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Ingredient Deep Dive: Clindamycin

If you experience acne flare-ups, pesky blackheads or just the odd spot, you may be familiar with the active ingredients that are often recommended by dermatologists to clear your skin. 

If you haven’t heard of Clindamycin, that’s because you can’t buy it over the counter with the usual spot-fighting ingredients like salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. Read on for a deep dive on this acne-busting hero – that, if prescribed to you, often comes combined with its complementary sidekick, azelaic acid.

What is clindamycin?

Only available by prescription, Clindamycin is the topical antibiotic of choice by dermatologists in the UK and across the US. It fights the bacteria that drive the process of acne as well as helps fight the swelling and redness.

In more detail, antibiotics kill bacteria and clindamycin helps kill the bacteria Cutibacterium acnes (C. Acnes) previously known as propionibacterium acnes. C.Acnes plays an important role in acne resulting in inflammation and the formation of pus. This bacteria is key to the development of pus spots forming from white and blackheads (blocked pores). 

Only available by prescription, Clindamycin is the topical antibiotic of choice by dermatologists in the UK and across the US.

What does clindamycin do?

Not only does clindamycin kill the bacteria that encourage the formation of pus in spots, but it also helps to reduce inflammation in the skin and hence reduce the redness and swelling caused by acne.  

Clindamycin and azelaic acid

To reduce the possibility of antibacterial resistance, clindamycin is best combined with other ingredients like azelaic acid. If your skin goals include clearing your spots or managing acne (and preventing its reoccurrence) then your Daily Doser may include both clindamycin and azelaic acid in combination. Together, they’re a great skin-clearing duo.

To reduce the possibility of antibacterial resistance, clindamycin is best combined with other ingredients like azelaic acid.

Combining active ingredients 

Clindamycin and azelaic acid aren’t the only actives that work together to boost the effects of your skincare, whether you want to improve breakouts and acne-prone skin, target hyperpigmentation or just get your glow on.

Head of Medical at Skin + Me, Dr Jason Thomson explains, “We often combine ingredients when treating dermatological conditions such as acne, a complex condition that may have multiple underlying causes. By combining ingredients we can target the condition in multiple, complementary ways. For example combination acne treatments will often use an ingredient to target clogged pores (usually a retinoid such as tretinoin or adapalene) and another ingredient to target acne-promoting bacteria (usually clindamycin or benzoyl peroxide). Having a multi-pronged approach to treating skin conditions has been shown to lead to better results.”

Having a multi-pronged approach to treating skin conditions has been shown to lead to better results.”

Clindamycin side effects

Clindamycin is usually very well tolerated, but like all active ingredients can occasionally cause some irritation – which can result in burning, itching, dryness or redness. 

Dr Jason advises, “In terms of improving tolerability, ingredients that can have potential irritating side effects are often combined with ingredients that can boost moisture and protect the skin barrier such as niacinamide.”

If you think you’re having a reaction to your skincare, then you can contact hello@skinandme.com and check directly with your Prescriber. 

Medical facts checked by Head of Medical, Dr Jason Thomson 

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