Should You Take Amoxicillin For Acne?

Written by Annie Jangam

You have likely dealt with acne at some point in life. Most teenagers and young adults dread the zits that seem to appear out of nowhere and can often be painful or itchy.

Usually, acne can be attributed to excess sebum, hormones, and even bacteria. Many medications target these causes to reduce the effects of the skin condition. Some people also use amoxicillin for acne. It is an antibiotic used to treat various infections.

But does amoxicillin really treat acne? Or is it just a popular myth? Continue reading to find out.

What Is Amoxicillin?

Amoxicillin is an antibiotic from the penicillin family. It is a broad-spectrum antibiotic and works against various bacteria. Doctors generally prescribe the medicine to treat various bacterial infections, especially infections of the upper respiratory and urinary tracts.

Your doctor may also prescribe the antibiotic for treating inflammatory or recurring acne that is not responding to topical treatments. However, amoxicillin is usually not recommended for mild to moderate cases of acne that could be treated with topical therapy.

In the following section, we will look into the major benefits amoxicillin has for acne.

Top Benefits Of Amoxicillin For Acne

1. Can Be A Safe Systemic-Antibiotic

Treating moderate to severe inflammatory acne involves the use of topical retinoids and benzoyl peroxide, in addition to systemic antibiotic therapy. However, some individuals may be allergic to these treatments (like pregnant women or those dealing with drug intolerances).

Amoxicillin is more tolerable than other common drugs administered for acne treatment (1). It is also considered safe for pregnant women in prescribed doses. However, amoxicillin’s efficacy in treating acne needs to be established with further studies.

2. May Help Treat Resistant Acne

Using antibiotics and OTC medicines for an extended time for treating acne can make your skin resistant to them. Many bacteria also develop a resistance to commonly prescribed antibiotics. In such cases, amoxicillin may prove useful. In studies, patients have responded well to the antibiotic when administered alone or in combination with two other anti-acne treatments (2).

3. Can Reduce Severe Acne In Other Parts Of The Body

Pimples or blackheads may not occur only on your face. Depending on how severe your acne is, you may experience breakouts on your chest, back, or shoulders too. Research shows that systemic antibiotics can help treat severe acne occurring on the chest, back, and shoulders (3).

Amoxicillin may prove useful in treating acne. But your dermatologist will only recommend it for the shortest time possible to prevent any potential side effects. We list some of these negative effects in the next section.

Common Side Effects Of Amoxicillin

Amoxicillin has better tolerability than some other antibiotics commonly prescribed for acne treatment. However, it may cause certain side effects you need to be aware of (4). These include:

These side effects are generally mild and tend to subside on their own. However, some may experience more severe hypersensitivity symptoms, including flu, fever, body aches, sore throat, blisters, etc.

Liver damage is rarely reported but could be a potential side effect (5). Its symptoms include pain in the abdomen, fatigue, and yellowing of skin and eyes.

Discuss your concerns with your dermatologist before including the medicine in your treatment plan. As amoxicillin is a prescription drug, you should only take it as advised by your doctor to avoid any complications.

If you are considering amoxicillin for acne, consult your doctor for the right way of use and dosage. The following section can give you an idea.

How To Use Amoxicillin For Acne

The usual recommended dosage of amoxicillin for an adult is 500 mg every 12 hours, or as advised by your doctor. Typically, the dosage will depend on your medical condition. You must follow your doctor’s instructions while taking this medication by mouth.

You may be asked to have the antibiotic with or without food. Plenty of fluid intakes is usually recommended. It is also advisable to space out your dosage evenly throughout the day and take the medication at the same time every day.

To avoid developing bacterial resistance, your doctor will only prescribe amoxicillin for the shortest time possible. However, be sure to continue the medication until you finish the full prescribed amount (even if your symptoms have disappeared). Discontinuing the medication too early might allow the bacteria to regrow in some cases, resulting in a re-infection.

In Closing

Amoxicillin may be useful in treating inflammatory or severe cases of acne on larger body areas. However, mild cases of acne are often better treated with a gentle skincare routine and the right diet and lifestyle changes recommended by your dermatologist.

In case your doctor has put you on amoxicillin, ensure you discuss the possible side effects and any existing allergies to avoid complications.

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    1. Safety and effectiveness of amoxicillin in the treatment of inflammatory acne
    2. The efficacy and safety of amoxicillin, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, and spironolactone for treatment-resistant acne vulgaris
    3. Management of acne
    4. Amoxicillin
    5. A case of amoxicillin-induced hepatocellular liver injury with bile-duct damage
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Annie Jangam is a Molecular Biologist with 7 years of research experience in Rice Functional Genomics and Nutrient Signalling with International Publications in Abiotic stress, Nitrogen, and G-protein signaling. She specializes in writing on Health and Wellness. She has been an avid reader since childhood and is passionate about stories that help decipher life and its meaning. She believes in Human Rights for all and that one should "love others like we love ourselves."