Acne Preparations (Topical)
Sign In

Patient Guide

 Acne Preparations (Topical)

 Acne Preparations (Topical)

About your medicine

Your doctor has prescribed one of the following medicines for you:

Antibiotics Other topical acne preparations​
  • Erythromycin
  • Clindamycin
  • Clindamycin with benzoyl peroxide
  • Benzoyl Peroxide
  • Resorcinol / Sulphur
  • Azelaic acid
  • Salicylic acid

What are topical acne preparations used for?

These are applied to the skin to treat acne. They work by exerting antibacterial action as well as by peeling off the top most layer of skin. They may also be used for other skin problems as determined by your doctor.

This medicine has been prescribed for your current skin condition only and should not be given to other people or be used for other problems.

How should you use topical acne preparations?

  • These are available as creams, gels and lotions.
  • First wash the skin with a mild soap then rinse and pat dry.
  • Apply enough medicine to cover the affected area, and rub it gently in a circular motion to ensure good absorption.
  • For liquids that come in a bottle with an applicator tip, dab the applicator directly onto the affected area or apply it on to your clean fingertips and then transfer it to the affected areas.
  • Do not use the medicine on raw skin, in or around the eyes or mouth, lips or inside of the nose, as it may irritate and cause excessive peeling of these sensitive areas. Spread the medicine away from these areas when applying. If you should accidentally get some into your eyes, flush thoroughly with tap water.

What should you do if you forget a dose?

  • Apply as soon as you remember. If it is nearly time for the next application, skip the missed application and resume your normal schedule. Do not apply more of it to make up for the missed dose or it could result in irritation.

What other effects may topical acne preparations cause?

Initially, you may experience some side effects which should disappear with treatment. Consult your doctor if any of the following persist or are severe:

  • A mild, temporary stinging or burning sensation.
  • Unusually dry, peeling skin.

Stop using the medicine immediately and consult your doctor if the following occurs:

  • Blistering
  • Burning
  • Crusting
  • Itch
  • Swelling

What precautions should you take?

  • If your acne does not improve or if it becomes worse, check with your doctor. However, sometimes it takes up to 8 to 12 weeks before full improvement is seen.
  • Avoid washing the acne-affected areas too often. This may increase the drying out effect of the topical acne preparation. Washing with a mild soap two to three times a day should be enough.
  • Do not apply benzoyl peroxide together at the same time as tretinoin as it will reduce the effectiveness of tretinoin treatment.
  • Benzoyl peroxide may bleach hair or coloured fabrics.
  • You may continue using cosmetics while using this medicine for acne. However, it is best to use ​cosmetics with non-oily formulas. Do not use cosmetics too heavily or too often. They may make your acne worse. Check with your doctor.

How do you store this medicine?

  • Store this medicine away from heat and direct sunlight.
  • Keep out of reach of children.
  • Follow the instructions on the label about the expiry date and on the need for refrigeration, if stated. Do not freeze. Discard any unused portion after the duration as stated on the label.

When in doubt, consult your doctor or pharmacist.
National Skin Centre (Singapore)
1 Mandalay Road, Singapore 308205
Tel: 63508454

Last updated on 29 Apr 2020

Last updated on 29 Apr 2020