Updated May 27, 2014.
Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com’s Medical Review Board.
Topical Clindamycin Basics:
Clindamycin is a topical antibiotic used to treat inflammatory acne.
Topical clindamycin comes in many different forms: foam, gel, lotion, toner-like solution, and pledgets (or pads). You’ll need a prescription from your doctor to get this medication.
Oral clindamycin is also used to treat acne, although less commonly.
Also Known As:
Cleocin-T, ClindaMax, Clinda-Derm, Clindagel, ClindaReach, Clindets, Evoclin
How It Works:
Topical clindamycin works by killing the bacteria that cause acne. It also has anti-inflammatory effects. Usually, you’ll start seeing improvement of your skin within 4 to 6 weeks.
Topical Medications That Contain Clindamycin:
Other Topical Antibiotics Used to Treat Acne:
Common Usage Directions:
Depending on which form you’re using, this medication will be applied once or twice daily to clean skin.
Possible Side Effects:
- Skin irritation
- Dryness or flaking
Most people tolerate topical clindamycin fairly well, but do tell your doctor if you are noticing uncomfortable side effects.
Tips for Using Topical Clindamycin:
- Don’t just spot-treat individual pimples. No matter what form of clindamycin you’re using, make sure you apply it over the entire area affected by acne.
- With any antibiotic, bacterial resistance can become a problem. Follow the usage directions exactly to reduce this possibility. Using topical clindamycin with benzoyl peroxide is another option, and can help acne clear up faster, too.
- Try to apply your medication at the same time every day, and be as consistent as you can.