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Oxytetracycline Acne Treatment: Here’s What You Need To Know

by Leanne Sinclair (BPharm)

Leanne is a clinical pharmacist with years of experience working in pharmacy.

If you suffer from acne, it can leave you feeling embarrassed and self-conscious. Fortunately, there are many different treatment options available that can successfully clear up your skin. Using antibiotics such as Oxytetracycline for acne is an extremely effective way of tackling this common skin condition. But what do you need to know about using Oxytetracycline acne treatment?

In this guide, we’ll be looking at Oxytetracycline as an acne treatment and answering any questions you have about this popular medicine. 


What is Oxytetracycline?

Oxytetracycline is a prescription-only oral antibiotic that is used to treat acne, as well as rosacea and other bacterial infections. 

The active ingredient, oxytetracycline, belongs to a group of medicines called tetracycline antibiotics. 

Oxytetracycline 250mg tablets are available to buy from The Independent Pharmacy.


Oxytetracycline uses: What is Oxytetracycline used for?

Oxytetracycline 250mg tablets are used to treat persistent acne, where there is an active infection and visible inflammation.

The severity of acne can vary, and the most suitable acne treatment for you will depend on the type and severity of your condition. 

If you aren’t sure which type of acne you have, below is a rough guide:

  • Mild acne (grade 1) usually consists of mostly whiteheads and blackheads, perhaps with a few pustules and papules.
  • Moderate acne (grade 2) is characterised by widespread whiteheads and blackheads, multiple pustules and papules.
  • Moderate to severe acne (grade 3) consists of a high number of pustules and papules, affecting the face, back and chest, as well as the presence of inflamed nodules.
  • Severe acne (grade 4) is characterised by a high number of papules, pustules, nodules or cysts that are both large and painful, as well as scarring.

Your doctor will be able to diagnose your acne by examining your skin. Alternatively, you can submit a photo of your acne as part of your online consultation.

Oxytetracycline tablets are used to treat moderate and moderate to severe acne.

If your acne is severe or cystic, your doctor or pharmacist may prescribe additional topical treatments to use alongside this antibiotic to cure your cystic acne. Skinoren or benzoyl peroxide-based treatments work particularly well in combination with Oxytetracycline and may be suggested.

Oxytetracycline is also effective against a wide variety of bacteria, which means it can also be used to treat other bacterial infections.


Other Oxytetracycline uses

There are lots of different Oxytetracycline uses.

As we’ve mentioned, Oxytetracycline is a broad-spectrum antibiotic, which means it can be used to treat a range of bacterial infections as well as acne. 

Below are some of the conditions that Oxytetracycline is used to treat:

  • Skin conditions like acne and rosacea
  • Chest or respiratory infections like bronchitis and pneumonia
  • Eye infections such as conjunctivitis 
  • Mouth infections
  • Urinary tract infections (UTIs)
  • Rickettsial infections such as tick fever, typhus group or Q fever
  • Yeast infections such as thrush
  • Sexually transmitted diseases such as chlamydia, gonorrhoea or syphilis

Other Oxytetracycline uses also include cholera, brucellosis and bubonic plague.


How does Oxytetracycline work?

Oxytetracycline works in different ways depending on the infection or condition it is being used to treat.

For treating acne, Oxytetracycline works by killing the bacteria associated with blocking pores and causing spots (Propionibacterium or Propionibacterium acnes). 

Acne is caused when tiny hair follicles in the skin become clogged with sebum (an oily substance that your skin naturally produces) and dead skin cells. 

This is then exacerbated by naturally-occurring bacteria living on the skin, which feeds on the sebum. The waste products from this irritate the sebaceous glands and infect pores, making the condition worse.

Oxytetracycline works by blocking the bacteria’s ability to produce the proteins which are essential for their reproduction. This action stops the bacterial infection from growing and spreading further.

By controlling the number of bacteria, the inflammation of the sebaceous glands is reduced, and the skin can heal naturally. The remaining bacteria either dies out or can be killed off by the immune system.

Take a look at our dedicated acne guide to find out more about what causes acne and how to prevent it.


Does Oxytetracycline work?

In short, yes. Oxytetracycline is a very effective antibiotic for the treatment of acne, particularly mild to moderate persistent acne.

As we’ve mentioned above, Oxytetracycline helps to clear up persistent acne by killing the bacteria on the skin that is responsible for blocking pores and leading to acne. 

It is very important that you always complete the course of Oxytetracycline that has been provided by your pharmacist or doctor. Not finishing your course of treatment may mean that the bacteria responsible for your acne may not have been fully eliminated, which could result in acne becoming worse. A course of oxytetracycline to treat acne is normally a minimum of twelve weeks.

There is a small chance that despite completion of your treatment course and your acne clearing, that bacteria may come back once you do not have Oxytetracycline in your system. However, this is unusual. 

It is also important to continue to practice good hygiene and maintain a good skincare regime while you take Oxytetracycline tablets. Make sure you wash any affected areas twice daily with warm water and a mild cleanser to remove excess sebum, and pat dry.


Oxytetracycline dosage

The Oxytetracycline dosage that you are prescribed will depend on the health condition you are using this antibiotic medicine to treat.

Here at The Independent Pharmacy, we offer Oxytetracycline 250mg tablets to treat acne. 

250mg is the standard Oxytetracycline dosage for acne. Typically, you would take two 250mg Oxytetracycline tablets daily (one in the morning, one in the evening) for your full treatment course. That’s 1000mg in total.

The usual recommended duration of Oxytetracycline treatment is 12 weeks. This time is required to ensure that you have given the antibiotic a chance to fight the infection.

If there is no improvement, or in more severe cases, treatment may be continued for longer, or the Oxytetracycline dosage may be increased to 500mg twice daily.

In some cases, you may be required to have a higher or lower dosage. Your doctor or pharmacist will be able to advise you on the best course of action and Oxytetracycline dosage for you.


Is Oxytetracycline the same as Tetracycline?

Oxytetracycline is classed as a tetracycline antibiotic. This means it belongs to a group of medicines called tetracycline antibiotics.

There are a few different types of tetracycline antibiotics, such as:

As you can see, Tetracycline is an antibiotic within the family as well as a class of antibiotics. It works in the same way as Oxytetracycline to kill bacteria and treat infections. Tetracycline is sold under the brand name Sumycin among others.

Tetracycline antibiotics such as oxytetracycline are used to treat many different types of bacterial infection, including skin infections (like acne and rosacea), chest infections (like bronchitis and pneumonia), urinary tract infections, yeast infections, and sexually transmitted infections (like chlamydia).


Oxytetracycline and alcohol

It is fine to drink alcohol while using this medicine; there is no warning against combining Oxytetracycline and alcohol.

This is because alcohol doesn't specifically affect the medicine itself, and doesn’t interfere with how effective it is. 

However, if you encounter any Oxytetracycline side effects such as an upset stomach or a headache, drinking may exacerbate these, so you may want to lower or stop your alcohol consumption.



Oxytetracycline is an effective oral antibiotic which is used to treat mild to moderate acne. Many people successfully use Oxytetracycline acne treatment.

Oxytetracycline acne treatment works by killing the bacteria associated with blocking pores and causing spots to become inflamed and infected. This helps to clear up acne and allow the affected skin to heal.

As Oxytetracycline is a broad-spectrum antibiotic, it can also be used to treat a range of other health conditions and bacterial infections such as bronchitis, pneumonia, conjunctivitis, chlamydia and more. 

The recommended dose of Oxytetracycline for acne is two 250mg tablets, twice daily. 

Here at The Independent Pharmacy, we offer Oxytetracycline 250mg tablets for the treatment of acne. 

To order this prescription-only treatment, fill in our online consultation form. It’s quick and easy to do, and once our qualified prescribers have approved your prescription, we’ll send out your treatment the very next day.



Authored By:

A photo of  Leanne Sinclair

Leanne Sinclair


Published on: 22-08-2020

Last modified on: 22-08-2020

Leanne is a clinical pharmacist with years of experience working in pharmacy.

Reviewed By:

A photo of  Ruari O'Connell

Ruari O'Connell

BPharm IP

Reviewed on: 22-08-2020

Next review date: 22-08-2022

Ruari has worked in all sectors of pharmacy and is one of the most experienced Pharmacist Independent Prescribers in the UK.

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