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|Type of medicine
|Antibiotic, Antiseptic and effective in getting rid of bacteria and dead skin cells that clog your pores
|Killing the bacteria responsible for the spread of acne
|Clindamycin and benzoyl peroxide
|30g and 60g
|(3% & 5%)
|Common side effects
|Skin irritation such as burning sensation, peeling, itching, Dry or redness of the skin, Headache, Sensitivity to sunlight, Skin pain, Rash (dermatitis)
|Use with alcohol
|No known issues
We stock 3 different variants of Duac Gel (3% & 5%)
Duac Gel (3% & 5%) information
What is Duac Gel?
Duac is a medication that is used to reduce mild or moderate acne, spots, and pimples and is one of the most commonly used acne treatments. These symptoms appear on your skin because of an overproduction of a chemical called sebum, clogging pores and allowing oil to build up, creating blackheads. If these blackheads become infected with bacteria they will develop into acne. This will usually present itself on the face; however, it can appear on other parts of the body, particularly the neck and upper back. Duac Gel targets these pimples directly and aids in the prevention of new impurities.
Topical antibiotics such as Duac are an excellent choice for those who cannot take, or do not like to take, oral antibiotics. Duac is manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline and is available for use in two strengths: Duac 3% (20mg) and Duac 5% (50mg).
Duac may not be suitable if you are using other medications to treat acne, especially if they are alcohol-based or contain other antibiotics (such as Zindaclin or Treclin).
How does Duac work?
As one of many topical acne treatments, Duac works by killing the bacteria responsible for the spread of acne. For most people with a longstanding history of acne, Duac is extremely effective, showing an improvement in your condition within the first month of treatment. After three months, the acne will have likely cleared up altogether. After this, it is recommended to continue using the Duac Gel in order to prevent the acne from returning again.
If you’re interested in using Duac Gel, you should read our Duac Gel guide. There, you’ll find more details on what you can expect from this acne treatment.
Clindamycin and benzoyl peroxide
Duac Gel works by making use of two active ingredients known as clindamycin and benzoyl peroxide. This is a class of medications known as anti-acne preparations.
Clindamycin is one of the most commonly used antibiotics for treating acne. It serves to stop the bacteria present from reproducing. Benzoyl peroxide will then kill the remaining bacteria, removing blockages from skin pores and leading to a reduction in pimples and acne.
Duac Gel for acne scars
While it’s designed primarily to treat acne and kill acne bacteria, some find that Duac Gel also helps to diminish the appearance of acne scars. Serious acne scars (particularly keloid scars) are hard to treat, though, and sufferers generally need to wait for them to fade over time. Due to this, it’s best to work to prevent acne scarring, which means holding back from popping or picking spots. For more information, visit our guide to treating acne scars.
Are there alternative acne treatments?
There are many types of acne treatments available, so if Duac Gel doesn’t work for you then something else might.
You can try other daily gels capable of treating moderate acne, such as Treclin Gel which contains the active ingredients of clindamycin and tretinoin. Alternatively, acne creams such as Dalacin-T Lotion or Differin Cream can leave your skin looking clear and feeling oil-free.
There is also a range of face washes and dermatologically-tested face lotions that can contribute to improving your acne. The Cetaphil Skin Cleanser and Cetaphil Moisturising Lotion can treat acne-prone skin, and the CeraVe SA Smoothing Cleanser and
CeraVe AM Facial Moisturising Lotion can help maintain a natural pH level, allowing your skin to retain more moisture.
Duac Gel is a daily acne treatment gel, meaning it should be applied once a day (usually in the evening). To see the best results from the active ingredients, use the gel as follows:
- Before you apply Duac Gel, carefully wash and then rinse the area with warm water then dry gently.
- Squeeze some of the gel from the small tube and apply it to the affected area with your fingers.
- Ideally, you should use an acne wash that is oil-free. Pat the skin when you dry it to avoid aggravation.
Like all acne medications, Duac will take a while to work. Most people will see an improvement after one month. If there is no improvement after two months then treatment should be stopped before seeking further advice from your GP.
How long does it take to work?
The time it takes for Duac Gel to reduce your acne symptoms will depend on the condition of your skin and whether you have moderate acne or severe acne. In some cases, it proves highly impactful and makes a visible difference within days, but it normally takes between two and four weeks to yield significant results.
The longer you use the gel, the better the results will be. Following a full 12 week course is most likely to effectively combat your acne, but you mustn’t exceed 12 weeks unless advised to do so by your doctor. Too much Duac Gel can cause antibiotic resistance where bacteria build up resistance to the antibiotics designed to fight them.
Duac Gel Ingredients
The active substances in Duac Gel are: clindamycin and hydrous benzoyl peroxide.
The other ingredients are: carbomer 940, dimeticone, disodium lauryl sulfosuccinate, disodium edetate, glycerol, silica (colloidal hydrated), poloxamer 182, purified water and sodium hydroxide clindamycin and hydrous benzoyl peroxide.
The most common side effects associated with Dual Gel include:
- Skin irritation such as burning sensation, peeling, itching
- Dry or redness of the skin
- Sensitivity to sunlight
- Skin pain
- Rash (dermatitis)
If you experience severe side effects, stop using Duac Gel immediately and speak to your doctor or pharmacist. If you think you might be experiencing an allergic reaction, go to your local A&E department for medical assistance.
For more information on the pros and cons of this acne treatment, check out our Dual Gel reviews.
Duac Gel Warnings
- Only use Duac Gel on your skin. Keep it away from areas like your eyes, lips, mouth, or inside your nose and avoid applications to any sensitive area as it may cause skin irritation. For example, if you have cuts, grazes, sunburn or broken skin.
- Most people will experience some skin redness and peeling during the first few weeks of treatment. If your skin becomes irritated, you may need to use an oil-free moisturiser, reduce the frequency of applications, or stop using it for a short period to allow your skin to recover and then restart treatment.
- Try not to let Duac Gel come into contact with hair and coloured fabrics, including clothing, towels, bed linen, furniture or carpeting, as this product can bleach these materials.
- Duac Gel can make your skin more sensitive to the harmful effects of the sun. Avoid the use of sunbeds/lamps and minimise the time you spend in the sun. You should use sunscreen and wear protective clothing while using this gel.
Check with your doctor or pharmacist before using this medicine if:
- You have ever had any of the following gut problems: regional enteritis, ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease or antibiotic-associated colitis.
- If you develop stomach cramps or diarrhoea that does not improve or is severe, stop using Duac Gel and contact your doctor immediately.
Please ensure you have read the Patient Information Leaflet thoroughly before use.
Can you use Duac Gel while pregnant or breastfeeding?
Around 50% of women experience acne while pregnant, especially during the first trimester. This is caused by the change of hormones during pregnancy that can trigger sebum production and result in clogged pores when the skin becomes oily. It can appear on the face, chest, or even as back acne.
While Duac Gel is an effective treatment option, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, it’s best to consult with your doctor or pharmacist for advice before using this medicine as there may be other acne treatments that are more suitable.
Duac Gel (3% & 5%) reviews
Duac Gel (3% & 5%) FAQs
Duac is a treatment which combines two of the most commonly-used acne treatments. No treatment will completely cure acne, but Duac should remove 2/3 of blemishes within 30 days of use.
First, it contains clindamycin, which is the top antibiotic used to treat acne in both the UK and in Canada. Unlike minocycline (the primary treatment in the US), it will not cause teeth to become stained or discoloured.
The second component is benzoyl peroxide. This is the most popular ingredient in all acne treatments. It contains benzoin and hydrogen peroxide, which kill acne bacteria which remains after the clindamycin treatment. This combination of ingredients ensures that the bacteria will not become resistant to one antibiotic.
Duac tends to work within 48 hours, which is notably faster than other combination acne treatments such as Zineryt or Differin.
A moisturiser will help to prevent dry skin, which is very important in treating acne. Moisturiser can be applied over a layer of Duac. However, do not use a moisturiser containing an alcohol, as this may increase skin irritation. Instead, select an alcohol-free alternative.
1 in 10 patients who use Duac will notice dry skin to some extent. This may lead to mild redness and peeling where the treatment is applied.
This side effect may be more pronounced when Duac is used in combination with certain other medicines, cosmetics, toiletries or soaps. Specifically, products which contain isotretinoin, tretinoin and tazarotene may interact with benzoyl peroxide and lead to skin irritation. If you must use these products as well as Duac, try to spread out the time of day when you apply them.
Duac should be stored below 25°C and kept for a maximum of two months after opening. Keep all medications away from children.
Duac will not react with the drinking of alcohol; however it might react with other topical acne products that contain alcohol.
Duac Gel can provide many benefits, the main ones being:
- A reduction in acne on the skin
- Decreases the chance of future outbreaks occurring
- Allows your skin to breath and heal
- It’s a cost effective solution
- By applying Duac directly to the skin, it is able to work faster than other medications, as well as decreasing the chance of side effects
- Some people see benefits within the first few days
Duac is a prescription only medication and is therefore not available over the counter. In order to purchase Duac gel you will need a prescription from a medical professional.
Approximately 10 percent of individuals who use duac will experience some level of dry skin. This can manifest itself as redness or peeling in the area in which the treatment has been applied. This kind of irritation can become more noticeable if duac is used in conjunction with other medication, cosmetics or toiletries. More specifically, products which contain ingredients such as isotretinoin, tretinoin and tazarotene can increase irritation by interacting with the benozyl peroxide. If you wish to use these products alongside Duac, it might be a good idea to spread them out throughout the day.
Duac works by making use of two active ingredients. The first one is called clindamycin, the number one antibiotic in the UK for treating acne. This has benefits over minocycline (which is the number one antibiotic used in the US), as it does not discolour or stain teeth.
The second active ingredient is known as benzyol peroxide, an ingredient which can be found in most acne treatments. The benzoin and the hydrogen peroxide work by killing any acne bacteria remaining on the skin. By combining with clindamycin these ingredients stop the bacteria from becoming resistant to one antibiotic.
Studies have shown that Duac works within 48 hours of use, much faster than any other combination treatment available on the market.
Yes – Duac Gel is intended for once-daily application to help treat and prevent breakouts.
Duac Gel is not recommended during pregnancy. This is because it contains benzoyl peroxide. Consult a medical professional for advice on a suitable alternative if you are pregnant.