If over-the-counter medicines are not effective,
your doctor may prescribe a retinoid cream or gel. Retinoids, such as
tretinoin and adapalene, are usually applied to the skin once a day. Be
sure not to get them near your eyes, mouth and the area under your nose.
If you use a retinoid, you must avoid the sun or use a strong sunscreen because this medicine increases your risk of getting a sunburn. Women who are pregnant or may become pregnant should not use a retinoid called tazarotene because it can cause birth defects.
If your acne is severe, your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic to treat it. Antibiotics such as minocycline, doxycycline and tetracycline reduce bacteria and inflammation, and can be used in combination with other treatments for acne, such as benzoyl peroxide. Antibiotics can be taken by mouth or used on the skin as a lotion, cream or gel.