Topical Antibiotic
Compare To Other Treatments

The following side effects are expected to occur in the first few weeks of treatment and resolve with continued use of clindamycin. Contact your doctor if these symptoms are severe and/or do not go away:

How Common (based on clinical studies)

Redness and/or warmth in the areaUp to 28% of all users
Dryness of skinUp to 23% of all users
Increased skin oilinessUp to 15% of all users
Burning, stinging, or tingling sensationUp to 11% of all users
Skin peeling or scalingUp to 11% of all users
ItchingUp to 11% of all users
Local reaction at application siteUp to 7.7% of all users 
Crusting of skinUp to 7.5% of all users
Irritation of the skin with peelingUp to 5.1% of all users
Pain at application siteUp to 0.4% of all users
Erosion of skin (loss of epidermal layer)Up to 0.2% of all users
Swelling in the areaUp to 0.2% of all users
Increase in new pimplesUnknown

Clindamycin may cause some side effects that are serious. If you experience any of the following, contact you doctor immediately or seek emergency medical treatment:

  • Abdominal cramps
  • Diarrhea or watery stools
  • Blood in stools

Clindamycin may also cause other side effects that are not mentioned here. Contact your doctor if you experience any other troublesome symptoms when using clindamycin.

  1. UpToDate. Clindamycin: drug information. Available from: Cited June 11, 2018.
  2. Cunliffe WJ, Holland KT, Bojar R, and Levy SF. A randomized, double-blind comparison of a clindamycin phosphate/benzoyl peroxide gel formulation and a matching clindamycin gel with respect to microbiologic activity and clinical efficacy in the topical treatment of acne vulgaris. Clin Ther. 24(7), 1117-33 (2002).
  3. Lookingbill DP, Chalker DK, Lindholm JS, Katz HI, Kempers SE, Huerter CJ, Swinehart JM, Schelling DJ, and Klauda HC. Treatment of acne with a combination clindamycin/benzoyl peroxide gel compared with clindamycin gel, benzoyl peroxide gel and vehicle gel: combined results of two double-blind investigations. J Am Acad Dermatol. 37(4), 590-5 (1997).
  4. Shalita AR, Myers JA, Krochmal L, Yaroshinsky A; Clindamycin Foam Study Group. The safety and efficacy of clindamycin phosphate foam 1% versus clindamycin phosphate topical gel 1% for the treatment of acne vulgaris. J Drugs Dermatol. 4(1), 48-56 (2005).
  5. Mokhtari F, Faghihi G, Basiri A, Farhadi S, Nilforoushzadeh M, and Behfar S. Comparison effect of azithromycin gel 2% with clindamycin gel 1% in patients with acne. Adv Biomed Res. 5:72 (2016).
  6. Khodaeiani E, Fouladi RF, Amirnia M, Saeidi M, and Karimi ER. Topical 4% nicotinamide vs. 1% clindamycin in moderate inflammatory acne vulgaris. Int J Dermatol. 52(8), 999-1004 (2013).
  7. Wolf JE Jr, Kaplan D, Kraus SJ, Loven KH, Rist T, Swinyer LJ, Baker MD, Liu YS, and Czernielewski J. Efficacy and tolerability of combined topical treatment of acne vulgaris with adapalene and clindamycin: a multicenter, randomized, investigator-blinded study. J Am Acad Dermatol. 49(3 Suppl), S211-7 (2003).
  8. Xu JH, Lu QJ, Huang JH, Hao F, Sun QN, Fang H, Gu J, Dong XQ, Zheng J, Luo D, Li FQ, Wang G, Gu H, Tian HQ, Yang HL, Xi LY, Li M, Zheng M, Wu Y, Tu YT, He YL, Zhao G, Sheng WX, Li J, and Hamedani AG. A multicentre, randomized, single-blind comparison of topical clindamycin 1%/benzoyl peroxide 5% once-daily gel versus clindamycin 1% twice-daily gel in the treatment of mild to moderate acne vulgaris in Chinese patients. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 30(7), 1176-82 (2016).
  9. Zouboulis CC, Derumeaux L, Decroix J, Maciejewska-Udziela B, Cambazard F, and Stuhlert A. A multicentre, single-blind, randomized comparison of a fixed clindamycin phosphate/tretinoin gel formulation (Velac) applied once daily and a clindamycin lotion formulation (Dalacin T) applied twice daily in the topical treatment of acne vulgaris. Br J Dermatol. 143(3), 498-505 (2000).
  10. DailyMed. Clindamycin. Available from: Cited 10 January 2019.