Clindamycin is an antibiotic that is used to treat a variety of bacterial infections. It comes in different formulations and strengths, including pills, topical cream, gel, and liquid.

While clindamycin can be purchased from pharmacies over the counter with no prescription, there are some instances when you will need a prescription from your doctor in order to buy it.

Addressing the concerns regarding the effectiveness of clindamycin phosphate as an acne treatment requires understanding why it works for some people but not others.

The answer may lie in how clindamycin phosphate works differently on human skin than it does on bacteria in petri dishes.

In other words, its effectiveness may lie not so much with the drug itself but rather how it’s being used.

How Does Clindamycin Work?

Clindamycin is an antibiotic that kills bacteria by interfering with their ability to grow. In order to be effective, clindamycin must be absorbed into the bloodstream.

Although it also takes effect locally on the skin, its ability to penetrate the skin is what causes the drug to be effective against bacterial infections in the body.

The antibiotic kills the bacteria that cause acne by interfering with the bacteria’s metabolism. It prevents bacteria from making the proteins they need in order to grow and survive. Once the bacteria have been stopped from growing, they eventually die off.

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Is Clindamycin an Effective Acne Medication?

Clindamycin is an effective acne medication for some people. It works by reducing the number of acne-causing bacteria on the surface of the skin.

This reduction helps to keep pores unclogged and skin pores clear of excess oil and dead skin.

In some cases, this reduction in the number of bacteria has been shown to completely dissolve acne lesions within days. This can result in less pimples, blackheads, and cysts.

Unfortunately, not everyone who uses clindamycin experiences a reduction in acne, and in some cases, it doesn’t seem to work at all.

This may be due to one of two reasons:

  • The drug may not be reaching the skin where it’s needed: For example, if you’re using a topical clindamycin cream, you may not be applying it correctly. In most cases, clindamycin should be applied to the entire affected area of the skin, not just the pimples.
  • Clindamycin may be working too well: Because acne is caused by bacteria, it stands to reason that an antibiotic would help to treat it. But when the antibiotic is applied to the skin, it kills the beneficial bacteria that help to keep the pores clean and clear of oil. This over-kill may lead to an overgrowth of yeast and bacteria, which can cause acne-like breakouts.

Why is Clindamycin Not Always Effective?

As mentioned above, there are a few reasons why clindamycin may not be effective for some people. Some of these reasons have to do with how the drug is applied and others have to do with the individual user’s skin and bacterial makeup.

  • The drug may not be reaching the skin where it’s needed: This can happen when the skin is too dry or too oily for the topical clindamycin to be absorbed. In cases where clindamycin is taken orally, it’s important to drink plenty of water. This will increase the drug’s ability to be absorbed into the bloodstream. If you’re using a clindamycin cream, lotion, or gel, it’s important to massage it into the skin.
  • The user may have an overgrowth of yeast or bacteria in their pores: This could happen if the user is not washing their skin properly. In such cases, the clindamycin may be applied to the skin but not absorbed into the skin where it can do its job.
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What Should You Know Before You Buy Clindamycin?

  • If you have sensitive skin, you may be more likely to have an adverse reaction to clindamycin. If you have sensitive skin, you may want to test it first. Put a small amount on one side of your face, and apply a different acne medication to the other side. See which side has fewer side effects.
  • It’s important to use a moisturizer if you’re using clindamycin. If you don’t, the clindamycin will dry out your skin, and the bacteria won’t be able to grow. That’s a good thing, but you’ll also be stopping the clindamycin from doing its job. You’ll also be more likely to experience dry, flaky skin.

When Should You NOT Use Clindamycin?


  • If you have a yeast infection, clindamycin may not be for you. It’s used to kill bacteria, so it would actually make your yeast infection worse.
  • If you have a serious infection in your body, clindamycin may not be the best choice for you. It’s usually used to treat mild infections, so it may not be strong enough to handle a severe infection.
  • If you have urinary tract or intestinal infections, clindamycin may not be the best way to treat them. It’s not strong enough to treat serious infections in these areas.

The Final Word

Clindamycin is an effective acne treatment for some people, but not all. If you’re one of the lucky few who can say clindamycin has completely cleared up their acne, be sure to take care of your skin. It’s important to keep your skin clean and moisturized.

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You may also want to see a dermatologist every few months to get your skin checked and make sure nothing else is going on. On the other hand, if you’ve tried clindamycin and it didn’t work, don’t lose hope.

There are many different acne treatments available, and it’s important not to give up. You may just need to try something else.


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The wealthformyhealth.com team is composed of doctors and few students in their final year of medicine who have decided to popularize and share their knowledge.