How to Clear Acne With Antibiotics
Acne occurs for a variety of reasons, including hormone imbalances, overactive oil production and clogged hair follicles. For people struggling with moderate to severe acne, a course of oral antibiotics may get acne under control. Antibiotics treat acne by reducing inflammation and minimizing bacteria on the skin. The medication is taken for up to four months, which allows a dermatologist to determine if acne is responding well to treatment or if another course of treatment is required.
Try topical acne treatments first. Most dermatologists don't prescribe antibiotics for acne before trying over-the-counter or prescription topical acne treatments. Apply topical treatments containing benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid daily. Most topical treatments take up to eight weeks before results appear.
Set up an appointment with a dermatologist. Antibiotics are available through a licensed dermatologist. Find a doctor through the American Academy of Dermatology. A doctor will examine your skin and prescribe an antibiotic such as tetracycline, minocycline or doxycycline, depending on the severity of acne. Take the prescription as directed by your dermatologist. Antibiotics cause sun sensitivity, so it's important to wear sunscreen and avoid the sun when possible.
Use combination therapy for acne that doesn't respond to antibiotics alone. A doctor will prescribe prescription topical treatments, such as retinoid, in addition to antibiotics to clear acne more effectively.
Partner with your doctor to taper off antibiotics. Antibiotics can't be taken long-term because of the risk of antibiotic resistance. Ask your doctor when you should consider discontinuing the medication. Typically, after acne is under control, a dermatologist will slowly discontinue medication and keep acne under control with prescription topical treatments.
Use isotretinoin for acne that doesn't respond to antibiotics. This medication is highly effective for cystic acne that isn't responding to topical or antibiotic treatments. Side effects are serious, and pregnant women can't take the medication because of birth defect risks.
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