Acne and antibiotics - antibiotic treatment for acne

Antibiotics are frequently prescribed by doctors for moderate to severe acne. Antibiotic treatment for acne has not been as popular in the last few years due to the increased numbers of prescription treatments for acne. In addition, the increased profile of antibiotic resistance in bacteria has taken a toll on the prescription of antibiotics for acne treatment.

Antibiotics work by killing the P. acnes bacteria that live around the hair follicle in the skin. This means that the bacteria are not attacked by white blood cells in the skin, reducing the redness and inflammation associated with acne. The inflammatory response of the skin is reduced. The result? Reduced symptoms of acne.

How antibiotics reduce acne

Antibiotics destroy bacteria through one of the following methods:

  • Interferes with protein synthesis in bacteria
  • Interferes with DNA synthesis in bacteria
  • Interferes with bacterial cell wall synthesis
  • Interferes with bacterial cell membrane permeability (Ionophores)
  • Inhibits an enzyme in the bacterium
  • Modifies bacterial membranes

Doctors generally recommend one of the following antibiotics to treat acne:

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Drawbacks of using antibiotics as acne treatments

Antibiotics aren't ideal acne treatments because antibiotics are indiscriminate. A dose of antibiotics wipes out nearly all bacteria in your body, both the healthy bacteria as well as the harmful bacteria. This can cause unpleasant side effects. In addition, the specific antibiotic prescribed can have its own set of side effects.

Antibiotics are not available over the counter - they must be prescribed. Overuse of antibiotics has created a potentially dire situation in which increasingly bacteria resist commonly available antibiotics. For this reason, many doctors prescribe antibiotics less and less.

Instead of an antibiotic, consider an over-the-counter acne treatment combined with a daily anti acne regimen.

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