Clindamycin for Acne

Clindamycin is an antibiotic that is used to treat severe acne and other skin infections. Clindamycin is available as liquids, pads, lotions, gels or jelly. Your dermatologist may prescribe this antibiotic. He will tell you how much and how often the medicine can be used. This medicine is only for the skin and must not enter mouth, eyes or nose. It is not meant to be used on broken skin. If it is a liquid, shake the bottle well and apply a thin film on the affected areas.

If you are using foam, spray it on a tissue or a piece of cotton and then apply on acne. Gently massage the foam until it gets absorbed. Clindamycin must be used for the entire duration prescribed to provide best benefits. 

Topical clindamycin must be applied in a thin layer or a small pea-sized amount at least once or twice daily after cleaning and drying the skin. Use it for 4-6 weeks for severe lesions to see the best results. 

Clindamycin Products and Benefits

Clindamycin is a prescription product that goes under various names. Combined with benzoyl peroxide – e.g. Benzaclin Gel – it is very effective in treating severe acne conditions.

Topical retinoids take long to treat acne and some patients may not be able to tolerate them. Hence, your dermatologist may recommend topical antibiotics like erythromycin and clindamycin that are extremely effective in managing inflammatory acne conditions.

Clindamycin can also treat rosacea, shaving bumps, perioral dermatitis and other acne-like conditions. Topical clindamycin can kill P.acnes bacteria. It also has anti-inflammatory properties that treat acne lesions. It can also block the formation of comedones – whiteheads and blackheads. Since clindamycin is available in so many forms, your dermatologist can prescribe one that will suit you the best.

Clindamycin for Acne

Combining clindamycin with benzoyl peroxide offers some advantages. The P.acnes bacteria do not become resistant to topical antibiotics when benzoyl peroxide is added. Another benefit is a synergistic effect when a combination of these medications is more effective in treating acne than when used alone. 

Clindamycin combined with tretinoin is also very effective in treating inflammatory acne conditions. 

Side effects of Clindamycin and Precautions

Mild side effects could be skin irritation, scaling and redness. When a combination of benzoyl peroxide and clindamycin is used, you can expect some dry skin, peeling, irritation and redness. To combat this, you can use a moisturizer that suits acne-prone skin.

Patients who develop allergic reactions like hives, itching or swelling, tightness of the chest and tingling and trouble breathing must discontinue the medicine at once and report to their doctor. 


Do not apply clindamycin along with other medications. Certain cosmetics used with clindamycin can irritate the skin. Use water-based cosmetics that are non-comedogenic.

Topical clindamycin must be used on the skin and not swallowed. Do not use the medication in the mouth, nose, eyes or vagina. Rinse with cold water if you do so. Read the directions for use carefully before using this medication. Inform your doctor if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, allergic to clindamycin or have skin conditions or illnesses like asthma, eczema, inflammatory bowel disease, if you have had recent surgery etc. Do not use medicated skin products and soaps that can cause you to have side effects with topical clindamycin. 

Bacteria have been known to develop resistance to antibiotics. If your acne lesions improve and flare-up again, then P.acnes bacteria may have become resistant to this antibiotic. Report this to your doctor who will change your medication.