Antibiotics for Acne

Since 1897, when the renowned French dermatologist Raymond Sabouraud first noted that material from acne lesions contained bacteria, it has been assumed that killing that bacteria would clear acne. What M. Sabouraud did not realize is that all pores, whether afflicted with acne or clear, contain those same bacteria.

Bacteria does not cause acne. The excess shedding of skin cells within the pores causes acne. Bacteria does play a part in the inflammation process, but oral antibiotics can only provide 20 to 30% of the solution to your acne, and most oral antibiotics can’t reach your pores where the problem is anyway.

In addition, their continual use creates a host of other problems.

Effects of long-term use of antibiotics for acne

The side effects of long-term acne antibiotic use are legion:

  • interference with the useful bacteria in the digestive and reproductive systems, which can lead to recurring nausea, heartburn, and yeast infections;
  • severe sun sensitivity leading to hyperpigmentation and discoloration,
  • dehydration,
  • staining of the teeth,
  • thinning hair,
  • birth defects and
  • a possible link to breast cancer.

Furthermore, the overuse of antibiotics for acne is leading to the development of what scientists are calling the “superbugs:” bacteria that will be completely resistant to all antibiotics in existence. The advent of such strains will take us back to health care as it was prior to World War II when people died from initially minor infections.

Do you really want to risk all that for something that isn’t really going to cure your acne?

One famous acne specialist, Kathryn Khadija Leverette, puts it this way, “If tetracycline can arrest venereal disease within ten days, why are you still breaking out after all these years?”

The right approach to clearing acne

The right approach to clearing acne is topical, both professional treatments and a home care regimen, that exfoliate without irritating and include a topical antimicrobial that delivers oxygen into the pores. Notice I said antimicrobial, not antibiotic. P. acnes bacteria are anaerobic bacteria. They cannot survive in the presence of oxygen. So getting rid of them is as simple as introducing oxygen molecules deep into the pores.

Because skin types and conditions vary greatly, different topical products need to be tested on the individual to check for sensitivity and efficacy. Some skin types and conditions can get noticeable results in several days and get fully clear in a matter of weeks. Some will take several weeks to get noticeable results and a few months to clear completely.

If you have acne, seek out a professional who specializes in acne and doesn’t just dole out prescriptions. The risks are minimal and the results outstanding.

© 2011 Jane Neville Dudik, The Acne Treatment Center and