Acne, scientific name acne vulgaris, is an extremely prolonged or at times slow to heal skin disease of the pilosebaceous and emerges due to blockages in the skin’s hair follicles. The blockage can be as a result of important processes in the body such as the production of abnormal amounts of sebum, inflammatory chemicals in the skin and higher production of protein keratin. At times, dead cells appear on the surface and exit the pore of the hair follicle.

Causes of Acne

The primary cause of acne can be androgens being higher than average since they promote the growth of oil glands in the skin. Some researchers say acne is genetic. Also, a diet containing a lot of glycemic index foods and mostly dairy products is linked to the development of acne. (Shalita, March 21, 2011).

Oral Antibiotics

Antibiotics are mostly used to regulate severe acne. Oral antibiotics which are used for moderate or severe issues of inflammatory acne help to moderate acne as a result of their inflammatory attribute and antimicrobial qualities. Oral antibiotics are highly effective when it comes to inflammatory acne, this is because they are believed to both reduce the number of bacteria and as an anti-inflammation. Oral antibiotics include clindamycin, erythromycin, metronidazole, lymecycline, sulfacetamide and tetracycline. Most commonly used oral antibiotics are erythromycin and tetracycline which consist of doxycycline (Vibramycin or minodix) and minocycline. Tetracyclines are not advised for use by children under the age of 10 years since it might lead to teeth discoloration (stained teeth). Minocycline is second in line on the effectiveness of oral antibiotics for acne. Proper medication is key when it comes to minocycline. 50-100 mg is recommended daily. Minocycline has fewer side effects though it causes gastrointestinal upsets and tooth staining. It, however, has a more prolonged effectiveness in acne resistance in comparison to other therapies.

Topical Solutions

Topical antibiotics are opposite to oral. This is a rub-on acne treatment. It is usually used if the acne is mild or moderate in severity. Topical antibiotics include a couple of gels, lotions and creams. These different antibiotics act in various ways by their preparation. Benzoyl Peroxide is a topical antibiotic which works in three ways; by killing germs and bacteria, decreasing inflammation and is effective in unplugging blocked skin pores. It is a vital antibiotic in clearing inflamed spots, blackheads and whiteheads (comedones). Benzoyl can be of different brands and strength. These topical antibiotic works best when applied 20-30 minutes after a skin wash. It, however, has some side effects such as causing skin irritation and may bleach hair if it gets into contact with it. (Dubrow, May 2, 2003).


Retinoid is another effective topical antibiotic for acne. It consists of adapalene, tretinoin and isotretinoin. It also comes in several brands. It is known for its attributes of reducing inflammation and unplugging blocked skin pores. It works best if used in the early stages of acne to assist in unblocking pores and treating blackheads and mildly inflamed spots. Retinoids have a few side effects; skin peeling and skin redness, the spots may at times become a little worse than before but improve later, the skin may also be sensitive to sunlight.

Azelaic Acid

Last but not least, there is azelaic acid and a combination of the creams. Azelonic works in a similar manner as retinoids as it unplugs blocked pores, best in clearing blackheads and also reduces inflamed spots. A combination, on the other hand, is an outcome of a mixture of treatments such as benzoyl peroxide plus another antibiotic. This is very effective in comparison to when other treatments are used alone. (Loong, June 17, 2014).


1. Acne Causes | NHS
2. Azelaic Acid | MedlinePlus/US.NLM
3. Types of Acne Treatments | DrFelix
4. Antibiotics – Oral & Topical | TalkHealthPartnership


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