Oral Antibiotics: Now Used to Treat Acne

If you have been dealing with acne that does not respond to regular treatment, there are a few stronger options that may still help you get rid of your acne. One of those options is to use an oral antibiotic to treat your acne. One of the main causes of acne is bacteria getting trapped in pores. This inflames the pore, and causes swelling and redness. Because antibiotics can kill bacteria, some doctors and dermatologists have begun prescribing antibiotics to treat acne. One of the advantages of an oral, rather than a topical application, is that it treats all skin, including acne on the back and other parts of the body. Other advantages of oral antibiotics for acne treatment are that it is very effective, and in most cases improvements are visable within a few weeks.

How does it work?

Antibiotics reduce the number of bacteria in and around pores. They also lower the concentration of free fatty acids in sebum, so there is less swelling and inflammation of the affected areas. Additionally, antibiotics reduce chemicals produced by white blood cells that can cause swelling and irritate the skin. Antibiotics not only treat current acne, but also help prevent outbreaks from returning, and reduce their severity when they do occur.

Oral antibiotics usually start out with higher dosages, that decrease after a few weeks of use. The most common antibiotic prescribed for acne is Tetracycline. Dosages range from 250 mg to 500 mg twice a day, depending on the severity of the acne. It is most effective when taken on an empty stomach. Another popular antibiotic is Erythromycin; you do not have to take it on an empty stomach, but it has been known to cause nausea and upset stomachs. Other common antibiotics prescribed to treat acne are Minocycline, Doxycycline and Clindamycin.

Pros and Cons?

Most people who use oral antibiotics to treat their acne have very good results. This method is used frequently for people who do not respond to over the counter or prescription topical acne treatments. Many people, even with cystic acne, report that within weeks their skin is incredibly clear, and breakouts have almost completely stopped.

There are some downsides to taking antibiotics to treat acne though. To begin with taking antibiotics can interfere with birth control, and pregnant women are recommended not to take them. The most common issues people run into are upset and sensitive stomachs, but this can be combated by following instructions given for when and how to take the medication. Additionally, people have found that eating probiotic foods help combat associated nausea. People may experience sensitivity to the sun, and need to wear sunscreen in situations where it was not needed before. Depending on the strength and type of antibiotic prescribed, some women experience yeast infections, because the antibiotic kills all bacteria.

Additionally, the body and bacteria that causes acne will eventually become immune to the antibiotics. So this solution, though usually effective, is not permanent. Stronger prescriptions may extend the effectiveness of the treatment, but it is not a good idea to have large doses of daily antibiotics. Long term, high dose, antibiotic use can lead to liver problems, and a weakened immune system.


Oral antibiotics are a very effective solution for getting rid of acne, and they work in many cases that other treatments do not. However, the remedy is only a short-term solution, and there are a range of side effects from minor to rather serious. Long term antibiotic usage is not a good idea, and after several months the treatments become less effective. Anyone looking into using oral antibiotics should make sure they weigh the possible risks of taking them, versus the high success rate this acne cure has.

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About Nerble

The reason that I enjoy writing for the Acne Expert Team is because I have had acne since becoming a teenager, and at the age of thirty, still struggle with it. I have mostly been able to control it, better now than when I was young, but it is something I am familiar with, and am familiar with the frustration of having it. I have spent over fifteen years of my life reading articles about what causes, and should treat, acne. I have a solid background and understanding of skin problems. I have tried a plethora of products to solve acne, and as I've aged seen what works for me. In addition to having a good basis for understanding acne, since I suffer from it myself, I believe I can relate to, and connect with readers of these articles.

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