B12 injections and acne?

I had my last loading dose on the 28th July and am finding I'm having breakouts around my chin, with sore painful spots.

I knew that this might happen with b12 injections and I was very anxious about starting them as I suffered from severe acne from a young teenager and well into my 20's. I'm 33 now and still find I am still having to keep it in check. I know it's irrational and know the serious implications of not having the b12 deficiency treated, but with acne I feel it almost affects me psychologically :(

Is this only going to be short term after loading doses, or will it stay for good? Will it go away and return on my next 3 monthly jab?

I'm almost tempted to get a short course of antibiotics to see if it can help me through this first few months.

So depressed about it at the moment :(

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20 Replies

  • I think it can get less, with less frequent B12, you will find a lot of like minded people in this topic, see:


    Some get a mild anti-biotic, some use honey as a face mask, which has cleaning properties, its all a matter of balance of and getting the treatment right and have quality of life. So try everything to see what may help you. I hope it will get less now you are going onto maintenance doses.

    Kind regards,


  • One theory is that it is the bodies immune system kicking back in and some people do find that it goes away, but unfortunately we are all individuals and there is no guarantee.

    I'd suggest that you persevere for a while and talk to your GP about it if it continues. My mother had skin problems all her life (not connected to B12) and had to use a medicated shampoo - I used to get acne associated with hormonal changes but that has been much less in the last few years - at one point it was really bad - probably 30s and 40s - and it was one of the ways I knew where I was in the cycle (that and the migraines :)). I can't be sure if it's related but it did get better, along with the amount of period pain, when I started supplementing with iron.

    sorry, that is probably a facile answer and you've already tried everything under the sun with the acne. I can only empathise. I think it is a condition that isn't taken as seriously as it should be by some GPs and can be quite debilitating at times - have you tried seeing if there is a support group that you could join - pretty sure there must be one out there.

  • Hi, I have not suffered from acne so can only go by my own experiences. I developed spots to my face and back after the initial loading dose. I now experience very mild symptoms after each top up injection. I think this is quite common. I think the issue for you is probably about causation . Is it the same chemicals/hormones/ bodies reaction etc which cause the symptoms to the B12 loading dose as those which cause acne? If they are in no way related and causation is different you may be ok. You really need to speak to a medic about this and a good one too!

    Good luck

  • Hi, I have not suffered from acne so can only go by my own experiences. I developed spots to my face and back after the initial loading dose. I now experience very mild symptoms after each top up injection. I think this is quite common. I think the issue for you is probably about causation . Is it the same chemicals/hormones/ bodies reaction etc which cause the symptoms to the B12 loading dose as those which cause acne? If they are in no way related and causation is different you may be ok. You really need to speak to a medic about this and a good one too!

    Good luck

  • Hi I had a bad chin break-out for a couple of weeks after loading doses and spots on my scalp which had never happened before but it has settled down now that I am getting less frequent injections. Hope it settles for you soon.

  • HI,

    I never really ahd spots as a teenager but after my first pregnancy they kicked in and I found I had to be careful what I ate ( i.e. at christms and easter when sweets abound int he house I have to be careful as sugar brings them out in me)

    before I started the B12 my skin was excruciatingly dry - I looked like a zombie, skin peeling off etc - and the spots came on with a vengeance - so I know ti was not greasy skin, and I am naauseous from all the pain meds I am on so not eating any sweeties at all.

    I had a quick pootle on t'internet myself, and it appears that if you are very low on B12 - the replacement kicks your immune system in first - and your body detoxes.

    You can help this process - make it go faster and less painfully ( painful cyst spots) by helping the detox process - this is a good thing so do help it along!

    I can highly reccomend a cleansing drink in the morning - during hte summer I tke mago, papaya and ginger, clended togther in one of those inexpensive drink blenders that come with their own bottles forthe drinks you blend ( about £25.00) - this will get your digestion going to help the toxin removal for the day.

    In the winter I would take a tea of ginger, tumeric and chillies with a bit of honey.

    Drink plenty of water during the day

    avoid caffeine if you can ( switch from coffee to tea)

    cut down on the red meat and gluten for a couple of weeks

    and in the evening take a green soothing smoothy to help your digestive system cleanse itself overnight - I use curley Kale, cucumber, parsley, and a shot of aloe vera juice (you can buy this from tesco's even - or any health food store) - again belnded in the simple smoothy blender ( they handily come with 2 bottles so enough for a whole day's worth of smoothies

    In winter try fennel seed and peppermint tea ( great of you bloat) with a shot of aloe vera.

    I find this has settled my skin down rather well, and I am starting to look human again! :-) LOL

    before the B12 I tried every type of moisturiser once the leprosy type skin condition hit me, but it was just a lack of B12 - my body was literally falling apart ( my B12 level was 65)

    I hope this is helpful and comforts you to know the spots will go away. Yours may a bit more aggressive and may last a bit longer than mine if you are prone to spots, but it will eventually go away - just try to make sure your B12 doesn't drop too much between shots or you may find you are going through the detox process every time you have a shot ( if the B12 is too low your body may go back to not being able to protect itself and the nasty toxins may build up again as your immune system fails again)

    Wishing you the very best of luck - if you want any recipe ideas or want to know where to get the blenders, please PM me - I searcherd the interweb for a long time to find a good one at a reasonable price , so happy to share my findings :-)

    Big Hugs,


  • Hi Laurabeebee

    This is my first post as I've only just joined.

    My spots were so bad that my doctor refused to allow me to have the 6th loading dose injection as he thought it was an allergic reaction. I was tempted not to continue with B12 as they were so bad. My spots come and go, especially on my chin and neck. They are worse at the moment as I'm supplementing with an oral B12 spray.

    I was really down about it at first. However, I feel so much better overall since having B12 that bad skin seems like a small(ish) price to pay. I'm nearly 40 and look like a teenager! I am planning to try some of the tips people are suggesting.

    I hope your spots reduce over time. Good luck.

  • Hi Linda - thanks so much for replying! :) do you mind me asking how long you have been getting the injections now for? :)

  • Hi Laurabeebee

    I had a B12 test a bit over a year ago and was told by my GP that I need B12 injection, although my GP never explained why or what B12 deficiency is. If I'd have known how important it is it may have made the spots easier to put up with.

  • Hi I got it across my back and shoulders with the loading dose and I think again with my first injection 3 months later, been fine since though and my homocysteine levels have dropped so i think it's worth persevering.

  • Thanks Serendipity :). I've read you can get homocysteine levels down with methylfolate - are you taking these? :)

  • No I was only tested for homocysteine because at 147/158 my B12 was considered a borderline result. When finally put on b12 injections I'm on an injection every 3 months I was also given some iron tablets for a bit and I took over the counter folate for about a month. Are you taking methyl folate?

  • Hi laurabeebee,

    I started b12 injections in February and had a massive outbreak of spots on my chin, cheeks, neck and chest. This lasted for about 2 months and had almost cleared up by the time I was due my next injection.

    After the next injection it broke out again, but only on my chin and much less severe than the first time.

    After my last injection 3 weeks ago I had a slight breakout on my chin again but much smaller and less red than the previous times.

    I'm hoping that my skin will eventually stop breaking out as it does seem to be getting better after each injection.

  • Hi! I know this post is a year old, but I just started my b12 injections last week and the same week I've suddenly developed acne on my forehead.

    I've always had bad acne, so last May I started taking Skinoren to get rid of it. I'm so, so upset that I've had clear skin for less than a year and now I've got pimples all over my forehead.

    I have three more injections to go..has anyone else found that it gets better after the loading dose? If it causes acne despite me taking Skinoren I'd almost rather have neurological problems than feel so depressed about how I look! I woke up this morning and saw my skin and almost started crying. I hate this so much.

  • Hi minniemouse89

    So feel for you.

    I'd never had great skin but the breakout I had after the b12 injections I had in Oct 2014 was so so much worse than anything I'd had before. like you was very depressed about it. It also started all over my forehead.

    it lasted a few months - took until Feb '15 before skin was back to normal. Hopefully yours is a lot better now?

    Still get spots on my scalp - which is weird but face is completely clear - hooray! It's the best it's ever been. My age may have something to do with it I'm about to be 56 and am still menopausal.

    Last week's blood test showed that my b12 was down again and doc wanted to me to have more injections. I'm not. I'm actually not that tired and don't really have any symptoms. For me the skin problems are sooo much worse.

    Have decided to eat a little more marmite, and see how it goes. It seems that it may be a sudden huge increase that does the damage, so am hoping that just a slight increase over time will do the trick.

    Very best wishes,


  • Hi Jan,

    Thanks for you response! I also stopped the b12 injections. I ended up getting bad scarring from the acne being so persistent and aggressive...it's left me quite upset because I never really had this before (discolouring of the skin where outbreaks repeatedly happened). I went to visit the dermatologist recently since my GP was clueless, who confirmed that it was good I had stopped the b12 injections because of the reaction I had. I will substitute b12 in my diet like you're suggesting, I never want to go through that again!

  • I hope it's OK for me to reply to this topic, despite not really suffering from acne. However, I thought it might be interesting to share some of the more recent research into B12 and acne.

    This paper - stm.sciencemag.org/content/... - suggests that high levels of B12 in the human reduced the production of B12 by the bacteria responsible for acne. It also promoted the production of chemicals called porphyrins (made famous in the film - The Madness of King George). If it is this increase in porphyrin production that promotes the acne flare-up then blue-light treatment may be effective.

  • Hi

    I started my injections in march and started with the 6 loading doses over 2 weeks. I found after my second injection I got a rash on my face straight after. I mentioned this to the nurse but was told it was nothing to worry about. after my 6th injection I found my skin felt very bumpy and rough around my forehead and chin. I then began breaking out in spots all over my face arms and neck, I then got dry red bumpy skin around my nose looked a lot like acne! this continued for weeks and my skin looked awful. i spoke again to the nurse about it who said it could possibly be down to the injections but she wasn't sure.... not much of a help! its been 2 months since my last injection and my skin has cleared up i still have the roughness on my chin and a few spots on my neck but nothing compared to what i had. i found using sudocrem and a good moisturiser helped a lot.

    i also just started taking some anti histamines & have noticed my skin is a lot clearer. hope yours clears up soon i know how depressing it can be!!

  • Old post but I've been on them a couple months. Usually twice a week and my skin looks clearer than before. Never had acne maybe a zit or two when I'd get a cold or my period. I'm worried this will happen to me but it probably already would have!

    But there's this stuff by Queen Helene it's a mint julep face mask. Amazing for acne! I also have used alba botanica line called Acnedote. A toner, cleanser, lotion and face scrub. Even a spot cream. All amazing stuff for when I get little break outs here and there. It can't hurt you to try if you still have acne :)

  • I googled it as I have some on my chin and it's upsetting as I've always had great skin... All under my mouth they are... I have made it worse by using ckearasil and drying the skin out making it rough and flakey :(( I'm not sure if mine is hrt gel tablet related or the self administered jabs of b12..... It's heartbreaking to have them at this age !

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