How long does it take for most acne medications to start working?

Most acne medications take a few weeks, or even a few months, before there's a noticeable improvement. In fact, some medications might cause acne to get worse before it gets better. Both topical and oral medications need at least a few weeks to start working, since they often require a little time for the antibacterial properties to kill bacteria in the skin, or they take time for the body to "rebalance" its hormones. Don't get discouraged if you don't see an immediate improvement in your skin after starting a new treatment. Talk to a doctor if you're concerned about the effectiveness of your medication.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
You should consult a dermatologist for specific questions about acne medications. Within six to eight weeks, most treatment should result in improved skin. However, you may not see completely clear skin for about six months.

Continue Learning about Acne Treatment

What are medical procedures for treating acne?
Joshua A. Zeichner, MDJoshua A. Zeichner, MD
There are many different ways to treat acne. Prescription oral medications including antibiotics or ...
More Answers
How long is the usual course of oral isotretinoin for acne?
Dr. Doris Day, MDDr. Doris Day, MD
The effect of oral isotretinoin, especially in severe nodulocystic acne, can be dramatic. Most c...
More Answers
Are There Some Home Remedies for Acne?
Are There Some Home Remedies for Acne?
How Can I Get My Acne Scars Treated?
How Can I Get My Acne Scars Treated?

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.