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Acne is common skin disease that affect almost 90% of the people at some time in their life. Acne is caused by abnormal desquamation of follicular epithelium which results in obstruction of the pilosebaceous canal. The  obstruction of the pilosebaceous canal further  leads to the formation of comedones. These comedones becomes inflamed due to overgrowth of Propionibacterium acnes.

Topical Preparations like Benzoyl peroxide, Salicylic Acid, Azelaic Acid, Retinoids, Sulfur Preparations and many topical antibiotics are mainly used in the treatment of acne. These topical preparations are either used a single line regimen or with combination therapy.

Topical antibiotics are safer and accurate to use as compared to other oral antibiotics . Topical antibiotics are mainly used for their role to kill  P acnes. They may also have anti-inflammatory properties, Thus killing the bacteria and keeps the glands unblocked. The most commonly used topical antibiotics are Tetracycline, Erythromycin and Clindamycin. Study shows that Clindamycin is more effective than topical tetracycline in treating acne. They are most effective in combination with benzoyl peroxide. These preparation can be used once or twice a day depending upon the nature of acne. Gels and solutions may be more irritating than creams or lotions.

Clindamycin: Clindamycin  is one of the most commonly used topical antibiotics. It is available in 1% concentration in a hydro-alcoholic vehicle as a gel or lotion. This can be Applied once or twice daily. Some common side effects might be Skin dryness and another which is rare ( only 2-3 cases ) might be  pseudomembranous colitis. Patients suffering from inflammatory bowel disease should not use this antibiotics. The therapy must be stopped if any gastrointestinal symptoms occurs. It can be used in combination with benzoyl peroxide prepration for better outcome.

Erythromycin : Erythromycin is another popular antibiotics used as topical treatment. It is available as 1.5 %  solution, 2% solution or a combination 3%  Erythromycin and 5%  benzoyl peroxide gel. It can be applied once or twice daily. It doesn’t have much more side effects and can be used in pregnancy too.

Tetracycline: Tetracycline is another topical antibiotic used in acne treatment. It comes in 2.2 %  solution. It may be applied once or twice daily. Special precautions should be taken before applying it as it might stain skin and clothes. Sometimes  it may cause severe allergic reactions to skins.

It is important to know that acne is not a disease of hygiene. so you should not try to scrub the lesions away, and  should not use alcohol-based astringents which might dry and irritate your skin.

If you have any questions that are not answered here you can ask us at DermaTalk Skin Care Forum



  1. Enlargement
    January 16, 2009 at 9:36 am

    I am amazed with it. It is a good thing for my research. Thanks

  2. Natural
    January 18, 2009 at 8:27 am

    I think you are thinking like sukrat, but I think you should cover the other side of the topic in the post too…

  3. sasderwn
    March 17, 2009 at 10:31 pm

    Hello World

  4. Jenna
    June 21, 2009 at 2:03 pm

    Hey this is a very interesting article!

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