June 25, 2014 at 12:32 pm

I’ve been taking probiotics for about 2 weeks now and all of a sudden I have been getting the most painful cystic acne ever! At first I thought hormonal (near my period) but now I’m not so sure. I currently have 5 . . . 5!!! Very painful cystic active bumps :( oh so sad. I actually took the probiotics to help with my mild acne and now it’s worse. I think I will stop and see if it clears up. Glad I found this post.

Reply

Mihaela June 26, 2014 at 4:56 am

I’m so glad to see this blog and all these confirming replies. I too, have problems with probiotics. I used to be chronically constipated. Tried probiotics and got the nastiest yeast infection ever and my skin started freaking out. So I quit that in a hurry. I tried it again several times later. Different brands and stuff. Same reaction. I saw my chiro and she have me some pills with magnesium, malic acid and B6. I take 3 in the am and 3 before bed. No problems with constipation at all anymore. I got the flu two months ago. They gave me an antibiotic cause it was taking longer than normal to heal. So I ate Greek yogurt daily. I took the antibiotics just 10 days. But for the past two months, almost daily, I’ve been eating chobani Greek yogurt. I’m broken out like crazy and especially all over my scalp and hairline and on the back of my neck. They itch and hurt at the same time. And it just hit me that it’s got to be the yogurt. It’s similar to probiotics. Gonna take a 2 week hiatus from yogurt. I bet my skin will clear up.

Reply

Fernando Perez July 27, 2014 at 4:12 am

Lindsey, you can try topical probiotics that delivers the spores where the acne is present. You could read about Probiotic Action!

Reply

holly August 31, 2014 at 2:04 pm

For the past month my face has been breaking out badly! Like you Michelle I\’ve been getting a lot of little pimples and some hard cystic ones on my chin and forehead. I wasn\’t sure what was causing this bc I\’ve never had acne before unless it was an allergic reaction to medication. Ive been really upset bc i hate that my skin looks this bad. It hit me tonight though! Could the probiotics Im taking be causing my breakout?! Im so glad I found this article bc I just had no idea what was causing all this acne and i really hope it is a simple fix and its being caused by the probiotics especially since i was doubling the dose. Praying that it gets better. Thanks for this awesome article and Im the last person on earth to hear about those Nexcare patches. Im going to get some in the morning! Thanks again!

Reply

Lauren September 13, 2014 at 3:42 am

Yep. Me too. At least, I suspect.

I finally decided to try probiotics and within 36 hrs, I started breaking out with cystic pimples along my jawline and chin, but also in a crease of my earlobe (near the jawline). There is one on my forehead, right on my hairline. After day 3, it dawned on me that it might be the probiotics. I stopped them, the breakouts have stopped and the cysts are slowly clearing up.

I also ended up sick with a horrible sore throat, which may or may or may not be related.

Reply

Trish Raven October 4, 2014 at 11:02 pm

That has been my exact experience! I started to take probiotics to help clear up my skin and then I would get breakouts along my jawline. I tried on three different occasions (over the course of 1 year) to give probiotics a try – given all the health benefits and also assuming it was my imagination about the breakouts, but each time, the same breakouts occurred. Very interesting how I\’d breakout either on my chin, or mostly along the jawline – my normal occasional breakouts are usually above my mouth or along the forehead. Anyway I am done with probiotics in pill form, I haven\’t noticed this if I eat/drink yogurt w/ probiotics. Any other recommendation to get benefit from probiotic without taking the pills? Thanks for sharing

Reply

cco November 22, 2014 at 7:07 am

Hi, so glad i found this post. My 5 year old daughter has been getting recurring yeast infections for the past 6 months and i was told that too much sugar could be the cause. So i took her off yakult right away and instead bought her a powdered form of probiotic made for her age group which i might add cost a great deal. After about a week for beautiful little face was covered in red spots around her mouth, chin and cheeks. First, i thought it was the chicken pox so we went to the doctor and they said it wasn\’t but that it was probably just her dry skin ( she gets bouts of eczema at times). So anyways, 3 doctors visits later and they still don\’t know whats causing it. I suspected the new probiotic and asked my doctor what he thought but he wasn\’t buying it. Well i don\’t know but i took her off just yesterday and i will see how she gets on. Wish her luck.

Reply

Birgit January 11, 2015 at 1:23 pm

I\’m, you are so lucky you figured out so fast. I ugly, painful sores up both of my legs and arms. I finally went to the doctor when it spread to my back and stomach. Some of my skin will never recover, the top of my feet look like I have huge birthmarks!! People, please do not take this stuff unless you talk to your doctor first. I may never be able to wear a skirt or a dress again!!

Reply

Wendy February 10, 2015 at 6:53 am

Hi, I drink kombucha and have started having the same hard lump cystic acne. I was thinking today the only thing new in my diet in the past few months is fermented foods

Reply

Danielle Yates February 13, 2015 at 11:52 am

I am so happy to have found this article I started probiotics and knew my breakous were from them and like you had a huge place on my jaw line come up. I will never take probiotics again. I do not get breakouts and this one is very painful..

Reply

m February 21, 2015 at 12:01 pm

This happened to me just yesterday. Took Yakult and 2 cystic pimples appeared on my jawline. Taking Yakult was the only change in my diet and this was not hormonal. Also, I never get pimples on my jawline. Usually the cheeks.

Reply

Nick May 21, 2015 at 1:39 am

I breakout like crazy after taking probiotics, and the “better” they are – the worse it is. I keep coming back to them because I believe they’re “good” for me and I keep hoping my skin can tolerate them. But it seems like I always have the same experience – whiteheads around my chin and mouth.
I seem to tolerate sauerkraut okay, and some non dairy drinks (Kevita seems okay, I don’t do well with kombucha). But it seems like the stronger the probiotic the worse my reaction is.
I find that some psyllium fiber seems to help my digestion and my skin the way I wish a probiotic would work for me.
It’s refreshing to read these posts – it seems like a lot of people swear it helps their skin. I feel validated that others have had the same experience! Thank you for sharing.

Reply

Ellie Robinson May 27, 2015 at 3:51 am

Hello! I have the exact same experience — I’m getting cystic acne from my probiotic supplement. I found your article when I googled it to see if it is “a thing” or known side effect. I have experienced such a huge improvement in my IBS symptoms that I don’t want to stop taking the probiotic — but the acne is horrible.

I’m planning to stick it out though and see if it clears up after a few weeks. Will let you know!

Also, in the past when I have had bouts of acne, Vitamin B6 (pantothenic acid) supplements have really worked to clear up my skin. I’m going to add that to my current regimen and see if it helps.

Reply

Let's Talk ~ Share your view

No SEO names, rude comments or advertising in comments. Please read the comment policy if new.

Share your latest blog post

Previous post:

Next post: