What is acne medicines?

Acne Medicines
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Acne medicine: Overview

Medicines can help acne. They can clean skin pores, kill bacteria, and reduce skin oil. And they can reduce the effects of hormones. The type of medicine you take depends on the type of acne you have.

The best treatment often is a mix of medicines. For example, you might take pills and put medicine on your skin.

Common acne medicines include:

  • Benzoyl peroxide. This includes Benzac or Brevoxyl.
  • Salicylic acid. This includes Propa pH or Stridex.
  • Retinoid medicines you put on your skin. These include adapalene (Differin) and tretinoin (Retin-A).
  • Antibiotic pills or ointments. These include erythromycin, sarecycline, and tetracycline.
  • Some birth control pills and spironolactone. These may help control acne related to the effects of hormones.

Antibiotic pills for acne can cause side effects. They include yeast infections (in women) and diarrhea. Let your doctor know if you have side effects.

Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding or if you're pregnant or think you might get pregnant. Some of these medicines are not safe to take when you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Women who take some medicines need to use birth control.

How can you safely use acne medicine?

  • Take your medicines exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor if you think you are having a problem with your medicine. You will get more details on the specific medicines your doctor prescribes.

Acne medicine: When to call

Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have signs of an infection, such as:
    • Increased pain, swelling, warmth, and redness.
    • Red streaks leading from the affected area.
    • Pus draining from the area.
    • A fever.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

  • You think you may be having a problem with the medicine.
  • You do not get better as expected.

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The content above contains general health information provided by Healthwise, Incorporated, and reviewed by its medical experts. This content should not replace the advice of your healthcare provider. Not all treatments or services described are offered as services by us. For recommended treatments, please consult your healthcare provider.