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Doxycycline + Clindamycin Topical + Tretinoin Log

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(Sorry this is really long lol)

HI!! I am a 17 year old girl, junior in high school. I've had acne to a certain degree since middle school, although it was not bad at all. I actually got rid of it completely for a full year because I started drinking so much water, but eventually I stopped that and it came back. For the past 3 years it has fluctuated, but has never been really mad. Right now my acne is moderate. I don't get anything large or cyst-like. It is mostly small pimples in groups, not really on any specific part of my face. A lot of the problem actually seems to be with scars.

The first time I went to a derm. was last April. I was put on clindamycin lotion and tretinoin cream, along with an otc benzoyl peroxide wash. I really lucked out because I never got an initial breakout that most people on tretinoin get. My face started improving almost immeadiately, I remember at my 6 week checkup he said that it looked significally better, which was unusual because most would experience worse acne before it got better. After that it kind of plateaued, it wasn't bad but I still had some small pimples. Then I, for some reason, stopped being consistent with the products. Eventually I just stopped using the tretinoin, only used the clindamycin every once in awhile. I'm SO mad at myself for doing this, because I can't even remember why I stopped (I've never been good at keeping up with things confused.gif )

So over the later part of last year, my acne slowly got worse until I decided to got to the derm. again at the end of January (this time with a different one). They put me on the same regimen as I did the previous year, since that seemed to work for me.

First month (Week 1-4)

Immeadiately (and I mean literally the next day) I broke out and the products made my skin dry out like crazy, and was generally irritated-looking. I tried to stick with it, but my face felt terrible and it stayed that way for about 2 weeks. I called the derm, she said to only use the tretinoin every other night. I stopped everything altogether for about 2 days, then started back again. My face improved as soon as I did that, thank god, and since then I've only been using the tretinoin every other night and being really careful not to use the BP if I think it will irritate my face. I haven't experienced any dryness/irritation since then.

Week 5/6

My acne is mostly under-control at the moment. The condition of my acne changes all the time, it will be bad one day and fine the next. I don't see an overall improvement, but I know I have to be patient.

I went back to the dermatologist and she decided to put me on an oral antibiotic as well- Doxycycline delayed release 150mg once a day. I took my first dose last night, on an empty stomach. I'm not sure if I had nausea from it because I went to bed right afterwards. I hope this will give me some improvement- even if it takes a few weeks.

So this is my regimen:


Benzoyl Peroxide wash

Clindamycin lotion

Cetaphil face lotion (if I need it, have not needed it recently)


Cetaphil face wash (dry/sensitive skin)

Tretinoin cream (0.05%)

Doxycycline pill 150mg

I also drink at least 8 cups of water every day and take a multivitamin.

I'm really hoping to at least have my acne under control by summer, and mostly cleared by early in the next school year biggrin.png

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I'm actually doing a similar regimen right now. I was prescribed Retin-A Micro (which is a retinoid) and Clindoxyl (which is clindamycin with benzoyl peroxide). I am not on any oral antibiotic but have been on Yaz birth control for a little over a month now.

Let me know how it is working out for you! I'm wondering if I myself should try an oral antibiotic or even spiro...

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Week 6 (7? I've lost track)

I thought that the antibiotics worked a bit because my skin was pretty clear at the first part of this week, then I broke out 2 nights ago. It was really weird because it was sudden, usually I can tell if I'm going to get something but I just suddenly had about 4 new spots. I'm not really sure when I should see results from the doxycycline. However, my derm. said that retinoids (I'm using tretinoin) usually start to make things improve around 3 months in. So if that's true for me, i'm half way there!

I've also been thinking about changing my diet to help. I already try to drink lots of water and stay away from unhealthy stuff, but I might try cutting out dairy. I don't think this will be that difficult because I already use coconut milk and I'm not a big fan of dairy products anyway. I've heard it can help to cut it from your diet, but I don't know if anyone can attest to this??

But back to the doxycycline, can anyone tell me about how long it takes for oral antibiotics to show some affect? I've heard everything from months to a few days... so I'm not sure what the truth is

Edited by windingwheel

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Week 9

Everything is basically the same. I'm trying to stay confident because I'm only past 2 months and may still be in the purging stage with the tretinoin. I really really hope that by the time I hit the 3 month mark I can see improvement. I still feel like my skin is worse than before I started everything...

  • There was about 2 weeks where I was clear other than about 4 new spots, and each went away in 1-2 days. But a few days ago I broke out again on my right cheek and the left side of my chin.
  • I have a LOT of hyperpigmentation/red marks. I don't know if the tretinoin is making them appear worse, or if they're just from my initial breakout.
  • My skin overall is red, it's noticeably a different shade than my neck.
  • Dryness is no longer an issue, but now it's oily/shiny-ness

I really don't know what I can do other than wait....

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Week 11

I went back to the derm. a few days ago, told her that nothing really has changed and my skin has been realllllly oily. She changed a lot of my prescriptions so I'm just gonna list them...

  • Sodium Sulfacetamide and Sulfur face wash (to replace BP wash because it was causing too much irritation)
  • Clindamycin pledgets (they're like little pads) instead of the lotion
  • Tretinoin cream 0.1% instead of 0.05%
  • Cefadroxil pills instead of the doxycycline (which really didn't do anything after 2 months on them)

So I used the sulfur wash this morning, no burning which is good. The clindamycin pads did burn, which is strange because I've never had a problem with the lotion form.

I hope the increased strength for the tretinoin will help with the red marks like she told me. I feel like they're just all over my cheeks/jawline, not so much on my forehead. As far as my ace goes, I haven't seen much improvement confused.gif Sometimes I feel like i'm STILL in the purging stage. But the truth is, if I didn't have all of the red marks, my acne wouldn't seem like such a big deal.

I update soon on how my skin's handling the changes

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I use clindamycin topical (liquid) and I love it. It worked really well for me in the past when I used it with benzoyl peroxide. I do think though that if you could use a smaller percent of BP, it would work really well with the clindamycin.

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Week 18

Good news! The changes to my prescriptions seemed to help a lot. I haven't had any large spots like I used to get in weeks, just some small ones every once in awhile. Aaaand i'm less oily. My main concern now is the red marks, although some of them seem to be fading. For example, my forehead is completely clear, no marks or anything. But i still have quite a lot on my cheeks, so hopefully the tretinoin will do its job and they will be gone by September when I start school again.

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