Clindamycin for Acne Treatment

Clindamycin is a type of antibiotic that can be a very effective way to treat acne. Like most antibiotics, Clindamycin can be prescribed for a variety of bacterial infections. When used for acne, it is most commonly prescribed as a topical solution or lotion to be applied over the affected area of the skin.

Clindamycin and its brand name counterparts are only available via prescription in Australia, so it’s important to understand how it works and how to best use it for your particular needs.

What is clindamycin?

As mentioned above, Clindamycin is a type of antibiotic that is commonly prescribed for treating acne. It works by killing the bacteria that gets trapped inside clogged pores and turns into inflamed, painful acne. Dalacin T is the brand name for clindamycin topical lotion prescribed in Australia.

Pimples are caused by a variety of factors. Whiteheads, blackheads and blemishes are the result of blocked pores. Pores become blocked with dead skin cells, bacteria and excess sebum (oil). Clindamycin helps improve acne by fighting the bacteria that causes breakouts to become infected and inflamed. However, it doesn’t prevent acne by itself because it doesn’t have any effect on your body’s sebum production. That’s why you’ll often be prescribed both topical clindamycin and another acne treatment to manage your acne over time.

How does Clindamycin work?

When used as prescribed, Clindamycin can be a very effective way to manage acne. Studies show that when used alongside another acne treatment such as tretinoin or benzoyl peroxide, Clindamycin has better results than when used by itself. That’s why it’s important to follow your treatment plan exactly as prescribed, especially when there are multiple treatments involved. 

How long does Clindamycin take to work?

All acne treatments take at least six weeks before seeing noticeable results. Clindamycin will start working as soon as you apply it, but it doesn’t always produce immediate results. Depending on the severity of your acne and your skin history, it may take anywhere from six to twelve weeks to see improvement. It might be helpful to take pictures every week to track changes and see your progress. 

Who can use Clindamycin?

Clindamycin is a very safe medication that when used properly, most people see results with few or no side effects. If you have a known allergy to Clindamycin, do not use the topical for acne treatment.

While most topical acne treatments are not recommended for pregnant women or women planning pregnancy, there are no studies that show that topical Clindamycin for acne treatment has any adverse effects on pregnant women. However, if you are pregnant or planning pregnancy, always consult your doctor before using Clindamycin to treat acne. 

How to use Clindamycin for treating acne

Always follow the instructions provided by your doctor when using clindamycin for acne. You might be instructed to use it once daily or more. Start by washing the affected areas with soap or a gentle cleanser and pat dry. Apply your Clindamycin lotion to the affected areas, taking care to not irritate any acne lesions. Wash your hands thoroughly afterwards and avoid using other skincare products, makeup or topical creams on the same area.

If over-the-counter options aren’t working for you, you can be prescribed a personalised acne treatment plan online via Rosemary. Start your online visit today.


∙ The Journal of clinical and aesthetic dermatology (June 2011) -  Clindamycin 1.2% Tretinoin 0.025% Gel versus Clindamycin Gel Treatment in Acne Patients
∙ CUTIS (February 2001) -
Therapeutic studies with a new combination benzoyl peroxide/clindamycin topical gel in acne vulgaris
∙ International journal of dermatology (May 1981) -
Treatment of acne vulgaris with topical clindamycin phosphate: a double-blind study

ARTG Registered Medications:

Product DALACIN T 1% clindamycin 10mg/mL (as phosphate) lotion bottle is registered in the ARTG, AUST R

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