ôô

Acne Part II: How to Treat Acne

Find out the available medical options to treat acne.

By
Sanaz Majd, MD
5-minute read

Anti-Bacterials

Acne can have a bacterial component. The bacteria gets into the pores, plugs them up, and causes zits. Therefore, as part of your acne regimen, your doctor may prescribe an anti-bacterial to battle the main acne-producing bacteria called P. Acnes.  Examples include clindamycin and erythromycin.  Combination treatment with retinoids or benzoyl peroxide is commonly used by doctors for anything worse than mild acne. 

Oral rather than topical antibiotics are also an option. The most commonly prescribed are tetracycline, doxycycline, and minocyline.  However, these medications are reserved for people with moderate or severe acne, as they can have significant consequences.  The greatest risk is developing something called “resistance.”  That’s when killing off a lot of the body’s bacteria sometimes causes it to grow stronger, and as a result and the antibiotic will no longer work.  For this reason, antibiotics are typically only recommended for six months or less of use and are not a long term solution to acne.  Treatment with an acne medication in one of the other groups should be started at the same time.

Hormonal Treatment

Taking hormonal contraception has also been shown to improve acne, and for those needing contraception who suffer from mild to moderate acne, this kills two birds with one stone.  It can take up to several months to see a difference, however.  And even though some hormonal contraceptives are marketed more towards acne, all have the potential to treat acne.

Don’t forget to like the House Call Doctor Facebook page, where you can read my health-related posts and links, and ask me your medical questions!

Please note that all content here is strictly for informational purposes only.  This content does not substitute any medical advice, and does not replace any medical judgment or reasoning by your own personal health provider.  Please always seek a licensed physician in your area regarding all health related questions and issues.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Pages

Please note that all content here is strictly for informational purposes only. This content does not substitute any medical advice, and does not replace any medical judgment or reasoning by your own personal health provider. Please always seek a licensed physician in your area regarding all health related questions and issues.

About the Author

Sanaz Majd, MD

Dr. Sanaz Majd is a board-certified Family Medicine physician who graduated from Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia. Her special interests are women's health and patient education.