Antibiotics and Acne - always good? - Dr. Anil
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Antibiotics and Acne – always good?

A recent study by the British Association of Dermatologists has highlighted that acne patients are being asked to take antibiotics for excessive periods of time before being referred to a specialist.

Acne Treatment

oral antibiotics, which are routinely prescribed for acne, are being used for durations that exceed recommendations, despite concerns about antibiotic resistance.

Dr Alison Layton and the dermatology team at Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust, say that reliance on oral antibiotics beyond the recommended duration is harmful for two key reasons. The practice could cause the emergence of antibiotic-resistant Propionibacterium acnes, the bacterium implicated in acne, making acne harder to treat in some cases. Worryingly, the use of oral antibiotics is also likely to drive resistance in other bacteria, unrelated to acne*

Their recent study shows that patients are facing delays in starting treatment options which could be used effectively in place, or alongside, antibiotics resulting in more rapid and better outcomes. This is important, as delay in implementing effective treatments is known to increase the risk of acne scarring.”

Source: BAD

Why I welcome the findings of the report.


In my experience of treating acne patients, many have been through a series of ‘trial and error’ receiving too many antibiotics within a short time frame. The result of such an approach is more  problems with  drug resistance and acne scarring. The ongoing effects for patients can be significant both medically and psychologically.

5 Things every acne patient should know:

  1. Avoid trial and error with numerous antibiotics as this can cause resistance
  2. Referrals should be made after a maximum of 4 months on 2 different antibiotics
  3. Creams combined with antibiotics can be beneficial but also increase the chances of resistance
  4. Waiting too long for a referral will increase your chance of scarring and this can be avoided
  5. Roaccutane has a very high success rate but can only be prescribed by a Dermatologist


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