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How Effective Is Clindamycin for Acne?

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  • Written By: Helen Akers
  • Edited By: Jessica Seminara
  • Last Modified Date: 26 March 2014
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Doctors and dermatologists prescribe clindamycin for acne in order to reduce the amount of acne-causing bacteria in the skin. Clindamycin is a topical antimicrobial solution that comes in the forms of gel, cream, lotion and foam. It is considered to be effective in reducing the amount of acne-causing bacteria and associated inflammation.

Using clindamycin for acne has been shown to be most effective when it is used in combination with other topical treatments. Benzoyl peroxide and retinoids are sometimes used alongside clindamycin. Over time, the strains of acne-causing bacteria have developed a resistance to antibiotics. These strains are unable to develop a resistance to benzoyl peroxide, which makes treatment success more likely when the solution is used.

Topical retinoids, such as tretinoin cream and retinols, help normalize the shedding process within the skin cells. Patients who develop acne usually have cells that shed abnormally, causing dead skin to accumulate within the hair follicle. When mixed with high amounts of sebum, or facial oil, this leads to clogged pores and comedo formation. This is why attempting to treat acne with antibiotics alone is not as effective.

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Mild to moderate cases seem to benefit the most from using clindamycin for acne. Clindamycin phosphate is the most common chemical form of the medicine. It has been shown to maintain its effectiveness in fighting strains of acne-causing bacteria, which do not seem to develop the same type of resistance as they do to topical erthomyacin. This is another topical antimicrobial treatment that is sometimes used to control acne lesions.

When patients use clindamycin for acne it is important to follow the application instructions received from the doctor or dermatologist in order to achieve the maximum effectiveness. Regular applications of the treatment are necessary in order to see improvement, which can take up to two weeks or longer. The effectiveness of clindamycin will also depend upon the type and severity of the patient's acne.

More severe cases may be given clindamycin for acne, but will usually require oral antibiotics and retinoids as well. The most severe cases may not respond to clindamycin treatment at all. While clindamycin phosphate has been shown to reduce some inflammation associated with acne, inflammatory lesions usually respond better to retinoid treatment.

Clindamycin is more effective at treating and healing existing acne lesions than it is at preventing them in more severe cases. It can reduce some of the risks associated with scarring, since this is primarily caused by the skin's inflammatory response to the breakouts. While it is effective at reducing the amount of acne-causing bacteria in the skin, clindamycin does not address the other causes of acne. In addition, long-term use of antibiotics is not recommended for maintenance and control of breakouts.

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Discuss this Article

ZipLine
Post 3

I think that everyone has a different experience with clindamycin phosphate for acne. It did nothing for me but my sister benefited from it. I think it's a hit or miss and one has to try it to see if it works.

I have a friend who saw improvement with clindamycin but couldn't use it for long because of the side effects. The cream gave him diarrhea. The only side effect I had from it was dry skin. So sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. And sometimes it works but causes side effects.

stoneMason
Post 2

@feruze-- Yes, the stinging should go away after a few days. It had the same effect on me when I first started using it but it doesn't burn anymore.

It takes about a week for clindamycin cream for acne to show its effects, so you may not see a change right away. Clindamycin has worked great for me. It has mostly cleared up my skin. I still get a few pimples now and again, but my face used to be covered in pimples, so this is a big improvement for me.

bear78
Post 1

I just started using topical clindamycin for acne. It's too soon for me to know if it's working or not but the issue is that it burns for a while when I put it on. Will this go away with time, or is it always going to burn and sting?

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