Acne Treatment with Topical Antibiotic Therapy
There are many prescription medications used for the treatment of acne. Examples of types of medications include topical antibiotics, topical retinoids, topical antibacterial and anti-inflammatory medications. Topical antibiotics are one of the most common prescription treatments used for acne. They have been used for many years and have evolved with time.
The most common topical antibiotic used in dermatology today for the treatment of acne is clindamycin. Clindamycin directly targets the p. acnes bacteria that causes acne. Clindamycin is frequently combined with benzoyl peroxide in what is called “combination medicines.” Erythromycin is another topical antibiotic that is used to treat acne. Dapsone is an antimicrobial medication that is used similarly to a topical antibiotic.
Are topical antibiotics just as good as oral antibiotics for treating acne?
Depending on the severity of your acne, your dermatologist may decide to give you a topical antibiotic, an oral antibiotic or both. Topical antibiotics are sufficient for the treatment of acne in many patients. However, some patients need an oral antibiotic in order to treat their acne. Both topical and oral antibiotics are often combined with other medications in order to get optimal results. Benzoyl peroxide is commonly combined with Clindamycin (in medications such as Duac, Benzaclin and Acanya) and these formulations have been clinically shown to be superior to either ingredient on its own. In recent years, Clindamycin has been combined with tretinoin (in medications such as Ziana and Veltin.) Oral antibiotics are often used in combination with topical medications such as retinoids, topical antibiotics and benzoyl peroxide.
Can you do in-office procedures to treat acne if you are using a topical antibiotic?
Yes, topical antibiotics are safe to be using while undergoing in-office procedures for the treatment of acne. Most acne treatments work best when used in combination.
Do topical antibiotics use in acne treatments cause dryness on the skin?
Topical antibiotics may be slightly drying, but are considered to be among the most tolerable of the topical acne medications. Certain formulations are less drying than others; for example, Clindamycin lotion is much less drying than Clindamycin solution. Your dermatologist or acne specialist will instruct you on how to use your topical antibiotics in order to avoid irritation and dryness.
Are topical antibiotics available over-the-counter?
Topical antibiotics are only available by prescription. An acne specialist at the Clear Clinic can determine if topical antibiotics are appropriate for you.