10 Acne Medications
When dirt, oil and bacteria plug the hair follicles in the skin, the bacteria causes an infection that leads to acne. In some cases, self-care measures do not control acne breakouts. For people who struggle with acne, topical antibiotics, oral antibiotics and other medications work to control pimples and reduce the effects of the condition.
Topical tretinoin prevents oil and dead skin cells from clogging the pores. This prescription medication comes in liquid, cream, solution and gel forms for easy application to the skin.
Doctors prescribe adapalene to prevent the formation of pimples under the surface of the skin. Available as a cream, gel or solution, you apply this treatment directly to the skin.
Tazarotene improves the appearance of the skin, but doctors also prescribe the medication to treat acne. You should not use this medication if you are pregnant or plan to get pregnant during your acne treatment.
Doctors prescribe isotrenitoin to treat serious cases of nodular acne when other treatments fail. This drug slows the production of substances that contribute to the development of acne. Since isotreinitoin poses serious risks to pregnant women and their unborn children, pharmacies have many restrictions in place on the sale of this drug. Women who take the drug must use two forms of birth control for at least one month prior to starting treatment, during treatment and one month after treatment, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Oral contraceptives treat acne caused by fluctuations in hormone levels. The Mayo Clinic reports that contraceptives that contain a combination of ethinyl estradiol and norgestimate can improve acne in women. Watch for side effects like nausea, headaches, depression and breast tenderness.
Benzoyl peroxide kills the acne-causing bacteria that build up in the pores. Some products combine benzoyl peroxide with an antibiotic for an effective acne treatment.
Doctors prescribe the oral antibiotic erythromycin to eliminate the bacteria that cause acne. Oral antibiotics have more side effects than topical acne drugs because they affect the entire body. Side effects of erythromycin include mild itching, vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, stomach pain, headache, fatigue, dizziness and vaginal itching, according to Drugs.com.
Tetracycline prevents bacteria from growing and spreading into the pores. This prevents acne pimples and maintains the appearance of the skin. This systemic antibiotic may cause vaginal itching, sore mouth, diarrhea, upset stomach, changes in skin color and redness of the skin.
Doxycycline also kills the bacteria that cause acne, which prevents clogging of the pores in the skin. Do not take this drug if you are pregnant or plan a pregnancy. Side effects similar to those of tetracycline may occur with the use of doxycycline.
Clindamycin, a lincomycin antibiotic, slows down or stops the growth of the bacteria that cause acne. Side effects of clindamycin include vomiting, nausea, heartburn, joint pain, vaginal discharge, vaginal itching and white patches in the mouth.
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