Topical Antibiotics For Acne Treatment: 10 Best Bets

Erythromycin, a macrolide antibiotic, and clindamycin, a lincosamide derivative, are the most often used topical antibiotics for acne treatment. These come in a variety of forms, including solutions, lotions, gels, and saturated pads.
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what are topical antibiotics for acne treatment?
Mild acne patients may just require topical antibiotics. Clindamycin is one of the most common types (such as Cleocin). Erythromycin is a kind of antibiotic (such as E-Mycin).

Acne is frequently treated with antibiotics. They come in topical formulations for mild acne, while oral pills, capsules, and elixirs often prescribed for moderate and severe acne. In this article, you will learn how to get rid of acne fast using topical antibiotics for acne.

The overview of topical antibiotics

Because retinoids can be difficult to tolerate and take a long time to function, your dermatologist may choose to treat your inflammatory lesions (papules and pustules) first with antibiotics, either oral or topical. They work significantly more quickly than retinoids. If you’re in a hurry to appear better, the faster reaction may serve as a motivator to keep going with therapy.

The two most often used topical antibiotics for acne (inflammatory acne) are clindamycin and erythromycin. Dermatologists believe they are both effective. They can be used alone or in conjunction with benzoyl peroxide or oral antibiotics to treat acne, rosacea, perioral dermatitis, shaving bumps, and other acne-like conditions (see Chapter 10 for more information on oral antibiotics).

Topical antibiotics kill P. acnes directly. These medications have an anti-inflammatory effect and antibacterial properties, which aids in the healing of inflammatory acne lesions. They appear to have a slight indirect blocking impact on the formation of blackheads and whiteheads due to their bacterial killing abilities (known by the fancy medical name of comedogenesis). Antibiotic creams, ointments, gels, solutions, and lotions are available as topical antibiotics for acne.

This variety allows your dermatologist or healthcare provider to customize your treatment plan based on your skin type and preferences. As you can see in the table below, numerous prescription topical antibiotics for acne are available. Generic versions of erythromycin and clindamycin have become available, while branded generics have been available.

Top 10 topical antibiotics for acne treatment

Brand NameGeneric NameDeliveryStrengths
1. (Branded generics)ErythromycinSolution, gel,
lotion, swabs
2. A/T/SErythromycinSolution, gel2%
3. Theramycin ZErythromycinSolution2%
4. Akne-MycinErythromycinOintment2%
5. ErycetteErythromycinPledgets2%
6. StaticinErythromycinSolution1.5%
7. (Branded generics)ClindamycinSolution, gel,
lotion, pledgets
8. Cleocin TClindamycinSolution, gel,
lotion, pledgets
9. ClindaMaxClindamycinGel, lotion1%
10. ClindetsClindamycinPledgets1%

How to apply topical antibiotics

topical antibiotic application

Topical antibiotics for acne are applied once or twice daily to clean, dry skin in a thin layer to all acne-prone regions. You should notice a reduction in the size of inflammatory acne lesions in four to six weeks. The therapeutic response is usually more successful when a topical antibiotic is coupled with benzoyl peroxide (see “Combining benzoyl peroxide with topical antibiotics,” later in this chapter).

Topical antibiotics for acne may hasten the emergence of resistant P. acnes strains. Resistance is reduced when combined with or used in conjunction with benzoyl peroxide.

Side effects of topical antibiotics

The use of topical antibiotics for acne is associated with mild side effects such as redness, skin irritation, and scaling, although most people handle them well. You may have susceptible skin if you have eczema, a skin ailment.

Applying specific topical antibiotic treatments may cause irritation and burning. If you’re given erythromycin in the form of an ointment, such as Akne-Mycin, or clindamycin in a lotion, you can prevent this.

Combining benzoyl peroxide with topical antibiotics

combining benzoyl peroxide with topical antibiotics

The mainstay of over-the-counter acne treatment is benzoyl peroxide. Benzoyl peroxide can be used alone to treat minor acne, but it’s also frequently used with topical or systemic antibiotics. Combination therapy is the name for this type of treatment because a mix of causes acne, most cases of acne are treated with combination therapy.

Combination therapy refers to the use of combination products, such as those found in Benzamycin, Duac, or BenzaClin, in addition to other treatments, such as a topical retinoid and an oral antibiotic. Your acne is targeted on multiple fronts by using medications with various means and modes of action.

The following are some of the benefits of combining benzoyl peroxide with erythromycin or clindamycin:

  • Adding benzoyl peroxide to the mix, rather than using topical antibiotics for acne alone, prevents P. acnes from developing resistance to them.
  • There appears to be a synergistic impact with this combination.

Talk to your doctor about using a prescription for a generic topical antibiotic like clindamycin or erythromycin lotion combined with over-the-counter benzoyl peroxide to save money on your combination acne treatments. Place them one on top of the other to make a stack.

How to apply combination acne therapy?

Wash your skin gently, rinse with warm water, and pat dry before applying medicine to the affected regions. Apply the gels to all of your acne-prone areas in tiny, pea-sized amounts once or twice a day, or as advised by your doctor, in the morning or at bedtime.

The benzoyl peroxide/antibiotic combo takes four to six weeks to demonstrate meaningful improvement when administered alone. Once-daily treatments are usually sufficient, allowing for the use of other topical acne treatments, such as retinoids, later.

Combination acne therapy side effects

combination acne therapy side effects

Benzoyl peroxide’s most prevalent side effects are dry skin and skin irritation, with a small probability of minor discomfort from topical antibiotics for acne. Dry skin, itching, peeling, redness, and potentially contact dermatitis from benzoyl peroxide sensitivity are all possible side effects.

Apply a moisturizer liberally in the morning to combat excessive dryness. If you administer medication in the morning, make sure the moisturizer is put over the medicated gels so they can do their job. When using these preparations, wash your face with emollient, non-irritating cleansers, just as you would with topical retinoids.

If the combo products irritate your skin (which is usually due to the benzoyl peroxide), consider an over-the-counter water-based benzoyl peroxide solution like Neutrogena On-the-Spot Acne Treatment or a benzoyl peroxide soap bar like Fostex 10 percent BPO Wash. Prescription benzoyl peroxide washes, such as Zoderm and Triaz Cleansers, are also available.

These items can be applied to the skin for 5 minutes before being washed away. Following that, a topical antibiotic such as clindamycin or erythromycin might be used. In that manner, you can still benefit from the benzoyl peroxide effect while avoiding irritation.


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