Oral Antibiotics for Acne Treatment

Acne is one of the most common chronic skin disorder affecting millions of people across the globe.

It is characterized by the outbreak of pimples, whiteheads, blackheads and inflammations along with redness and marks on the skin. 

This article tends to discuss the wide branch of oral antibiotical treatment for acne vulgaris and the problems associated with its resulting in the development of drug resistance.

What are Oral antibiotics?

Antibiotics basically refer to medications that are variously used to treat bacterial infection.

Oral antibiotics specifically refer to those that are specifically taken in by mouth in a pill form.

They can be used variously for the treatment of mild as well as severe conditions for example acne and pneumonia, respectively.

They are usually used for a shorter span of time and not very regularly for fear of developing bacterial resistance.

How does oral antibiotics help in treating acne?

Acne antibiotics tend to prevent the breakouts in two major ways.

Firstly, it exhibits its antibacterial properties fighting the acne-causing P.acne bacteria both on the surface of the skin and in those accumulated in the hair follicles.

Secondly, it is also considered to have an anti-inflammatory impact by reducing the concentration of free fatty acid in the sebum thereby reducing the acne induced inflammation and the resultant redness and swelling.

It may further be responsible for reducing the irritation of the skin that is caused during acne by affecting a decrease in the production of the irritating chemicals that are produced by the white blood cells.

Given below is a list of oral antibiotic that are used for dealing with the problem of acne vulgaris along with some specifications:  


It is one of the most widely used antibiotics for acne. The recommended dosage for this medicine is 500 mg, 2 times a day.

With an improvement in the condition, the dose can be reduced to 250 mg and later discontinues as a whole.

This medicine needs to be taken empty stomach and it is not meant for infants and pregnant women.

It might interrupt with your results of blood sugar and thus if you have diabetes, you must be cautious while using this. A popular brand for this kind of medication is sumycin.


It is considered better than tetracycline because along with antibacterial properties, it also possesses anti-inflammatory properties.

It can be taken with food and its dosage ranges from 250 mg to 500 mg taken twice a day, depending on the severity of the condition. It is popularly available under the brand name of erythrocin and pediamycin.


It is derived from tetracycline and is used for tackling particularly pustular acne. Its dose ranges from 50 to 100 mg that can be taken twice a day.

It might cause side effects like discoloration, nausea, and discoloration of the skin and teeth.

This can also tamper your diabetes results and you must be cautious in its use if you are a diabetic patient. The popular brand names for this are minocin and solodyn.


It is mostly used by people who are intolerant towards erythromycin and tetracycline and the dose ranges from 50 mg to 100 mg. it can be taken two times a day.

The side effects associated with its use include increased sensitivity to the sun or sunburns. It must necessarily be taken in with food.

Taking doxycycline may hamper your blood sugar reports. You must be cautious in use if you are diabetic. Some popular brand names for this medication are doryx and vibramycon.


Its dose ranges from 75 mg to 10 mg which can be taken two times a day. It is, however, more popularly used as a topical antibiotic than an oral one.

Its potential side effect may include intestinal infection. It may cause the development of bacteria in large intestines which can cause diarrhea or colitis.

You must consult a doctor before taking this orally and should only be taken with extremely serious infections that cannot be otherwise treated. The popular brand name under which it is sold is cleocin.

Declining popularity due to Side Effects

The popularity of antibiotic for treating acne has declined over time. This is because its regular use can make the bacteria develop resistance to the medicine.

Continuous use of such medications makes the bacteria used to them and in turn, they start resisting the effect of those medicines.

As such your body stops responding to the treatment being given.

Side effects associated with oral antibiotics for acne

There have been attributed various side effects to the use of an antibiotic. Some of these side effects are enumerated below:

  • An allergic reaction can cause mild or severe rashes. It might also cause swelling, irritation or breathing troubles. In case of any such reaction, you must contact the doctor and stop taking the medicine immediately.
  • Doxycycline may make your skin sensitive to sunlight specifically to the UV ray of the sun. it has however been suggested that taking it after the evening meal might reduce the sensitivity of your skin to the sun
  • It might cause gastrointestinal problems which include vomiting, nausea and diarrhoea among others
  • Taking antibiotics may cause thrush specifically in the vagina. In patients who are suffering from diabetes or obesity, it may even attack the mucous membranes. It is more likely to happen in patients with tetracycline.
  • Taking antibiotics may decrease the effectiveness of oral contraceptives.
  • Its regular use can lead to bacterial resistance.


In order to ensure the complete effectiveness of these antibiotics as well as to reduce the risk of above-mentioned side effects, you must follow certain precautions. Some of these precautions have been mentioned below:

  • In case of pregnancy, you must consult your doctor before taking oral antibiotic for acne
  • In case of drug resistance, you can switch to a different antibiotic. However, it is advised that you do not use an antibiotic for a long period as it is this regular use that causes bacterial resistance
  • Do not use it for a long period. Use some other form of medicine to continue during the maintenance phase
  • Tell your doctor about all other prescriptive and non-prescriptive medications you are taking along with the herbal and dietary supplements.

Possible Drug interaction

One specifically known interaction of antibiotic medications for acne is with contraceptive pills. It tends to reduce the effectiveness of contraceptive pills and in such cases, you might have to use two types of contraception at least.

Customer reviews of Oral Antibiotics for Acne

We did an analysis of online consumer reviews in order to see how effective antibiotics are in the treatment of acne based on the experience of people who have used it.

Here is a summary of what they like and dislike about it:

What they like about it

Body acne : A lot of people were of the view that the effect of antibiotics is not limited only to the facial acne but also helps in treating body acne as a whole including those on the neck and upper back. This mostly skips the mind when depending on topical acne treatments.

Reduces inflammation: Many people were happy with the effectiveness of these medications on acne induced inflammation. It is because of the anti-inflammatory property that most acne treating antibiotics possesses along with their being antibacterial.

Time effective: These medications are extremely time effective in their results. The improvement can be seen just in a few weeks and there is complete clearance within a month or two.

What they did not like about it:

Resistance: The problem of drug or bacterial resistance has been quite persistent among the consumers. A few of them found this extremely frustrating. Just when you thought something was working great on your skin, it would immediately stop working.

Vomiting: Some of the consumers complained that taking antibiotic resulted in vomiting and nausea. This might be related to the gastrointestinal disturbance that occurs as a side effect of taking antibiotics. This, however, is temporary and rare.

Breakouts: A few consumers complained that after a certain time, taking these pills started causing breakouts. This might also be a result of bacterial resistance and the resultant reoccurrence of acne breakouts.


Oral antibiotics are extremely result and time-oriented medications. It will give you quick results and save your time. Moreover, it is effective in your overall body acne rather than just concentrating on the facial ones and it will attack the problem from two directions by using its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.

But just be aware of possible side effects and take precaution while using them. If you have long been looking for a solution, you must not skip this one before giving it one try.

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