Acne: Treatment With Antibiotics

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: November 16, 2023

Author: Healthwise Staff
Clinical Review Board
All Healthwise education is reviewed by a team that includes physicians, nurses, advanced practitioners, registered dieticians, and other healthcare professionals.

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated, disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Learn how we develop our content.

© 1995-2024 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.

Join Us

We believe that health disparities will continue to exist, only if we allow them to continue. Knowing how to take charge of your health care system is critical to getting the best health care possible.