Antibiotics are commonly used in the treatment of moderate to severe inflammatory acne. The main way that antibiotics help to improve acne is to decrease the amount of p. acnes bacteria (the bacteria that leads to acne) presents on the skin. Dr. Schweiger explains that, “The most common type of oral antibiotics used for the treatment of acne are the tetracycline family of antibiotics. The most commonly used antibiotics in this class include doxycycline and minocycline. Tetracycline antibiotics work by interfering with protein synthesis, to have a bacteriostatic effect on p. acne bacteria.” Macrolide antibiotics, such a Azithromycin, are sometimes used to treat acne as well. These antibiotics have a similar impact on the bacteria, but bind at a different portion of the bacteria than tetracycline antibiotics.
Examples of commonly used oral antibiotics for acne are: Doxycycline, Minocycyline, Doryx, Solodyn, Monodox, and Zithromax.
Oral antibiotics are commonly combined with topical medications, such as benzoyl peroxide or retinoids, for optimal improvement of acne. Laser and light treatments are also used in conjunction with oral antibiotics to treat acne quickly.