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Clindamycin: Is It Effective Against Acne?

Fact-checked by Bianchi Mendoza, R.N.

Written by Jen Mallari · Updated Nov 15, 2021

    Clindamycin: Is It Effective Against Acne?

    Topical clindamycin for acne is an antibiotic used in treating acne by slowing down the process of bacterial growth on the skin or by stopping it altogether. It also decreases the swelling of acne as well.

    Clindamycin is a type of medication classified under the class of lincomycin antibiotics. If you plan to use clindamycin for acne then you must follow the appropriate dosage given to you by your doctor and follow the proper usage of the topical acne medication. Moreover, there are other special precautions you must take note of  once you plan on taking clindamycin for acne. 

    Clindamycin for Acne: Is it Effective?

    Yes, clindamycin is an effective topical antibiotic against acne. It helps by killing off certain types of bacteria that cause acne.

    Solely using topical clindamycin for acne would yield results after six weeks. However, it may take longer for others since not every skin type is the same.

    For acne to completely clear, it would take more than six weeks as well. It’s also best to be prepared for several side effects while using this. Side effects may include drying, scaling, and peeling. 

    If this happens to you, do consult your doctor so that they will prescribe medications to soothe said side effects. Never attempt to self medicate with various soothing creams and the like. 

    Clindamycin for acne is most effective for mild to moderate acne severity. For those who have severe acne (e.g. nodule acne), clindamycin can be combined with another type of medication called tretinoin, which is also a topical medicine. Tretinoin is a form of Vitamin A and it treats acne by reducing sebum from the oil glands. 

    Proper Use of Clindamycin 

    According to Mayo Clinic, the proper use of clindamycin would be as follows:

    Before applying clindamycin:

  • Thoroughly wash the affected area with warm water and soap, rinse well, and pat it dry. 
  • Ensure that the affected area is lightly covered by the topical clindamycin. Take note that you must apply clindamycin on the entire area that is affected and not just the pimples themselves. By doing so, this would prevent any breakouts from happening. 
  • Do not excessively wash the affected areas of your skin too often as this would dry out the area and worsen the acne. Use mild soap when washing your face and do this twice or thrice a day. For those who have oily skin, they may wash more frequently than others. 
  • Application process of clindamycin:

    • Make sure to let 30 minutes pass before applying this topical medication after washing or shaving. The 30-minute waiting time would prevent the newly washed or shaved skin from being irritated. 
    • This medication comes in a bottle with an applicator and the proper way of applying the solution is by dabbing it directly on the skin. Do not use a rolling motion when applying the solution. 
    • Tilt the bottle and press the tip onto the skin. To increase the flow of the solution, apply a bit more pressure when pressing the tip on the skin. 
    • There is a chance that the tip of the bottle would become dry, luckily there is a quick fix for this. Grab the bottle and turn it upside down, press the tip a few times until it becomes moist. 

    Safety Tips for Using Clindamycin 

  • Clindamycin contains alcohol, so therefore this medication is flammable. Ensure that you are not using this product while smoking, near heat, or an open flame. 
  • Ensure that you are following the dosage prescribed by your doctor because excessive use of this product would lead to skin irritation and dryness. 
  • Avoid letting this medication come in contact with your eyes, mouth, nose, and mucous membranes because it will sting, and it tastes awful. 
  • As much as possible, never miss a dosage. The moment you do miss a dosage, apply the medication right away. 
  • If it is almost time for your next dose, what you should do is take the dose for that time only. Do not apply double of this medication to make up for the missed dosage. 
  • Proper dosage

    The dosing of clindamycin for acne would vary per individual’s skin condition. Take note that the dosage shown below is only the average dosage of this medication. 

    • Clindamycin for acne dosage (foam medication)
      • Adults and children: Apply the foam on affected areas only. Do this once a day. 
      • Infants and children (12 years old and below): Refer to the dosage prescribed by the doctor. 
    • Clindamycin for acne dosage (gel medication, solution, and suspension)
    • Adults and children: Apply the foam on affected areas only. Do this twice a day. 
    • Infants and children (12 years old and below): Refer to the dosage prescribed by the doctor. 

    Key Takeaways

    Clindamycin is indeed an effective treatment for acne, and like all medications, this must be taken with caution. Strictly follow the dosage prescribed by your doctor and follow the proper application of the medication.

    If all these are done correctly, your acne problem will subside after six weeks or so. 


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Fact-checked by

    Bianchi Mendoza, R.N.

    Written by Jen Mallari · Updated Nov 15, 2021

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