What Are the Different Types of Dermatology Drugs?

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  • Written By: Amanda R. Bell
  • Edited By: E. E. Hubbard
  • Last Modified Date: 15 October 2019
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There are a variety of dermatology drugs available on the market that are used to treat several different skin disorders. The most common are those used to treat acne and rosacea, primarily antibiotics and isotretinoin, as these conditions affect a large percent of the population. A variety of inflammatory skin conditions are treated with dermatology drugs meant to control irritation in the skin, including corticosteroids, immunomodulators, and antihistamines.

Antibiotics are one of the most commonly prescribed dermatology drugs. As a variety of skin conditions are caused by the growth of bacteria, antibiotics can often help to clear the issue up. The most common skin conditions treated with these medications are acne and rosacea. While the antibiotics can help to clear up mild to severe acne by killing bacteria, they are primarily used in rosacea for their ability to reduce flare-ups. The most common antibiotics prescribed as dermatology drugs are minocycline, erythromycin, and tetracycline.


Isotretinoin is typically used when antibiotics fail to effectively manage or treat acne and rosacea. While this drug has been found to be extremely effective in clearing up some of the worst skin conditions including cystic acne, it is considered a dangerous medication. Doctors often closely monitor patients who are prescribed this drug, as the medication can potentially cause mood disorders or other health issues. It is also known to cause birth defects, which means that pregnant and breastfeeding mothers are typically not prescribed this drug and women of childbearing age are not generally given a prescription unless on birth control.

For inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis, often referred to as dermatitis conditions, corticosteroids are typically used to control inflammation and flare-ups. These skin conditions that can cause itchy, red, or irritated patches on nearly any part of the body often develop at a young age. Corticosteroids are often used on a short-term basis as needed to reduce existing issues, and are also used to treat contact dermatitis, which is an allergic reaction to a substance.

Dermatitis conditions are also commonly treated with immunomodulators. These are specialized dermatology drugs that help to control the immune system’s response to certain triggers. As some of these dermatological issues are caused by a type of allergic reaction, these medications can be beneficial in managing the condition without completely suppressing the immune system.

Antihistamines are also commonly prescribed as dermatology drugs. These drugs block histamines from attaching to histamine receptors, as excess histamine production is often a cause of certain inflammatory skin conditions. These drugs tend to work best in managing certain dermatological issues over the long run, as several are safe enough for everyday use with limited side effects.


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