What Does Clindamycin Do For Acne?

Clindamycin is a topical antibiotic that doctors can prescribe to treat acne.

According to the American Academy, clindamycin is a first-line acne treatment for acne. However, you normally won’t use it as your only acne treatment.

Could clindamycin work for you? Please keep reading to find out how clindamycin works and how to use it.

I have already shared a post related to this topic: What Is Acne Vulgaris?. I hope you read this post.

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How does clindamycin work for acne?

Clindamycin is an antibiotic that kills some types of bacteria or stops them from spreading.

Doctors prescribe this to kill Propionibacterium acnes bacteria that can lead to pimples. While P. acnes (Propionibacterium acnes) bacteria live on the skin, they can attack pores and cause inflammation that leads to acne.

According to a 2019 study review, doctors aren’t sure why P. acnes starts to breakouts in some and not others. This is the reason doctors prescribe antibiotics like clindamycin with other treatments.

I had earlier shared: Acid For Acne scars. I hope you read the post.

Who’s a great candidate for clindamycin for acne?

Doctors will recommend using different treatments to target certain acne types.

For example, doctors prescribe clindamycin to treat mild to moderate acne but not severe acne forms.

Doctors treat severe acne with oral antibiotics instead of topical ones.

Must read: During Covid How Anti Acne Face Mask Help

Does clindamycin work for acne?

If you have any type of acne that clindamycin is good for, your doctor will recommend the following combination of treatments:

  • Topical benzoyl peroxide
  • Erythromycin or clindamycin
  • Topical retinoids, such as adapalene or tretinoin

Your doctor recommends using benzoyl peroxide and a topical antibiotic or a retinoid and an antibiotic. There are many options of combinations, and they depend upon what acne types you have.

Topical 1% clindamycin was shown to reduce acne in people with mild inflammatory acne after eight weeks of twice-daily treatment, according to 2013 research.

To learn more, you can read  this post: 8 Beauty Benefits Of Chia Seeds For Skin

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How do I use clindamycin for acne?

Your doctor will prescribe clindamycin for twice-daily application. Various preparations are available.

Some preparations, like topical foams, contain alcohol and sting or burn when applied to the skin. You’ll apply the foam to a cleansed face with clean hands to all areas where you experience acne scars.

Don’t stop using clindamycin if you start noticing some effective results, then completing a full course of antibiotics assures that the clindamycin kills off most bacteria.

Stopping too quickly can increase your risk for antibiotic resistance.

Doctors normally intend for antibiotics like clindamycin to be used as short-term treatments. So you’ll apply them for 2 to 4 months along with benzoyl peroxide and sometimes a retinoid as well.

Aloe vera is the most popular plant remedy for skin problems.

Aloe vera gel is used in over-the-counter (OTC) skin products. This plant extract has antibacterial properties, which has led to its use in treating pimples.

You must read this article: Does Aloe Vera Help Acne?

Is clindamycin safe for acne?

Doctors associate topical clindamycin with minimum side effects.

Most of the time, if you react to the application, you can apply less of the clindamycin or discontinue its use.

Topical clindamycin is a Pregnancy Category B medication. This means it’s mostly safe for use during pregnancy. In addition, research hasn’t revealed it’s harmful in pregnancy.

But it would be great if you always talked with your doctor about topical and prescription medications you’re taking to assure they’re safe during your pregnancy.

I recommend you to read following posts that will help you: Hyaluronic Acid For Acne

Side effects with clindamycin for acne

As with medications, you experience side effects from the topical application of clindamycin. This includes an allergic reaction.

You can experience itching, swelling, or hives due to an allergic reaction. If you are having an allergic reaction to clindamycin, discontinue using it and tell your doctor.

Other potential side effects include:

  • Burning
  • Oily skin
  • Redness
  • Dryness
  • Itching
  • Skin peeling

To learn more, you can read: Hives Covid

How to use clindamycin phosphate gel?

Use Clindamycin Phosphate Gel only on the skin. Clean and dry your affected area first. Follow all directions on the product packaging and use as directed by your doctor.

To use the gel, follow these steps:

  1. Wash your affected area with warm water and pat dry with a clean towel.
  2. Use your fingertips to spread the gel evenly over the affected area. Avoid touching the gel in your eyes, mouth, nose, or other body openings.
  3. Look in the mirror
  4. Wash your hands.

Does clindamycin affect birth control?

Antibiotics such as clindamycin reduce the effects of Ethinyl estradiol in some women. However, if you use Ethinyl estradiol for birth control, you can increase the risk for pregnancy or breakthrough bleeding.

Talk with your pharmacist to decide if you should use an alternative and additional form of birth control during or after treatment with clindamycin. It is vital to tell your doctor about all medications you use, including herbs and vitamins. Do not stop using medications without talking to your doctor.

When should you see a doctor?

Consider talking with a dermatologist if you have acne that over-the-counter (OTC) products aren’t managing well.

Your dermatologist asks you questions about your skincare routine, examines your skin, and recommends treatment. This includes the use of topical clindamycin.


Topical antibiotics can help reduce acne. For example, clindamycin is a generally prescribed topical medication to treat acne, and you can apply it with minimal side effects.

Ideally, you use it for a short amount of time in combination with other acne medications to experience a reduction in the acne’s appearance.

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