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What are the Most Common Uses for Clindamycin Lotion?

Nicole Madison
Updated May 17, 2024
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Clindamycin lotion is primarily used to treat severe acne and a skin condition referred to as rosacea. Clindamycin is an antibiotic, and the lotion is just one of its forms. When clindamycin lotion is applied to a patient’s skin, it stops bacteria feeding on proteins as they normally would. This slows their growth and prevents them from multiplying.

One of the main uses of clindamycin lotion is for treating severe cases of acne. For this use, the lotion can be applied as the patient's sole acne treatment, or doctors may prescribe it in conjunction with another topical acne treatment or an oral medication. The patient spreads this medication on the affected skin surface, and it fights the bacteria that are contributing to the acne. Unfortunately, clindamycin cannot cure a person’s acne entirely. It can help to improve it, however.

Clindamycin lotion works by interfering with the normal function of bacteria. In order to grow, multiply, and continue contributing to a person’s acne problem, bacteria must feed on proteins. Clindamycin lotion stops bacteria from being able to effectively feed on proteins, which in turn, prevents bacterial growth and leads to improvement of the patient’s acne. Many people start to see improvement in their acne within about six weeks of using this topical medication. In order to maintain a satisfactory level of improvement, however, an acne patient may have to use this medication for an extended period of time.

Doctors may also prescribe clindamycin lotion as a treatment for rosacea. This condition is marked by reddened, inflamed skin as well as small bumps that are filled with pus. As with acne, clindamycin cannot cure rosacea; it can only help to minimize its symptoms. A patient uses this topical medication by cleaning and drying the affected area before applying a thin layer of clindamycin lotion to the skin. An individual may start to see results from clindamycin treatment within about three months, but he will usually have to continue using it for the long term if he hopes to maintain these results.

When clindamycin lotion is prescribed for its primary uses, most people tolerate it well. Some people do, however, experience side effects when they use this medication topically. Among the possible side effects a person might experience with clindamycin use are redness, dryness, and peeling skin. In some cases, a person may develop itching or burning as well.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Nicole Madison
By Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a WiseGeek writer, where she focuses on topics like homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. Her passion for knowledge is evident in the well-researched and informative articles she authors. As a mother of four, Nicole balances work with quality family time activities such as reading, camping, and beach trips.
Discussion Comments
By stoneMason — On Feb 25, 2013

Can I use clindamycin for papules?

And is there a difference between clindamycin gel, lotion and solution?

By SteamLouis — On Feb 25, 2013

@ddjohn-- I think you should use it.

My main problem is rosacea but I have some acne as well. My skin has improved a lot since I started using clindamycin. My acne is completely gone and the rosacea is doing better.

I've tried other antibiotic and anti-inflammatory topical medications before and none of them worked for me. They were always too harsh and made things worse by irritating my skin. Clindamycin topical lotion is the only one that my sensitive skin doesn't react badly to.

By ddljohn — On Feb 24, 2013

My doctor prescribed clindamycin phosphate lotion for my acne last week. I filled the prescription but I still haven't started using it.

I don't know if topical or oral antibiotics for acne is a good idea. Won't the bacteria adapt to the medication and mutate, making it ineffective eventually?

I want my skin to improve, but not temporarily like that. Who's using clindamycin right now? Is it working for you?

I'll only start using it when I'm sure that it's going to help and not backfire later.

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a WiseGeek writer, where she focuses on topics like...
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