Antibiotics for acne


Antibiotics for acne

Antibiotics are frequently used to treat acne. They generally work well, but their effectiveness may differ depending on the severity of acne and the skin’s sensitivity to different drugs. Antibiotics are frequently prescribed by dermatologists, but first if you want to get informations about the different medications, here are the best articles about antibiotics for acne from the net to help you :

Antibiotics for Acne – Are They a Real Long Term Solution?

Antibiotics for acne tetracyclineAntibiotics for acne are used in severe and persistent cases, where acne rosacea, acne cysts, acne nodules or pustules cause intense physical discomfort as well as psychological concern to the sufferer. Actually, among all acne medications, acne antibiotics are the most popular prescribed treatment. However, the truth is that an antibiotic for acne is nothing other than a selective poison that acts by killing the bacteria that caused the ailment.

These medications are prescribed because they can target specific pathological agents, therefore their action can be directed to only a single cause. In other words, physicians, dermatologists and pharmacists recommend antibiotics for acne because these products are able to completely destroy and eliminate the bacterium that has caused this unpleasant skin condition.

However the pertinent question would be: If antibiotics used to treat acne are powerful enough to kill such versatile bacteria, what could be their potential impact of these drugs on the patient’s skin and immune system in the long run?

As already mentioned, acne antibiotics are strong pharmaceutical acne treatment products, which destroy the pathogenic agents present inside the sebaceous glands or hair follicles. If left untreated, these bacteria can lead to severe skin inflammatory processes and distressing symptoms. But by far the most concerning aspect of this condition would be the danger that it can leave permanent acne scars on the patient’s skin.

What causes acne and how do acne antibiotics work to treat it?

As you most probably know, a bacterium is a microorganism made of a single cell. Inside the human body there are millions of bacteria that naturally occur at different levels – some of them can normally be found inside the digestive system, on various mucous membranes of the human body or even on the skin. So the problem isn’t caused by the presence of these microorganisms, but by their migration into the sebaceous glands or hair follicles, where they have the potential to produce some harmful chemicals, which can damage the tissues. Without early and effective treatment, these pathogens multiply rapidly, especially at times when the immune system is not at its optimum, leading to a prolonged inflammatory process that can cause irreversible damage to the skin.

The human immune system is designed to fight against a multitude of harmful pathogens. The key components of this system are the white blood cells. They attack pathogens, such as bacteria and destroy them, but the result is a mixture of dead while blood cells and dead harmful bacteria. This mixture is actually the pus created by the infection and inflammation. However, when a weakened immune system is overwhelmed by the infection, the body will not have the capacity to eliminate the bacteria, therefore antibiotics for acne are needed – they’ll kill the remaining bacteria and restore the body’s equilibrium.

The Most Commonly Prescribed Antibiotics for Acne

Antibiotics for acne minocyclineDepending on the severity of your skin condition and on the type of acne you have, your physician may prescribe one of the antibiotiscs listed bellow:

*Tetracycline is the most commonly used antibiotic for acne. Due to its side effects, it can’t be prescribed to children and pregnant women.
*Minocycline is mainly used in treating pustular acne and it is a tetracycline derivative.
*Doxycycline is another popular antibiotic for acne, but it is usually recommended to patients who don’t respond or tolerate other acne antibiotics, not even the common tetracycline.
*Erythromycin has great anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, so besides killing the harmful bacteria it can also reduce redness and lesions.
*Clindamycin is another antibiotic for acne, usually prescribed for severe bacterial infections.

Significant Side Effects of Acne Antibiotics

All these medicines are associated with the variety of side effects. The most common ones are:

*allergic reactions, such as a rash or itching,
*yeast infections in women,
*breathing difficulties,
*nausea or vomiting,
*increased tiredness,
*loss of appetite,
*yellowing of the eyes,
*stomach pain and diarrhea.

Due to these side effects, it’s obvious that antibiotics are not suitable for long term use. Another important factor is the fact that the body ultimately will develop resistance to antibiotics, so if in the future a bacterial infection occurs, these medicines will be less effective and only be able to provide limited and short term benefits.

Regardless of the treatment you opt for, it’s important to understand that the presence of acne in fact indicates that other imbalances or deficiencies are affecting your body. So although antibiotics for acne have their role in the whole treatment strategy, you should choose a therapy, which has the ability to address the underlying causes of this ailment, such as hormone imbalances, vitamin deficiencies, stress and poor diet. Once these issues are dealt with, dramatic changes in the condition of your skin will follow!


Antibiotics Used to Treat Acne

Antibiotics for acne doxycyclineAcne is caused by the effects of hormones on the pilosebaceous unit, consisting of a hair follicle, sebaceous gland, and a hair. The follicle becomes obstructed and an overgrowth of a normal skin bacteria, Propionibacterium acnes, causes destruction of the lining of the follicle. This process allows follicular material to enter the dermis, causing an inflammatory response. For a more detailed description of this process, see What Causes Acne?

How Antibiotics Work for Acne
Antibiotics work by several mechanisms. The most important is the decrease in the number of bacteria in and around the follicle. Antibiotics also work by reducing the irritating chemicals produced by white blood cells. Finally, antibiotics reduce the concentration of free fatty acids in the sebum, also reducing the inflammatory response. The most frequently used antibiotics for acne are summarized here.

Tetracycline is the most widely prescribed antibiotic for acne. The usual starting dose is 500 mg twice a day continued until a significant decrease in acne lesions is seen. The dose can then be decreased to 250 mg twice a day or discontinued. The main drawback for this antibiotic is that it must be taken on an empty stomach to be the most effective. For a teenage boy who eats frequently, this can be very difficult. Tetracycline should not be given to pregnant women or children under 9 years of age.

Erythromycin is a very commonly used antibiotic for acne. It has several advantages over tetracycline. First, it has anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce redness in lesions, in addition to killing bacteria. Also, it can and should be taken with food – a benefit for teenagers. The dosage of erythromycin varies with the type used, but it is typically prescribed as 250 – 500 mg twice a day. It can cause stomach upset and nausea, but can be used in pregnant women.

Minocycline is a tetracycline derivative that has been used effectively for decades as a treatment for acne. It is especially useful for pustular type acne. While the absorption of minocycline is decreased with food, it is not as significant as the decrease seen with tetracycline. The usual starting dose is 50 to 100 mg twice a day. Major side effects of minocycline include dizziness, nausea, vomiting, skin pigmentation changes, and tooth discoloration. The skin and tooth changes are seen more often in people who have taken minocycline for a long time.

Doxycycline is often used for people who do not respond to or cannot tolerate erythromycin or tetracycline. The dosage of doxycycline is started at 50 to 100 mg twice a day. It should be taken with food; otherwise it can cause significant nausea. Doxycycline is more likely than tetracycline to increase sensitivity to the sun, or cause sunburns.

Antibiotics for acne ClindamycinClindamycin is very useful as an oral antibiotic for acne, but it is most widely prescribed as a topical antibiotic. The starting dose is 75 to 150 mg twice a day. The major side effect of clindamycin therapy is serious intestinal infection called pseudomembranous colitis caused by the bacteria, Clostridium difficile.

Side Effects of All Antibiotics
All antibiotics can cause candida vaginal yeast infections in women. Tetracycline seems to be the antibiotic that most frequently has this side effect. All oral antibiotics can also lessen the effectiveness of birth control pills.
All oral antibiotics can cause gastrointestinal upset (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea). Certain antibiotics may also trigger skin and tooth discoloration, and cause photosensitivity. For women, oral antibiotics can cause vaginal yeast infections.

Although many people believe oral antibiotics can lessen the effectiveness of birth control pills, this is actually more fiction than fact. No studies have been done showing this to be the case.

Antibiotic Resistance
Another unfortunate result of antibiotic use is the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria or « super bugs. » While MRSA gets most of the attention, the bacteria that cause pimples can also become resistant to antibiotics.

Antibiotic-resistant P. acnes are becoming more common, making antibiotics lose their effectiveness in some cases. If you aren’t getting noticeable results with one antibiotic, or the antibiotic you’re currently using isn’t as effective as it once was, your doctor may switch you to another.

Long-term use of oral antibiotics is more likely to create antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Because of this, some dermatologists are limiting the time patients take oral antibiotics or prescribing different acne treatment medications altogether.

Oral Antibiotic Treatment Tips

*Use your entire prescription (no leaving tablets unused in the bottle!)
*Some antibiotics you should take with food; others are best taken on an empty stomach. Make sure you know exactly how and when to take yours.
*Don’t go to bed immediately after taking your oral antibiotic. The pill may dissolve in your esophagus, causing painful burning.
*Use sunscreen. This is a good skin care habit in any case, and there are plenty of noncomedogenic sunscreens, or even oil-free moisturizers with SPF, to choose from. Wear it daily.
*Be patient. Oral antibiotics can take several months to really work.


Antibiotics for Acne Treatment

Antibiotics are among the most commonly sought, over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medicines for treating acne. Such antibiotics are available in the topical and oral form. Antibiotics work by gradually killing the bacteria found within the acne. They also help to reduce the inflammatory biochemicals that are secreted by acne-marred skin. These medications reduce the concentration of free fatty acids within the sebum that helps to control the inflammation. Some of the most common anti-acne Antibiotics have been listed below:


This is amongst the earliest of antibiotics to be used for treating acne. It is usually prescribed as tablets. The dosage is gradually reduced until the acne start fading-away. However, tetracycline is not easily tolerated by all people. It tends to induce digestive problems among many users. Its utility in cases of hormone-induced acne is also suspect. It is not recommend to young children and pregnant women.


Antibiotics for acne erythromycinErythromycin is used in the oral and topical form. It is recommended for its ability to reduce the inflammation along with killing the bacteria. Being a broad-spectrum anti-bacterial agent, it can be used for treating most types of bacterial acne. However, Erythromycin is known to cause excessive skin dryness. This can make the skin flaky and itchy, sometimes inducing severe irritation.


Minocycline is actually a derivative of Tetracycline. It is regarded as a more progressive form of Tetracycline. It is more suited for treating pustular type of acne. It is also more capable of reducing inflammation. Side effects associated with Minocycline usage include skin pigmentation, dizziness, tooth discoloration and nausea. Doctors strictly advise against the prolonged usage of Minocycline.


Doxycycline is the preferred anti-acne medication if the patient seems to have high intolerance for Erythromycin and Tetracycline. Doxycycline is usually tolerated better and doesn’t induce digestive side-effects. However, Doxycycline can make the skin hypersensitive towards sun-induced damage.


This is a popular antibiotic. Clindamycin is tolerated well across most types of skin. However, it can cause skin dryness. Thus, its use among people with naturally dry skin is not recommended. Aggravation of sky dryness can cause flakiness of the skin. The skin debris created because of excessive dryness contributes towards increased blockage of hair follicles. One serious side effect associated with Clindamycin therapy is the possibility of the user developing Pseudomembranous colitis. This is a type of intestinal infection.

Medications usually combined with antibiotics:

Antibiotics for acneBenzoyl Peroxide (Anti-Microbial Agent)

Benzoyl Peroxide can kill the acne-causing bacteria but doesn’t have anti-inflammatory properties. Thus, it is combined with oral antibiotics that can alleviate inflammation, such as Erythromycin and Clindamycin.

Isotretinoin (Retinoid)

This is a very potent but slightly-controversial option. Isotretinoin-formulated creams often feature among the latest OTC anti-acne creams. Isotretinoin is known to be quite effective. However, it can cause exaggerated reaction in the facial skin. Most physicians like to recommend Isotretinoin creams only when the acne is severe, such as cases of chronic Cystic Acne.
Serious Concerns Associated with Extended Antibiotic Usage

Even the most conventional of antibiotics, like Tetracycline, can induce side effects. For instance, Tetracycline is known to increase the vulnerability of women to candida vaginal yeast infections. Some oral antibiotics are known to disrupt the hormonal balance that is critical for maintaining fertility in women. These concerns are more likely if the antibiotic regimen is continued over a long period.

Understand Antibiotic Resistance

It has been found that some acne-causing bacteria become resistant to certain types of antibiotics. This is because some of the antibiotics used for treating acne are commonly prescribed for various other diseases/conditions. As a result, most people have used such medications in the past. Due to this, some of the bacterial strains develop a natural defence mechanism against certain antibiotics. More evidence is surfacing across research studies, proving that many, popular OTC antibiotics are indeed ineffective due to increased antibiotic resistance.

Better Options for Acne Treatment than Antibiotics

Many commonly-prescribed antibiotics are associated with a wide range of side effects. It has been observed that even sustained use of antibiotics doesn’t ensure protection against recurrence of acne. Most antibiotics creams/lotions offer temporary cessation of symptoms only. Thus, the overall effectiveness of antibiotics as a comprehensive Acne Treatment is a bit challenged. It’s better to try acne medications that work without the danger of side-effects. Thus, trying naturally-formulated popular alternatives for acne treatment is recommended that guarantee safety and effectiveness.


In any case, follow your doctor’s prescription exactly when you take your antibiotic and read the medication guide to know the exact list of possible effects. Hope you found these articles about antibiotics for acne helpful !

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