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Severe Acne: Antibiotics for Wiping Out Acne for Clear Skin

If you’re reading this article, you are struggling with moderate to severe acne. Perhaps it’s painful cystic acne or constant inflammatory breakouts. And–it’s most likely not going away with over-the-counter remedies, like salicylic acid cleansers or benzoyl peroxide spot treatments.

It might be time to try something a bit stronger. 

Oral antibiotics are an effective acne treatment most often used when other options have failed or aren’t getting the job done. If you’re dealing with persistent or severe acne, learn more about how you can use oral antibiotics to help clear up your skin. 


A Closer Look at Oral Antibiotics for Acne

How Do Oral Antibiotics Treat Acne? 

Oral antibiotics treat acne from within, rather than topical creams medications on the skin. They work by targeting
acne-causing bacteria in and around the follicles to reduce inflammation and decrease sebum production. 

More specifically, oral antibiotics help decrease or kill the skin bacteria called propionibacterium acnes (now renamed C. acnes). The combination of anti-inflammatory and oil reduction effects of oral antibiotics helps reduce future breakouts and clear up existing acne lesions. 


Combining Oral Antibiotics with Other Acne Medications

In most cases, oral antibiotics are used in combination with other
acne treatments, such as benzoyl peroxide, topical retinoids and topical antibiotics, to increase effectiveness of therapy. 

At the Center for Surgical Dermatology, we often recommend the combination of oral antibiotics and topical medication to treat acne, as this has shown the most significant effectiveness at both diminishing acne lesions and reducing the chance of future breakouts. 


What are the Possible Side Effects of Oral Antibiotics? 

All antibiotics, both topical or oral, have possible side effects. Below we cover the most common side effects of using oral antibiotics for acne: 

  • Antibiotic resistance
  • Nausea 
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Photosensitivity
  • Constipation 


When Should Oral Antibiotics Be Used to Treat Acne?

Oral antibiotics can be a useful option when treating moderate to severe acne, especially in the case of deep, cystic acne and painful breakouts. However, dermatologists only turn to prescribe oral antibiotics when acne has failed to respond to other treatment methods, such as a prescription-strength benzoyl peroxide cream or prescription-based retinoids and topical antibiotics. 

Additionally, it’s essential to keep in mind that while oral antibiotics are highly effective at treating acne, they tend only to be used for short periods at a time to reduce possible side effects or long-term implications, such as bacterial resistance. 


Which Oral Antibiotics Do We Recommend for the Treatment of Acne? 

Though there are many different families of antibiotic acne treatments, we most often recommend tetracyclines, which tend to be the most effective at treating acne with fewer side effects. The most commonly prescribed medications are doxycycline, minocycline, and sarecycline. 

In specific cases, other classes of oral antibiotics may be prescribed.


Are You Ready to Try Oral Antibiotics for Acne? 

If you’re struggling with painful cystic acne, brutal breakouts, or stubborn blemishes that just won’t go away with other treatment methods, it might be worth trying a round of oral antibiotics for your severe acne. 


Clear skin is possible, and our team of skin experts is here to help you find the right treatment to eliminate your acne for good. Book an appointment online here or call (614) 847-4100 to schedule an appointment and start clearing your skin today! 

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