In this Article
Are Antibiotics for Acne Treatment Effective
Does Acne Return After Antibiotics
How Do Acne Antibiotics Clear Up Acne
Types of Antibiotic Acne Treatments
Is it Safe to Take Antibiotics to Fight Acne Prone Skin
How Long Does it Take for Acne Antibiotics to Clear Up the Skin
Are There Antibiotics for Cystic Acne Available
What Are the Best Antibiotics for Acne
Can you Safely Take Antibiotics for Six Months
Does Antibiotic Therapy Work Well for Adult Acne
Do Antibiotics Cure Acne
How Do I Use Antibiotics for Hormonal Acne
When Should I Consider Taking Oral Antibiotics for Acne
Is it OK to Take Acne Antibiotics Without a Doctors' Prescription
Why is Ciprofloxacin Used as an Acne Medication
Do Long-Term Antibiotics Always Cure Acne
Can I Reduce How Long I Need Antibiotics For
Acne Treatment Complications
Looking after acne prone skin can sometimes be a case of more than skincare. While we always recommend taking a holistic approach and seeing if lifestyle changes can relieve acne, sometimes acne prone skin might need medications to help manage spots and pustules to help prevent breakouts. Particularly so, moderate to severe acne skin types.
If you're female, and your acne tends to be worse around the time of your period or you have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), then you may benefit from taking the oral contraceptive pill to help manage your acne. Your GP or skin specialist can advise you further.
Alternatively, you could try taking antibiotics to help cure your acne. Antibiotics for acne are only ever prescribed by a doctor, who will be able to do so after assessing your skin.
Here's all you need to know about taking antibiotics for acne.
Are Antibiotics for Acne Treatment Effective?
Used or taken alongside an effective skincare regime, antibiotics for acne treatment can be effective.
Acne can be the result of a lifestyle factor , such as stress, hormones or a poor diet. So it's best to look at these first, to see if you can identify the cause and make changes to help manage your skin.
Does Acne Return After Antibiotics?
Because finding the cause of your acne is key to long term skin management - antibiotics do work for many people to clear their skin, but they will only treat the symptoms, not the cause.
The danger is, once you stop taking antibiotic acne treatment, and you haven't managed the cause of your acne, your acne symptoms will return.
Plus, there is a tendency for doctors to prescribe antibiotics as an easy quick fix, and this kind of over reliance on antibiotics can cause problems with resistance later on down the line.
How Do Acne Antibiotics Clear Up Acne?
Often, acne is caused by an overgrowth of a normal skin bacteria called Propionibacterium acnes. This bacteria can colonise the skin and grow in the skin pores blocked by excess sebum, dirt and cellular debris making acne spots and breakouts worse.
Acne antibiotics work to kill this bacteria , and subsequently clear up the skin. Antibiotics used to treat acne can be topical or oral. Topical antibiotics come in creams and lotions that can be applied directly to the skin every day. Oral antibiotics are tablets that are taken orally each day.
Types of Antibiotic Acne Treatments
There are various antibiotic treatments for acne.
Topical Antibiotics for Acne
Topical antibiotics are available in creams, gels and lotions that you apply directly to the skin. They kill the bacteria that’s naturally present on the skin, but that can take over the skin, infecting the pores and causing spots.
They usually need to be applied to the skin twice a day for at least six to eight weeks. It’s not usually advised to use topical antibiotics for acne for longer than this, as the bacteria can become resistant, rendering them useless.
Common topical antibiotics for acne are clindamycin and erythromycin. They can cause peeling, irritation, burning and redness but this is uncommon. If you do experience side effects, they’re often mild and dissipate after a few weeks.
Oral Antibiotics for Acne
Oral antibiotics for acne are generally only used for moderate or severe acne and are often used at the same time as topical antibiotic creams and gels. It often takes up to six weeks of treatment to see a significant improvement.
The group of antibiotics called tetracyclines are the most common antibiotics for acne but they’re unsuitable for pregnant or breastfeeding women. In this case, your doctor may prescribe erythromycin.
Is it Safe to Take Antibiotics to Fight Acne Prone Skin?
On the whole, antibiotics are a safe acne medication option. But they do come with some side effects including making the skin more sensitive to sunlight and interfering with the efficacy of the contraceptive pill. In some people, they can also cause an upset stomach and sickness.
There is also the risk that your body will become used to them, and the bacteria they're helping to control will become resistant to them. This will mean that they'll stop working and you may require a stronger dose.
How Long Does it Take for Acne Antibiotics to Clear Up the Skin?
Topical acne antibiotics are usually prescribed for between six and eight weeks. They can be effective at treating acne, but can also cause some mild side effects such as mild burning, irritation, redness or peeling.
Oral acne antibiotics are often prescribed at the same time as topical antibiotics to help clear the skin. It's common to be prescribed oral antibiotics for four to six months and you should notice the difference in your skin after around six weeks.
Are There Antibiotics for Cystic Acne Available?
Antibiotics for cystic acne can be very effective. Cystic acne is the most severe form of acne, causing angry, red, pus-filled spots and clusters. Treatment can be difficult, which is why antibiotics are often used.
Most cases of cystic acne are caused by an overgrowth of the natural skin bacteria, which is why antibiotics for cystic acne are so effective, However, when cystic acne isn't caused by bacterial overgrowth, antibiotics may not work.
Your GP or dermatologist will be able to advise you if you think you have cystic acne.
What Are the Best Antibiotics for Acne?
The most common and best antibiotics for acne are from the family of tetracycline antibiotics. These can make the skin more sensitive to UV light, so you may be advised to take steps to protect your skin from the sun.
They can also affect the efficacy of the contraceptive pill, so if you're using the pill for contraceptive reasons, make sure you use condoms for as long as advised.
Can you Safely Take Antibiotics for Six Months?
Yes, most doctors will prescribe oral antibiotics for up to six months. You will probably be asked to return at intervals during this time for repeat checkups so that your doctor can keep an eye on your skin and help you manage any side effects.
Does Antibiotic Therapy Work Well for Adult Acne?
Like with many different treatments for many different health conditions, antibiotic therapy works differently for different people. However, it’s a common treatment for adult acne that does help to clear most people's skin. It may be a case of trial and error for you, but used alongside skincare designed for non-conformist skin it could be the answer your skin needs.
If you're pregnant or breastfeeding, your doctor may prescribe a different antibiotic for your skin. Erythromycin is considered a safer option for pregnant or breastfeeding women than tetracyclines, although it may be best to avoid any such medication and see if your skin settles after pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Do Antibiotics Cure Acne?
Yes, in most cases. If you're prescribed oral antibiotics and / or topical antibiotics for your acne, you will need to use them for around six weeks to see if they're going to work for you.
If your acne is caused by something other than an overgrowth of skin bacteria, such as hormonal reasons, a food intolerance or an acidic diet then they may not work for you. Your doctor or skin specialist will be able to give you more information.
How Do I Use Antibiotics for Hormonal Acne?
Your doctor will give you full instructions for using your topical or oral antibiotics for hormonal acne. To maximise their benefit, use or take them as instructed, for the time frame suggested by your doctor.
If you use them other than instructed, they may not work properly and you may never know if they could've been the answer to your acne prone skin.
When Should I Consider Taking Oral Antibiotics for Acne?
We recommend always taking a holistic view to treating acne first. This includes finding the right skincare and making certain lifestyle changes as mentioned above. But if none of this works, then it's worth speaking to your GP about antibiotics.
If you have moderate to severe acne, and other treatments such as over the counter acne creams and gels haven't helped, then antibiotic creams and tablets could work for you. Speaking to your GP about your skin is the best first step to taking antibiotics for your acne.
Is it OK to Take Acne Antibiotics Without a Doctors' Prescription?
No. Never trust antibiotics that haven't been prescribed by your GP or skin specialist. They may be counterfeit and at best, not work. At worst, they could be extremely dangerous.
Online doctors do exist, where you can get an online prescription for skin antibiotics. Many of these are very trustworthy but others aren't. Always look for an online doctor who displays their GMC number and is registered with both the CQC and the MHRA.
Why is Ciprofloxacin Used as an Acne Medication?
Ciprofloxacin is from a different family of antibiotics than doxycyclines and tetracyclines that can be a useful acne medication if you're not suitable for other antibiotic treatments. Your doctor will advise the best course of action for you.
Do Long-Term Antibiotics Always Cure Acne?
Acne can be caused by an overgrowth of skin bacteria, but not always. Since antibiotics are designed to kill bacteria, if bacteria aren’t causing your acne breakouts, then long-term antibiotics aren’t necessarily the answer for you.
Therefore, antibiotics are not considered an absolute cure, as they may not be targeting the cause of your acne. The cause of your acne may be related to genetics, a food intolerance, an acidic diet, hormones or the environment you work or live in.
Always take a holistic view to treating acne first, before considering antibiotics. This includes finding the right skincare and making certain lifestyle changes If none of this works, then speak to your GP about antibiotics.
Can I Reduce How Long I Need Antibiotics For?
If the thought of long-term antibiotics makes you uneasy, then there are ways you can get the best from them, potentially shortening the period that you need to take them for:
- Use a probiotic supplement at the same tie to help look after your gut microbiome
- Stay well hydrated and eat plenty of healthy fresh fruits and vegetables
- Use nourishing skincare products that best support your skin
- Always follow the instructions on taking antibiotics
Acne Treatment Complications
Taking antibiotics can result in some unwanted side effects and complications. We’ve already discussed their potential to be ineffective if your acne isn't caused by an overgrowth of skin bacteria.
In addition to that, using them for too long can result in the bacteria becoming resistant to them, and their effectiveness dwindling. This can also mean that taking antibiotics at another time for another infection elsewhere could be ineffective too.
Also, antibiotic acne treatments may cause dry, irritated skin or stomach upsets and discomfort. Speaking to your GP and having regular checkups can help to put your mind at rest.
Whether you decide to take antibiotics or not, treat your skin to the Sönd alkalising skincare range, specifically developed to help support the unique needs of acne prone skin.
https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/acne/derm-treat/antibiotics https://health.clevelandclinic.org/antibiotics-for-acne-how-much-is-too-much/ https://www.dermatologytimes.com/view/avoid-antibiotics-acne-treatment-when-possible
This article is not meant to treat or diagnose. Please visit your doctor for advice about any health concerns you may have.