Antibiotics and Acne: How Do They Work?

Posted on , Updated


Antibiotics may be used to treat moderate to severe acne. If you are considering this treatment option for your acne, it’s important to understand how these antibiotics work.
When non-prescription products like creams or gels are unable to clear up your acne, your doctor can prescribe stronger medications. These drugs may be recommended depending on the type and severity of acne you have. Some will have comedonal acne (no open sores), while some may have bacteria or inflammation with open sores.
For the latter, oral antibiotics may be prescribed as treatment.

What are acne antibiotics?

Oral antibiotics for acne are absorbed by the body. These antibiotics can help reduce bacteria and fight inflammation from the inside. Your doctor may prescribe them to use together with topical solutions.

best over the counter acne treatment

Some oral antibiotics include:


Aside from acne, doxycycline is also used to treat a variety of bacterial infections. In this case, it can help reduce acne-causing bacteria called Propionibacterium acnes. Doxycycline also helps reduce the appearance of red, swollen breakouts.

Some common side effects of doxycycline include indigestion, as well as upset stomach and/or diarrhea.


This is an antibiotic used to help treat moderate to severe inflammatory acne. Like doxycycline, it also works tor educe the number of acne-causing bacteria.

Possible side effects include upset stomach, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, and even vaginal yeast infection.


Another common antibiotic for acne is tetracycline. Tetracycline works by slowing down the growth of acne-causing bacteria. It also has anti-inflammatory properties that minimize the swelling and redness of pimples.

Common side effects to tetracycline include vomiting, diarrhea, upset stomach, vaginal yeast infections, and dizziness.

 If you have severe acne and are considering taking oral antibiotics, talk to your dermatologist. Ask about what you can expect from the medication they are recommending. Ultimately, the choice to take acne antibiotics is yours. Educating yourself will help you make an informed decision.

top question and answer about pimple care

Lactezin for mild to moderate acne

If you have mild to moderate acne your doctor may also recommend taking Lactezin, an oral acne medication that helps treat pimples and may also prevent them from recurring. Click here to learn more about Lactezin: How Lactezin Works

complete guide on how to take oral antibiotics for acne
Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have questions? We have answers!

Clinical Studies

Find out more about the science behind Lactezin here.


Know what others say about Lactezin