In our last post we discussed the use of antibiotics including one called Doxycycline for treatment of acne. We reviewed why dermatologists specializing in acne use antibiotics so often. Now let’s focus specifically on doxycycline for acne treatment. Doxycycline is one of the most common antibiotics used to treat acne. Acne dermatologists select it because it gets into the acne-prone pores very well and it has fewer side effects than other antibiotics. Doxycycline is usually used as the first antibiotic when treating acne with lots of pimples. Doxycycline can take up to 6 or 8 weeks of treatment to tell if its working. You see, the effects of doxycycline are sometimes slow to occur, so patients shouldn’t expect a significant effect in just one week. Sometimes, of course, doxycycline does work quickly, but the usual acne case takes some time to work.
Doxycycline is a common treatment used for periods when acne is flaring, such as during periods of stress. College students, for example, often experience acne flares during final exams that can be controlled by short courses of doxycycline. Sometimes doxycycline is used in a pulsed fashion. For example, many women develop acne breakouts just before their menstrual period. Doxycycline can be prescribed for a week or two just before the anticipated breakout with good results in preventing the acne flare.
Common side effects of doxycycline
When taking doxycycline as treatment for acne, patients are instructed to avoid sun exposure. This is because doxycycline can cause patients to become sensitive to the sun. Some patients can develop a severe rash if they take doxycycline and go out in the sun. Therefore, it’s important to stay out of direct sun light and use sun block and sun-protective clothing. Some patients are on sports teams and practice outside in the sun a lot; for these patients, doxycycline may not be the best choice of antibiotics for treating acne. Another antibiotic that does not cause sun sensitivity would be a better choice.
Another possible side effect is the potential for doxycycline to interfere with the ability of birth control to prevent pregnancy. This is a controversial side effect of doxycycline but patients should take care to use two forms of contraception while taking doxycycline for acne. Also, patients who are or who may become pregnant should not take doxycycline.
Doxycycline is usually well tolerated
Most patients do not exhibit serious side effects when taking doxycycline as treatment for acne. Doxycycline comes in many different forms and brands. Each type of doxycycline has its pros and cons. Some brands of doxycycline are released into the body over time while others dissolve right away. Some brands of doxycycline are more expensive than others, which can be very important since patients sometimes need a few months of treatment to see results.
Doxycycline is a good initial treatment for acne
Overall, doxycycline is a good treatment for patients with active pimples. It tends to work well in many patients with less potential side effects than other antibiotics. Doxycycline is often selected by many acne dermatologists as a good starting point for treatment.