The Independent Pharmacy

The Best Antibiotic Creams for Acne

Donald Grant
Dr Donald GrantMB ChB DRCOG MRCGP Dip.orth.medGP & Clinical Advisor

Reviewed on 5 Apr 2023

If you suffer from acne, it can often leave you feeling self-conscious and embarrassed. Luckily, there are plenty of medications that can help you to deal with this skin condition, such as specially-made antibiotic creams for acne.

In this post, we’ll cover the best antibiotic creams for acne — including which types are best for your condition, and which are the most effective acne treatments overall.

What exactly are antibiotic creams for acne?

Acne antibiotic creams are medical treatments that are used to treat all sorts of types of acne, but normally from moderate to severe acne.

Antibiotic creams are topical, which means they are applied to the affected skin to treat the various symptoms of acne. The creams contain an antibiotic as the active ingredient, often alongside other ingredients, which work to get rid of acne.

An antibiotic cream treatment is usually recommended if you have inflammatory acne — such as angry red spots, bumps or papules as well as whiteheads and blackheads.

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How do antibiotic acne creams work?

Antibiotic creams work by controlling and killing the skin bacteria (Propionibacterium) that is associated with acne. This common bacteria feeds on the sebum (natural oils) produced by the skin, creating waste products and fatty acids that contribute to the condition and worsen acne symptoms. This can cause the skin to become more inflamed and infected.

The anti-inflammatory action of topical antibiotics can reduce the swelling, redness, and discomfort of acne spots.

Antibiotic creams also help to keep your pores more open, reducing the effects of acne.

Your doctor or pharmacist will prescribe an antibiotic cream that is suitable for your type of acne, as well as instructions on how and when to apply it.

Types of antibiotic creams

There are two basic types of antibiotic creams for acne: antibiotic-only treatments or antibiotic combination treatments.

Antibiotic-only treatments contain one antibiotic as the active ingredient, which is what is used to fight the bacteria growth that contributed to acne.

Antibiotic combination treatments combine a few different active ingredients which work together to tackle the symptoms and causes of acne. Combination treatments are made up of one effective antibiotic that kills the bacteria that causes acne, and another active ingredient that helps the body to shed excess skin cells, unblock pores or dry the skin. Combination antibiotic treatments are best for more severe acne and help to reduce antibiotic resistance.

Here at The Independent Pharmacy, we currently offer a variety of both types of antibiotic creams that can be used to treat acne:

Antibiotic-only treatments

Zineryt Lotion is an antibiotic solution used for the treatment of moderate acne. It contains the antibiotic erythromycin which can effectively kill the skin bacteria that cause acne. Zinc is added to help healing. Zineryt can clear up acne in 10-12 weeks.

You can buy Zineryt Lotion from The Independent Pharmacy following a free online consultation.

Dalacin-T Lotion is another antibiotic-only acne treatment. It contains the active ingredient clindamycin phosphate. Clindamycin is an antibiotic medicine that similarly tackles bacterial infections to Zineryt, improving and getting rid of acne.

Dalacin-T is available to buy from The Independent Pharmacy. You can start a free online consultation today. Dalacin-T contains the same active ingredient as another topical acne treatment, Zindaclin gel.

Antibiotic combination treatments

Duac Gel is an extremely effective antibiotic combination treatment. This topical gel works by combining two active ingredients: clindamycin and benzoyl peroxide. Clindamycin — one of the most commonly used antibiotics for treating acne — is the antibiotic component that stops skin bacteria from reproducing.

The benzoyl peroxide then kills the bacteria, removes blockages from the skin’s pores, and reduces the visible symptoms of acne. The combination of benzoyl peroxide also helps to prevent antibiotic resistance, meaning the clindamycin can do its job without interruption and keeps its effectiveness.

Click here to buy Duac Gel from The Independent Pharmacy. It’s prescription-only, but you can start a free online consultation with us today and get your medication delivered as soon as tomorrow.

Treclin Gel is another prescription-only antibiotic combination treatment. Like Duac Gel, Treclin Gel also uses the antibiotic clindamycin as one of its active ingredients. The second active ingredient is tretinoin — a retinoic acid that reduces the ability of skin cells to stick together. This property helps the body to shed dead skin cells, which stops them from blocking follicles.

Treclin is also available from The Independent Pharmacy — you’ll just need to answer a short consultation questionnaire first.

Isotrexin is a dual-action acne treatment that can be used to treat moderate to severe acne. Isotrexin combines two different active ingredients called erythromycin and isotretinoin. Erythromycin is the antibiotic that fights the bacteria that cause acne; isotretinoin is the medicine that helps prevent your pores from becoming blocked.

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Buy Treclin Dual-Action Gel
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What gets the best results: antibiotic-only treatments or combination treatments?

Which antibiotic cream you choose to treat your acne is partially down to individual response. Simply put, some people just get on better with certain treatments compared to others, even though they are very similar.

Overall, we would normally recommend using one of the combination treatments available at The Independent Pharmacy over the antibiotic-only treatments, as they have been shown to have better effects on the symptoms of acne, and tend to work faster. Combination treatments also reduce the chance of antibiotic resistance. However, one of our medical team will make their recommendation based on your initial consultation.

For example, antibiotic combination creams such as Duac are a good, cost-effective choice for acne sufferers who cannot take oral antibiotics but still want an effective treatment for their condition.

However, everyone will find that their body responds to topical treatments differently, so it’s best to find one that suits you, clears up your acne and doesn’t irritate your skin.

If in doubt about your medication, seek advice from your doctor — you may want to think about changing to a different treatment.


In summary, antibiotic acne creams have many benefits and are an effective method of treating acne.

All of the antibiotic creams we’ve listed above contain an effective antibiotic as the active ingredient, which kills the bacteria that causes and exacerbates acne. Additionally, the combination treatments contain another active ingredient that helps the body to shed skin cells, unblock pores and dry the skin by reducing the production of oily sebum.

You can also read customer reviews of each antibiotic acne cream we’ve mentioned in the post above to see what real users think of each treatment and its respective benefits.


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