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Oral Antibiotics to Treat Acne – How it Works and When to Use this Treatment

In most cases, acne can clear up with little more than time and a quality topical ointment. Sometimes, though, you’re left with a severe breakout that won’t budge no matter how often you wash your face or use a topical treatment.

In these instances, it might be time to consider taking oral antibiotics for acne.

Below, we’ll walk you through what to expect from this treatment regimen so you can determine whether oral antibiotics are right for you as an effective acne treatment. 


What are Oral Antibiotics for Acne?

Acne has a variety of causes, but bacteria on the skin is a common trigger for breakouts. Antibiotics for acne work to kill off the “bad bacteria” on your skin so that the “good bacteria” can restore balance, reduce inflammation, and diminish blemishes. 

Topical acne treatments work for mild cases, but if you have severe, persistent skin problems, such as painful cystic acne, you may want to consider oral antibiotics instead.

Erythromycin (E-Mycin) is considered a mild oral antibiotic for acne, and it’s recommended for children and pregnant women. Those who want something stronger may want to consider tetracyclines, like doxycycline (Vibramycin or Monodox) or minocycline (Minocin).

Each of these treatments works to stop the growth of bacteria, making them effective for controlling breakouts. 

However, you should only take them if you are willing to commit to the full treatment schedule. Stopping an antibiotic treatment early not only increases your chances of experiencing another acne outbreak, but it also puts you at risk of developing antibiotic resistance. 

For this reason, oral antibiotics for acne should only be taken when needed, and you shouldn’t expect to need them for more than a few weeks at a time.  

In fact, you might want to pair your antibiotics with a benzoyl peroxide topical treatment to eradicate your acne faster and further reduce the risk of developing resistance.


Are There Any Side Effects with Oral Antibiotics for Acne?

Short of antibiotic resistance, there’s little risk of side effects from taking oral antibiotics. Some people may feel slightly nauseous after their first doses, but that should stop once your system readjusts. 

Note that antibiotics may make you more prone to sunburns, so take care to apply extra sunscreen while taking them.


Explore Acne Treatments at Brentwood Dermatology

There’s a lot to learn about acne treatments, and you don’t need to figure everything out on your own.

If you live near Brentwood, Tennessee, consider making an appointment at Brentwood Dermatology to get some expert guidance. Our practice has been providing personalized skin care treatments for patients since 1983. We pride ourselves on addressing all types of skin care problems, including outpatient skin surgery for cancers and benign skin lesions.

We’ll work with you to determine your best acne treatment plan and decide whether oral antibiotics are the right way forward. Contact us today! You can reach us at (615) 436-8682 or through our online contact page.  


Brentwood Dermatology is a leader in skin cancer detection and treatment. If you notice a spot that’s concerning or need a more effective acne treatment plan, give us a call at (615) 455-0046 to schedule an appointment right away. 

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