Acne is one of the most common skin-disease affecting people across the globe, irrespective of gender, age or race.

Acne can be treated in a number of ways which have been commonly recognized worldwide.

Antibiotics like Clindamycin and Erythromycin are some of the most preferred antibiotics administered in cases of acne outbreaks.

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What is Erythromycin?

Erythromycin is an antibiotic that is used to treat certain kinds of bacterial infections that are sensitive to erythromycin.

It is also known as a macrolide antibiotic. It is effective in curing infections spread to various body parts and is not just limited to the skin.

Other uses of erythromycin as a medication (when taken orally) include:

  • It is used in cases of stomach and intestinal stoppage and it stimulates the movement of bowels.
  • It is used to treat certain infections caused by bacteria such as bronchitis, diphtheria, pneumonia, whooping cough, etc
  • It treats infection of the ear, lungs and urinary tract.

How does Erythromycin treat acne?

Erythromycin in its topical form is used to treat acne. It kills the bacteria and prevents their growth thereby preventing acne breakouts.

It is specifically effective against inflammatory acne breakouts.

However, it is most effective when used in combination, especially with Clindamycin and Benzoyl Peroxide.

Both medications are more effective when used together as compared to the use of either by themselves.

How to use Erythromycin?

A thin layer of the Erythromycin gel should be applied on the spot twice a day after the face has been cleaned and dried.

It should be used at the same time each day unless specifically told otherwise by the doctor.

Topical application twice a day will not lead to any absorption. In order to get the most benefits, it should be used for the complete duration of the prescription.

If a white film appears on your skin after the gel has been applied, then you have applied too much of it.

If there is no improvement after 6 or 8 weeks of its use or if the condition grows worse, the treatment should be discontinued and the physician should be consulted.

How much to use?

The dose is subject specific and is based on age, gender, medical condition and use of certain interacting medicines.

However, 2% Erythromycin is generally considered effective for acne outbreaks.

When used in form of a gel, 30 gm and 60 gm tubes are available with the weight of 2% Erythromycin each, costing 21.63$ and 39.77$ respectively.

The gel can take a few weeks before the benefit is seen.

When used in a solution form, 60 ml formulation having a concentration of 2% Erythromycin is available at the price of 24.63$.

How to Store?

Erythromycin topical is for external use only and should be kept away from the eyes, nose, mouth or lips. It should be kept in a cool dry place, away from heat and excess moisture.

Erythromycin gel or solution contains 66% to 92% alcohol.

According to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) by the EPA any product containing more than 24% alcohol is D-listed and must be disposed off as hazardous pharmaceutical waste if not used completely.

Its disposal must, therefore, be discussed with the doctor or chemist or the concerned authority.

Possible Side Effects of Erythromycin

Here are some possible side effects of Erythromycin 

  • Can produce local erythema.
  • Peeling and dryness of the skin along with itching.
  • Burning of the area on which it is applied.
  • The occasional oiliness of the skin.
  • Tenderness of skin.
  • Irritation of the eyes.
  • Generalized urticaria. (skin rash making the skin pale and red)
  • Safety and effectiveness in pediatric patients have not been established.

Precaution while using

Some key precautions while using Erythromycin include:

  • It is for topical use only. It is not for ophthalmic use.
  • It should be used only when and as advised by the doctor.
  • It is for external use only and must be kept away from the eyes, mouth, nose and all mucous membranes.
  • No other topical acne medication should be used at the same time unless otherwise advised by the doctor.
  • Any signs of local adverse reaction should be reported to the doctor.
  • It should be used for no other disorder than the one for which it has been prescribed.
  • The doctor must be informed if you are allergic to any macrolide bacteria.
  • The doctor must be informed about all prescriptive and non-prescriptive medications, vitamins and herbal products you are using including any other topical medication for acne.
  • The doctor will not prescribe this medicine to you if you have recently had sunburn or have skin problems like rosacea or eczema.
  • It might make your skin sensitive to sunlight, therefore, avoid any unnecessary exposure to the Sun and when unavoidable, use protective covering.
  • The doctor must be informed if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant or are breastfeeding. In case you get pregnant while using the product, the doctor must be informed.(though it is not proved to be particularly harmful)
  • Ask your doctor to recommend a moisturizer to keep your skin soft during treatment.

Popular Erythromycin Brands

  • Benzamycin Pak: It is flammable and must not be kept near an open flame.
  • Theramycin
  • Erythra-Derm
  • Ery-Sol

Customer Reviews of Erythromycin for Acne

Most consumers were happy with the result of this medication through a few of them still believed that the treatment is not particularly permanent as the acne seemed to recur some years after the medication was started.

We reviewed the responses of online consumers to see what they think about the product. Here is the summary of the review:

What consumers liked about Erythromycin

Quickly and effective: Many consumers have seen its result to be quick and effective. It clears up to 50% of acne in just 6 weeks.

No Initial breakouts: Unlike other acne treating products, this does not cause any initial acne breakouts.

Most consumers were happy that they did not have to face the initial worsening of their skin before the healing process started.

Given Glowy skin: A lot of consumers witnessed not only he complete healing of acne, but also their skin became more glowy, soft, fresh and clear.

What consumers dislike about Erythromycin

Can Develop resistance: A few consumers suggested that though it worked for them initially, with time their skin developed resistance against erythromycin and it stopped working and had no effect on their acne.

Has a Stingy smell: Some consumers complained of acid like the stingy smell at the time of application.

Its application also resulted in peeling residue in the morning.

May lead to Hyper-pigmentation: Some consumers complained of pigmentation on their skin after the application or use of erythromycin.

They developed red and black patches which caused scarring of the skin.

Summary

Erythromycin is one of the most widely used antibiotics for treating acne breakout.

In spite of the fact that the skin might develop resistance, later on, it has proven to be very time effective and has gone a step further in improving the texture of the skin and making it glow.

Most consumers recommend it as being very helpful even in cases where other medications have been of no use.

When taken according to the doctor’s advice and in the correct dosage it can work wonders for your skin and is definitely worth a try.

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