Crohn's and Acne

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Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2009
Total Posts : 20
   Posted 9/26/2009 5:57 AM (GMT -7)   
My husband was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease about 2 years ago.  Within the past month or two he's started getting VERY bad acne all over his face and neck.  They're big and very painful.  At times, the ones on the back of his neck make it hard for him to turn his head and his face is very sensitive to the touch.  The only other time he ever really experienced acne during the past few years is when he was on Prednisone but they weren't painful then, just lots of tiny pimples that covered his face.  Currently he's only on colazol, and enimas (he starts his Humira Monday, yay!)
Has anyone else experienced anything like this with Crohns?  Has anything helped?

Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 348
   Posted 9/26/2009 8:03 AM (GMT -7)   
I have had bad acne since I was a kid. Prednisone gives me extreme acne. Ask the doctor to be give Entocort instead. It actually HELPS acne. I have not used Colazol. I looked up the side effects, and it does not seem to cause acne. I use Asacol, and it does not give me acne. It looks like Colazol is another mesalmine drug.

There have been other people on here who get acne. I am not sure if it was from medication or not.

For acne, I use 250mg x 4 of Tetracycline. Most acne drugs will make Crohn's worse: Keflex, Accutane, and Clindamycine. Do not take them. I have actually read that people on here went to a dermatologist and were given Differin. It is ok. The good thing about it is that it does not sting. I use Erythromycin. It stings, but it helps more - I think. If he ends up taking antibiotics, he will have to be patient. It takes a while to kick in, as in months.

Get him antibacterial soap. I use Safeguard. Tell him to wash his face twice a day. When he takes a shower or bath, tell him to first wash his face with the soap and leave it on for the whole time he is bathing or showering. You can get the Neutrogena face wash with Salicylic acid. I used that when I had it really bad. He should leave that on his face while he is washing too. The longer, the better. He can get Stridex pads with Benzoyl Peroxide to use during the day.

If the dermatologist gives him some other oral drug, let me know. MAKE SURE that you clear any oral drugs with the GI and look at all of the precautions for the drug. If it prohibits someone with UC or Crohn's, do not take it. When the dermatologist put me on Keflex, I read the precautions, and I saw that people with Colitis should not use. I asked my GI, and he said it was ok. It was not. It made me flare. You do not want him flaring.
27m - Dx January 2005: UC/Crohn's
Entocort 9 mg, Zosyn IV 4.5g x 3, Flucanozole 200mg, Asacol 4 x 3

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 1058
   Posted 9/26/2009 2:18 PM (GMT -7)   
Prednisone is a common cause of acne, but if it is not due to that, it could potentially be caused by Crohn's. NostraHistoria is on the money with all those comments and it may be better to ignore the cause and treat the problem as required.

Some articles I have seen say that acne can be caused by histamine in the oil glands causing overproduction of sebum. Histamine can be a response to Crohn's, but it could also be an allergic reaction. It may also be that skin bacteria are being targeted by the mast cells on the skin - rather like the intestinal bacteria are in Crohn's - resulting in the release of histamine. It may even be that there is a common staph bacteria both on the skin and in the gut causing the problem. The bacteria could cause a sensitizing reaction by passing through the gut wall during gut inflammation and the sensitized mast cells on the skin would then react to those bacteria. Some sources suggest that eliminating the problem sensitizer for a few weeks to a couple of months may allow the reaction to subside - effectively "curing" the problem. For Crohn's, this means avoiding both the skin bacteria and gut inflammation for that long.

Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 348
   Posted 9/26/2009 4:23 PM (GMT -7)   
After he takes a shower with warm water, tell him to put on cold water so that his pores close up.
27m - Dx January 2005: UC/Crohn's
Entocort 9 mg, Zosyn IV 4.5g x 3, Flucanozole 200mg, Asacol 4 x 3

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2006
Total Posts : 1177
   Posted 9/26/2009 5:48 PM (GMT -7)   
My husband too has suffered from both face and body acne since he was a teenager I think. Poor thing, sometimes he gets these really really big volcanoes that hurt. He also suffers from a condition called seborrheic dermatitis, and he has combination skin, so he can't really use the salicylic acid stuff because it makes him peel really bad on some parts. He saw a dermatologist, and she recommended using head and shoulders shampoo, not just for his head, but also for his face - which helps with the seborrheic dermatitis, and also with the face acne. He then uses a gentle face moisturizer called Himalaya herbals Face Moisturizing Lotion.

Also, he's been using a turmeric and sandalwood soap that seems to be helping his body acne, especially on his back, without drying out his back. NostraHistoria is on the mark with all the usual acne treatment . . . however, this made my husband turn beet red, and peel like crazy, because he had I guess what you call patchy combination skin and the seborrheic dermatitis didn't help.

Also, I started using un-scented clothes detergent, and dryer sheets, and that seems to help too.

Husband with Crohn's
Diagnosed March 2003 Ulcerative Proctitis
Diagnosed March 2008 Crohn's & C-diff, hospitalized 45 days
Canasa, Lialda, Remicade, VSL#3, Florastor
In Remission since June 2008
Stopped vancomycin for c-diff Jan 1 2009
C-diff free, until Sep 2, 2009
Fighting c-diff, I guess for life

Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2009
Total Posts : 20
   Posted 9/26/2009 6:12 PM (GMT -7)   
hm, I guess we'll just have to try those treatments. It just seemed very coincidental that his face acne started not long after his Crohn's was diagnosed. But you are all right, it doesnt' really matter what's causing it. We'll just need to treat it and hope it clears up.

Elite Member

Date Joined Feb 2004
Total Posts : 20577
   Posted 9/26/2009 7:20 PM (GMT -7)   
Pred is known to cause the tiny acne you've described but not typically big and/or painful acne...I've only ever gotten the tiny acne that covers a large area (always on my back, never on my face) kind. Otherwise I'm not really prone to acne, never really have been even before CD.

My bum is broken....there's a big crack down the middle of it! LOL :)

Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2008
Total Posts : 41
   Posted 9/29/2009 2:18 PM (GMT -7)   
I have also developed strange skin sores in the last two years. I have been told that it is alot of things, mainly they have labeled it acne, I have heard shingles, chickenpox, MRSA, and pyoderma from dermatologists.  I did have acne as a teenager but this seems different to me. It was mainly on my face then spread to my neck and now I have developed it on both my sides under my arms. they are very very painful sometimes fluid filled but itchy and start off just as red flat spots. I had a derm do a punch biopsy on one of the areas recently they also did culture the fluid and did a viral stain slide also. It came back as a bacterial folliculitis. I have not changed soaps, been in hot tubs, etc. The local doctor was not sure how to treat so I actually went yesterday to the Cleveland Clinic for my crohns and decided to make an appt with a derm there. They felt it could just be a bacteria or could be related to the crohns. It started for me right after Imuran and worsened with Tysabri infusions. they gave me Keflex antibiotics not the best choice for skin but I cannot tolerate others well. I am to use PanOxyl bar soap, can be purchased at Walgreens, etc and also gave me a prescription for Cleocin lotion. So far it has already begun to dry up and is not as painful.  You may want to try the soap and have some of the areas cultured. They also did another culture yesterday to see what antibiotics it is sensitive too. I believe that its related to my crohns completely. Over the past two years whenever my face breaks out my crohns is flaring. I also believe that is has alot to do with crohns medications. Not sure I  helped much
Good Luck!

Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2009
Total Posts : 90
   Posted 9/29/2009 4:39 PM (GMT -7)   
I've also been getting acne when before i had very smooth skin, but I have only attributed it to not being able to afford tanning or have energy to workout anymore. I've been trying facemasks and acne treatment gel. Geesh, Thats interesting it might be from the meds. I hope its the Entocort because I'm weaning off of it for the next 4 weeks cuz the Remicade is working YAY! There are bodywashes as well as facewashes for acne... Best of luck to your hubbie :)
dx w/CD finally in July 2009, currently taking pentasa, entocort, cipro, flagyl, probiotics, celexa, bentyl, biofeedback.
"It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change" Charles Darwin

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