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Solu-Medrol and Acne

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Updated May 22, 2007

Solu-Medrol is a corticosteroid which is given intravenously in high doses (500 to 1000 mg/day for three to seven days) to shorten the duration of a multiple sclerosis (MS) relapse by reducing inflammation and restoring the blood-brain barrier.

Acne was an unwelcome side effect of my Solu-Medrol treatment, to say the least. Adding to my angst (besides the anxiety caused by the Solu-Medrol itself) was the fact that nobody could tell me how bad it would get, when it would stop getting worse and when it would get better. I broke out pretty seriously on my face and back. However, some people don’t get any blemishes, and for some it is even worse and includes the chest.

Corticosteroids and Acne

Solu-Medrol is the liquid form of methylprednisone, a powerful corticosteroid. There is a great debate about the effect of corticosteroids on acne. Corticosteroids can be taken orally, inhaled, delivered intravenously (in the case of Solu-Medrol) and applied topically. Paradoxically, while these drugs often have acne as a side effect, they can also be used to treat certain forms of acne, due to their anti-inflammatory properties.

Tips for Managing Acne from Solu-Medrol

  • No Facials: Don’t get a facial (or pick at your skin) for at least a month, preferably two months. Solu-Medrol makes your skin very fragile and prone to bruising and scarring.
  • Be Gentle: Follow a mild acne regimen, but don’t use things that are too drying. There are several prescription creams which may help, but make sure you don’t overdo it. Do not use scrubs or abrasive pads.
  • Protect Your Skin: Make sure you always wear sunscreen and moisturizer.
  • Be Patient: Your skin will not get any worse after a week of stopping Solu-Medrol treatment (or of the taper Medrol Pack, if you are taking that). It will take three to four weeks for it to mostly clear up and six weeks to get back to normal.

Learn Some Tips for Managing Solu-Medrol Side Effects

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