Topical acne treatment with clindamycin


Topical clindamycin is an antibiotic used to treat inflammatory acne . Topical clindamycin reduces the number of acne-causing bacteria . It also has anti-inflammatory properties, making acne less red and less swollen.

Your skin usually begins to improve 4-6 weeks after starting treatment. Although clindamycin is sometimes used orally to treat acne, it is most commonly used as a topical treatment .


Topical clindamycin is used to treat anything from stubborn, inflamed acne to severe acne . As with oral antibiotics, topical antibiotics like clindamycin inhibit bacterial growth.

The main cause of acne is the bacteria Propionibacteria acnes . Reducing the amount of these acne-causing bacteria prevents breakouts from developing.

Clindamycin doesn't prevent clogged pores, and clogged pores are another piece of the acne puzzle. In fact, when used alone, topical clindamycin is not very effective.

Topical antibiotics alone are not the best way to treat acne. They work very slowly compared to other topical acne treatments available. But use topical clindamycin in conjunction with another acne treatment and it will increase its effectiveness.

Your dermatologist will likely prescribe another acne medication, such as benzoyl peroxide or a topical retinoid , to use with topical clindamycin. Using two of these acne medications will help you achieve results more quickly. It also helps prevent the growth of bacteria resistant to antibiotics.


Clindamycin is sold under a variety of brand names. It is also known as:

  • Cleocin-T
  • ClindaMax
  • Clinda-derm
  • Klindagel
  • ClindaReach
  • Klindets
  • Evoclin
  • Z-Clinz

Clindamycin is also used as an active ingredient in many combination acne medications . These treatments are a mixture of two acne-fighting ingredients used together in one medicine. Some of these include:

How to use it

Topical clindamycin comes in a variety of forms, including lotions, gels, foams, medicated pads (called tampons ), and toner-like solutions. Which form you use will depend on the medicine prescribed and what your dermatologist thinks is best for you .

Ghislain and Marie David de Lossy / Culture / Getty Images

Depending on the form you use, you will use topical clindamycin once or twice a day. Topical clindamycin is fairly easy to use. But there are several things you can do to get the best results from your treatment.

Don't treat individual acne just on time. Regardless of which form of topical clindamycin you use, be sure to apply it to the entire acne area. So if you have a pimple on your face, apply it all over your face, not just existing blemishes. If you have breasts, apply them all over the breasts, etc.

Try to take your medicine at the same time every day. The time of day doesn't matter as long as you agree with it. Therefore, if you decide to apply the medicine in the morning, it is best to do it every morning at around the same time. If you are taking the treatment twice a day, try to apply it at 12 hour intervals as much as possible .

Be consistent. What you don't want to do is apply it in the morning one day, at night the next, and skip the third day entirely. Consistency is your best ally in acne treatment.

Side effects

All acne medications can cause side effects. Fortunately, the side effects of topical clindamycin are usually not too serious.

Dry, flaky, or slightly flaky skin is more common. Your medicine may burn or tingle when applied, and you may experience mild skin irritation. Serious side effects of topical antibiotics are very rare.

Most people tolerate topical clindamycin fairly well, but tell your doctor if the side effects are uncomfortable or seem excessive. Call your healthcare provider for painful burning, cracking, or severe redness.

Although these side effects are very rare, tell your doctor right away if you have a severe headache, diarrhea, stomach cramps, or bloody stools.

Frequently asked questions

What is relevant for benzoyl peroxide and clindamycin?

Clindamycin is an antibiotic that prevents the growth of bacteria and benzoyl peroxide helps dry the skin and is also antibacterial. Combining these two ingredients in a topical medicine can help kill acne-causing bacteria.

How long should I use topical clindamycin?

Sometimes antibiotics are limited to three months to avoid the risk of bacterial resistance. Talk to your dermatologist about the duration of your acne treatment.

Get the word of drug information

Topical clindamycin may be helpful in treating some cases of inflammatory acne in both adolescents and adults. It is not very effective against acne .

If you have been prescribed topical clindamycin for acne, use it exactly as directed by your dermatologist and leave it for a few weeks before waiting for results. You may develop new pimples during the first few weeks of treatment, so don't let this put you off. Keep using your medication.

Topical clindamycin isn't the best option for treating acne, but if it's not right for you, don't worry. There are many other acne treatment options available to help you keep your skin clearer . Call your doctor for help.

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