If you’re like most acne sufferers, you’ve probably considered a good majority of your acne treatment options. There are prescription creams, fancy facials and what seems like aisles and aisle of acne products in every drug store. On occasion, you might hear about antibiotics being used to treat acne. Yes, the same stuff your doctor prescribes for a sinus infection could also be prescribed to clear up your skin. But it’s not without its perils. Let’s investigate a little further and take a look at some of the pros and cons of antibiotics for skin.

Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Antibiotics kill acne-causing bacteria, making them a viable short-term acne treatment, but they shouldn’t be used
  2. Some antibiotics cause harsh side effects, and antibiotic resistance is a real concern, so this type of acne treatment has its limitations.
  3. There are several acne treatments that are as effective as antibiotics, but don’t require a doctor’s visit or trigger annoying side effects.

Why Take Antibiotics for Acne?

One of the reasons oral antibiotics are such a popular remedy as an acne treatment is that they work, plain and simple. Let’s take a look at some of the ways they work in the fight against acne:

  1. Antibiotics are capable of killing acnes bacteria, the bacteria that gets lodged in the pores and causes acne.
  2. In addition to killing blemish-causing bacteria, antibiotics serve as an anti-inflammatory, helping to soothe irritated skin. The two-pronged effect of killing the bacteria and preventing inflammation makes antibiotics an effective treatment.
  3. Antibiotics have a potent effect and may be able to reverse even severe forms of acne, especially when coupled with a good skin care regimen.

A Few Disadvantages

So should you run out and beg your doc for a prescription? While there is definitely some evidence to suggest that a good antibiotic can clear your skin, there are also plenty of downsides which can make them an unviable option for treating acne. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why you should avoid oral antibiotics and use our acne treatment for men instead:

  1. Side effects associated with antibiotic treatments are often harsh. If you take antibiotics, you may experience digestive issues, nausea and sensitivity to sunlight, to name a few.
  2. Overuse of antibiotic treatments can cause an increased resistance to bacteria. Antibiotics may work at first, but eventually the bacteria will adapt, survive and come back to haunt you.
  3. Given the threat of antibiotic resistance, antibiotic treatments can only be used in the short term.

Doxycycline acne antibiotic packaging

A Better Alternative

So where do we come down on the issue? Because of the relatively long list of concerns, we’d recommend using an antibiotic short-term only to clear up your skin quickly and prior to any potential scarring. This would most often be the case with severe acne and should be managed under the care of a dermatologist.  It’s important to remember that antibiotics should never be used as a long-term acne treatment. There are options out there that can give you the on-going results without all of the side effects of antibiotics. The secret is to commit to a good, easy-to-follow skin care routine.

Salicylic acid is a safe, but powerful over-the-counter acne treating ingredient that works well without all of the harsh side effects of antibiotic treatments. Salicylic acid works by removing dead skin cells from the surface of the skin, allowing new cells to appear. It’s perfect for treatment of pimples and blemishes — a small application left on overnight can result in a reduction in the size of pimples and blackheads in just hours.

It’s simple. The components of a good acne-fighting skin care routine are as follows: cleanse, moisturize, exfoliate, treat and repeat. Simplify it with a complete Acne System from Tiege Hanley.

Man washing his face in the bathroom sink