Topical Clindamycin

How Topical Clindamycin Treats Inflammatory Acne

Woman applying face cream
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Clindamycin is a topical antibiotic used to treat inflammatory acne.

Topical clindamycin works by killing the bacteria that cause acne. It also has anti-inflammatory effects. Usually, you'll start seeing improvement of your skin within 4 to 6 weeks. Clindamycin is also used in its oral form for acne treatment, but is usually prescribed for topical application.

Topical antibiotics like clindamycin are used to treat mild to moderately severe inflammatory acne.

They come in a variety of forms, including lotions, gels, pads (pledgets) and toner-like solutions.

Just like oral antibiotics, topical antibiotics inhibit the growth of bacteria. A chief cause of acne is the proliferation of the acne-causing bacteria Propionibacteria acnes, or P. acnes.

Depending on which form you're using, this medication will be applied once or twice daily to clean skin.

Clindamycin is often used in conjunction with other medications, like benzoyl peroxide or a topical retinoid. Your doctor may prescribe an oral acne medication as well.

Using another acne treatment along with your topical antibiotic can help boost its effects. Topical antibiotics alone aren't the best way to treat acne.  They work really slowly when compared to other topical acne treatments available.

Clindamycin is also known as Cleocin-T, ClindaMax, Clinda-Derm, Clindagel, ClindaReach, Clindets, and Evoclin.

Some topical medications that contain clindamycin include Acanya, Benzaclin, Duac, Z-Clinz and Ziana (clindamycin phosphate).

Possible Side Effects of Clindamycin

The possible side effects depend on the type of medication you're using, but most people can use topical antibiotics, including clindamycin, without difficulty.

Side effects, when they do happen, aren't usually too serious. You might get some dryness, flakiness, or minor peeling of the skin.  Your medication may burn or sting slightly when it's applied.  Some topical antibiotic medications may cause some mild skin irritation.

Serious side effects from topical antibiotics are very rare. Most people tolerate topical clindamycin fairly well, but do tell your doctor if you are noticing uncomfortable side effects.

Tips for Using Topical Clindamycin

Don't just spot-treat individual pimples. No matter what form of clindamycin you’re using, make sure you apply it over the entire area affected by acne; if it's on your face, apply to your whole face. 

With any antibiotic, bacterial resistance can become a problem. Follow the usage directions exactly to reduce this possibility. Using topical clindamycin with benzoyl peroxide is another option, and can help acne clear up faster, too.

Try to apply your medication at the same time every day, and be as consistent as you can.

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