Acne: Treatment With Antibiotics

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Overview

Doctors often prescribe antibiotics to treat severe acne or acne that's likely to leave scars. Antibiotics improve the look of your skin by killing bacteria that cause acne. This means you'll have fewer pimples and redness. Less acne means less acne scarring.

You can put antibiotics right on your skin (topical) or take them by mouth.

Talk with your doctor before using these medicines if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

People with mild acne may need only topical antibiotics. The most common types include:

  • Clindamycin.
  • Erythromycin.

This kind of antibiotic may be combined with other acne medicines.

People with severe acne and people who are more likely to have scars from acne often take antibiotics by mouth. The most common ones include:

  • Erythromycin.
  • Tetracyclines. These include:
    • Doxycycline.
    • Minocycline.
    • Sarecycline.

Related Information

Credits

Current as of: August 2, 2022

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
Ellen K. Roh MD - Dermatology




The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.