Onexton Acne Treatment Medication

Clindamycin Phosphate (1.2%) and Benzoyl Peroxide (3.75%) Acne Treatment Gel

Onexton is a topical medication that contains two active ingredients: clindamycin and benzoyl peroxide

This medication can help clear up inflammatory acne, or your basic red pimples.  It’s also effective in treating comedonal acne (blackheads and whiteheads).

Onexton can be used by both adults, teens and tweens.  It’s a prescription treatment, so you can only get it from your doctor.

How Onexton Works

The two acne medications in this treatment work three different ways.

First off, this treatment acts as a keratolytic.  That’s just a fancy way of saying it helps your epidermis, or the top layer of your skin, shed cells more effectively.  This helps smooth the skin, and keeps your pores from becoming clogged.  Less pore blockages mean less breakouts.

It also acts as an anti-bacterial.  Since one factor in acne development is an over-abundance of acne-causing bacteria, keeping them in check helps to reduce breakouts.

As a result, inflammation is reduced.  So, you’ll notice those angry red bumps aren’t quite as red and swollen. 

How you use Onexton

Your dermatologist will give you all the info you need on how to use this medication, but here’s the summary: you’ll apply it once a day over the entire face.

It can take three months for Onexton (or any acne medication, for that matter) to really get going and create some real improvement of your skin. 

Until then, you’ll probably still get new breakouts for a while.

  This is frustrating.  You may feel like throwing the medication across the room.  Fight the urge and keep using it.  Give it plenty of time to work.   

Possible Side Effects of Onexton

Onexton can make your skin super dry.  Your skin may even peel and flake a bit.  Moisturizer, an oil-free one, is a big help.


A little bit of stinging or itching is also fairly normal and not a big deal.    

But if you get a rash, your skin is swelling, or you’re otherwise having a major skin reaction, it’s time to stop using this medication.  You’ll also want to give your dermatologist a call. 

You’ll also need to tell your doctor if you get severe diarrhea while you’re using this medication.  Don’t worry, this is very rare.

You shouldn’t use this medication if you have Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, or if you’ve developed colitis at any point while using antibiotics.

And this medication isn’t the first acne treatment choice for pregnant women or breastfeeding moms.  We just don’t know how this medication may (or may not) affect your baby, in utero or when nursing. 

More Clindamycin/Benzoyl Peroxide Medications

Onexton isn’t the only medication with the clindamycin/benzoyl peroxide combination.  Some others include Benzaclin, Duac, and Acanya.  The percentages of clindamycin and BPO differ in each medication, though.

Tips for using Onexton

Wear sunscreen!  Onexton makes you more susceptible to sunburn and sun damage.  This means no tanning beds, too. 

The benzoyl peroxide component can bleach out towels, your pillowcase and sheets, and your favorite PJs.  Wash your hands after applying.  You’ll probably want to use white linens or items you won’t mind if they become stained.   

Don’t use it as a spot treatment.  You have to put Onexton over the entire face, even areas that don’t currently have breakouts.

Hey, are you still using OTC acne products?  You may want to stop that while you’re using Onexton, unless your doc gives the A-OK. 

More Acne-Fighting Treatment Options

Onexton isn’t the only acne medication out there, and it isn’t necessarily the best treatment for you.  There are many other treatment choices out there.  These articles will walk you through the maze of acne treatment choices, and help you decide which will work best for your skin.

Over-the-Counter Acne Treatments

Topical Prescription Acne Medications

Oral Acne Medications


Cook-Bolden FE.  “Efficacy and tolerability of a fixed combination of clindamycin phosphate (1.2%) and benzoyl peroxide (3.75%) aqueous gel in moderate or severe adolescent acne vulgaris.”  J Clin Aesthet Dermatol.  2015 May; 8(5):28-32.

Harper JC.  “The efficacy and tolerability of a fixed combination clindamycin (1.2%) and benzoyl peroxide (3.75%) aqueous gel in patients with facial acne vulgaris: gender as a clinically relevant outcome variable.”  J Drugs Dermatol.  2015 Apr; 14(4):381-4.

Pariser DM, Rich P, Cook-Bolden FE, Korotzer A.  “An aqueous fel fixed combination of clindamycin phosphate 1.2% and benzoyl peroxide 3.75% for the once-daily treatment of moderate to severe acne vulgaris.”  J Drugs Dermatol.  2014 Sep; 13(9):1083-9.

Zeichner JA.  “The efficacy and tolerability of a fixed combination clindamycin (1.2%) and benzoyl peroxide (3.75%) aqueous gel in adult female patients with facial acne vulgaris.”  J Clin Aesthet Dermatol.  2015 Apr; 8(4):21-5.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals North America LLC.  “Onexton Gel Highlights of Prescribing Information.” [Package insert].  Bridgewater, NJ.  Nov 2014.

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