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Will general topical antibiotics clear my acne?

Dr. Doris Day, MD
Dermatology
Topical antibiotic preparations such as Neosporin or bacitracin are very effective against specific types of bacterial infections that are common to the skin, such as staphylococcus or streptococcus skin infections. They are, however, not effective against Propionibacterium acnes. In fact, the ointment can even be occlusive, which can make the acne worse. The medications designed to treat acne are, likewise, ineffective against many of the other bacteria can cause different types of skin infections other than acne.

When looking for topical treatments for acne, look for labels that indicate that the medication is designed specifically for the treatment of acne and not just for general infections of the skin. 
100 Questions & Answers About Acne

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100 Questions & Answers About Acne

100 Questions and Answers About Acne provides you with all the information you need to manage your complexion problems. Written by Dr. Doris J. Day, a world-class expert in the field, this clearly...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.