Seven most effective antibiotics for skin infection: A detailed guide

antibiotics for skin infections
Medically reviewed by Dr. Mehvish Khan

Overview

Skin infections can be treated with antibiotics and topical treatments. It is important to understand how to use them effectively for various skin conditions and obtain practical tips for the best results. Numerous antibiotics are available, ranging from oral antibiotics like Flucloxacillin and Azithromycin to topical solutions for skin infections like Fucidin Cream and Clindamycin with Benzoyl Peroxide. This blog covers everything you need about treating skin conditions, from mild impetigo to severe bacterial dermatitis.

We help you navigate this complex landscape by providing valuable information about the most effective antibiotic tablets, topical antibacterial creams, and the best duration and combination of treatments for skin infections. With the expert knowledge and comprehensive understanding provided by this guide, you can confidently make decisions. You can use this information to figure out if you need to visit a doctor or not.

What are the best antibiotic tablets for skin infections?

Different antibiotic tablets may be more effective against skin infections depending on the kind and degree of the infection. 

For example, among the antibiotics available, a study discovered that Razicin 500 is effective against various bacteria. Historically, penicillin derivatives, first- or second-generation cephalosporins, or macrolides effectively treat bacterial skin and soft tissue infections (SSTIs).

Doctors may recommend oral antibiotics like tetracyclines or macrolides in cases of moderate to severe acne caused by bacteria.

Topical antibacterial creams

Topical antibacterial creams help manage skin infections effectively. These creams provide targeted relief by eliminating surface-level bacterial infections. These topical creams have active ingredients that fight off harmful bacteria and speed up the healing process of skin infections. They are applied directly to the affected area.

All kinds of skin problems, from small scrapes and cuts to more serious conditions like bacterial dermatitis, can be effectively treated with these creams. Following are some topical antibacterial creams:

Fucidin Cream

Fucidin cream is useful for treating bacterial skin infections such as impetigo and infected dermatitis. Fusidic acid is a key component of Fucidin Cream. Fucidin comes in various formulations, each with its own method of administration.

Dermatological infections caused by specific bacteria, such as Streptococcus and Corynebacterium minutissimum, can be effectively treated with Fucidin cream containing 20 mg/g of fusidic acid.

Your general health and the severity of the infection will determine the recommended duration of use for Fucidin Cream. Fucidin Cream is safe for people of all ages, including those with compromised immune systems; however, the dosage advised by your doctor will vary according to your individual needs. 

Even though it is still possible to use Fucidin Cream while pregnant, it’s important to let your doctor determine which antibiotics are safest for your infection. If your redness or itching persists or worsens suddenly, consult a medical professional.

If you have a skin infection requiring a topical antibiotic, you can talk to our online doctor.

Clindamycin with Benzoyl Peroxide

A topical acne treatment that combines clindamycin and benzoyl peroxide to kill acne-causing bacteria and keep pores clean is called Clindamycin with Benzoyl Peroxide. The skin gel is available in different dosages and concentrations.

A topical acne treatment called Clindamycin with Benzoyl Peroxide combines clindamycin’s anti-bacterial properties with benzoyl peroxide to clear out pores and eradicate acne-causing bacteria. The concentration of clindamycin phosphate is 10 mg/g, and the concentration of anhydrous benzoyl peroxide is 50 mg/g. Rub the gel on the skin twice daily, in the morning and evening. Speak with a doctor or nurse if you require specific health advice. Just follow the directions.

Redness, itching, or dryness of the skin, and side effects such as skin irritation are possible. It is extremely important to follow specific instructions and seek advice from a healthcare professional for personalized usage and dosage guidance, as this medication requires a prescription.

Erythromycin with Benzoyl Peroxide

It is another combination of topical antibiotics used to treat acne. Erythromycin inhibits bacterial growth, whereas Benzoyl Peroxide reduces inflammation and unclogs pores.

Erythromycin with Benzoyl Peroxide is a topical treatment for moderate acne, combining erythromycin and Benzoyl Peroxide to target acne-causing bacteria. The dosage strength is 2% erythromycin and 5% Benzoyl Peroxide.

Apply the gel to the affected skin area twice daily, morning and evening. Following the instructions is crucial, and consulting with a healthcare professional ensures the right usage and dosage tailored to your medical condition.

Hydrogen Peroxide Cream

It is a topical antiseptic that prevents and treats skin infections. It is available in a 1% concentration. The active disinfectant ingredient in hydrogen peroxide cream, like the brand Crystacide cream, is hydrogen peroxide. Especially for infected burns and wounds, it disinfects and cleanses the skin. The cream should be applied topically to the skin in question no more than three to four times daily or as needed.

There may be a slight drying out of the skin after application, but it is easily removed with water. You can not use this cream with other skin preparations that oxidize skin microbes, like iodine or potassium permanganate.

The cream should not be applied to the eyes; however, if it gets there, it should be promptly rinsed out with plenty of cold water. Some people may experience skin irritation and fabric bleaching from using the cream. After 28 days of opening the tube, dispose of the cream. Additionally, it may be prescribed for treating infected impetigo and atopic eczema, but better alternatives are now available on the market as this formulation can cause skin irritation.

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Oral antibiotics for skin infection

Oral antibiotics are important in treating skin infections, and they help eliminate bacteria from within the body. Prescribed by healthcare professionals, these antibiotics come in pill or capsule form and are absorbed into the bloodstream, reaching the affected areas through circulation. Whether combating acne, cellulitis, or other skin infections, oral antibiotics work to eradicate bacteria and control the infection’s spread.

The specific type, dosage, and duration of oral antibiotics depend on the nature and severity of the skin condition. It is essential to adhere to the prescribed regimen to ensure effective treatment and prevent the development of antibiotic resistance. Checking in with doctors regularly allows them to track your progress and adjust as needed. Some examples of oral antibiotics for skin infections include:

Flucloxacillin for skin infection

Flucloxacillin, an oral antibiotic, treats bacterial skin infections caused by Staphylococcus aureus. It comes in different forms, such as 250mg and 500mg capsules and a 250mg/5ml oral solution. The dosage and how long you take it depend on your specific condition and how severe the infection is. 

Taking it without food 30 to 60 minutes before a meal and again at least 2 hours afterward, four times daily, is recommended. An appropriate measuring device, such as a syringe or spoon, may be included with the medication. Even if you begin to feel better sooner, it is important to complete the entire course of treatment to eradicate the infection and prevent antibiotic resistance.

Side effects may include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and skin rash. Consult your healthcare professional for personalized advice on how to use and the right dosage based on your health condition.

Azithromycin for skin infection

Azithromycin, an oral antibiotic, helps treat bacterial skin infections. It is known by names like Zithromax, Azithrocin, and Azithromycin Dihydrate. If you’re prescribed this, the dosage and how long you take it depend on your specific health and how bad the infection is. Usually, it’s once daily, with or without food, for 1 to 5 days, depending on the infection type. 

Some side effects, like diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, or a skin rash, might happen. If you need help with how to use it or the right amount, talk to your healthcare professional, and they will guide you based on your health condition.

Clindamycin for skin infection

Clindamycin is an antibiotic that treats bacterial infections, including skin issues. It comes in different forms like capsules, gels, solutions, lotions, and foams. For skin problems, they often use clindamycin in a gel or solution. The Clindamycin + Benzoyl Peroxide Gel has a 10mg/g strength + 50mg/g strength. Usually, you apply the gel to the affected area once or twice a day, following your healthcare professional’s guidance.

Sticking to the provided instructions and checking with your healthcare provider for the right way to use it based on your health is important. Be careful near your eyes if you are using it on your skin. If it accidentally gets there, wash it off with water. People with a history of antibiotic-related colitis and those with sensitive skin should use it carefully, as it might make the skin drier.

These oral antibiotics are prescribed in specific dosages and may have associated side effects, which should be discussed with a healthcare professional.

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How do antibiotics work to treat skin infections?

Antibiotics combat skin infections by eliminating or inhibiting the proliferation of the bacteria responsible for the infection. The duration of antibiotic therapy for skin infections is contingent upon the specific type and severity of the infection.

What is the duration of Antibiotic treatment?

Your doctor might prescribe antibiotic tablets for a week for a small area of mild cellulitis. However, if the infection is more severe, it might need a longer treatment, or in some cases, you might need a hospital stay. Taking the antibiotics for the entire duration your doctor recommends is crucial. This ensures that the infection is completely wiped out and helps prevent the development of antibiotic resistance.

Can we combine antibiotics for the skin with other treatments?

Antibiotics for skin infections can be combined with other treatments, such as topical creams or ointments, to achieve better results. After antibiotic treatment for skin infections, patients can expect to see a reduction in symptoms such as redness, swelling, and pain. However, it is important to continue practicing good hygiene and follow up with a healthcare professional if symptoms persist or worsen.

What to expect after antibiotic treatment for skin infection?

After taking the antibiotics for your skin infection, you should notice less redness, swelling, and pain. Keep up with good hygiene habits, and if things don’t get better or get worse, check back with your doctor. They can guide you on what to do next.

Are there any alternative treatments for skin infections?

Try natural options like tea tree oil, honey, or aloe vera for your skin infection. Remember, their effectiveness can differ, so it’s important to chat with your healthcare provider before giving them a go.

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When should I see a doctor?

If you notice signs of a skin infection like redness, swelling, tenderness, or pus-filled blisters, it is a good idea to consult with a doctor. If you have ever had skin infections or have a compromised immune system, this requires a visit to a doctor.

Other FAQs about antibiotics for skin infection

What types of skin infections are typically treated with antibiotics?

Doctors often use antibiotics to treat skin infections caused by bacteria. These infections, like cellulitis, impetigo, and infected dermatitis, can get better with the help of these medicines.

Are antibiotics the only treatment for skin infections?

No, you do not always need antibiotics for every skin infection; some can heal independently. There are treatments other than oral antibiotics, like creams or ointments, which might be used along with antibiotics for better results. Always follow your doctor’s instructions for the best course of treatment.

Can I stop taking antibiotics for a skin infection if my symptoms improve before completing the course?

Ensure you finish all the antibiotics your doctor gives you, even if you start feeling better. This helps ensure the infection is completely gone and prevents the bacteria from becoming antibiotic-resistant. If you stop early, it might make the bacteria stronger and harder to treat later on.

How long does it take for antibiotics to show results in treating skin infections?

The duration of taking antibiotics for a skin infection depends on your infection and its severity. Some infections, especially if caught early or are less severe, might only need a short course of antibiotics. On the other hand, more severe infections could require a longer duration of antibiotic treatment to ensure that all the harmful bacteria are eliminated. 

Can I use over-the-counter antibiotic creams for skin infections instead of prescribed oral antibiotics?

It is important to know that over-the-counter antibiotic creams are not the best choice for treating skin infections. Instead, use the prescription antibiotics prescribed by your doctor. These creams may not be strong enough to tackle the infection properly, so relying on what your healthcare provider recommends is the safest and most effective way to get better.

Can antibiotics for skin infections be used during pregnancy?

Yes, if you are pregnant and need antibiotics for a skin infection, your doctor will decide which ones are safe for you and the baby. They will pick the right antibiotics based on what kind of infection you have. Talk to your healthcare provider about it, and they will guide you on what is best for you and your baby during this time.

Can antibiotics be used for skin infections in children and older adults?

Yes, antibiotics to treat skin infections are suitable for both children and older adults. However, the dosage of medicine and how long the treatment lasts may differ depending on the person’s specific health condition. Your healthcare provider will tailor the dosage and duration to ensure the most effective and safe treatment for each individual.

Your Doctors Online uses high-quality and trustworthy sources to ensure content accuracy and reliability. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions and medical associations to provide up-to-date and evidence-based information to the users.

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  • Golan Y. Current Treatment Options for Acute Skin and Skin-structure Infections. Clin Infect Dis. 2019 Apr 8;68(Suppl 3):S206-S212. doi: 10.1093/cid/ciz004. PMID: 30957166; PMCID: PMC6451992.
  • Tirupathi R, Areti S, Salim SA, Palabindala V, Jonnalagadda N. Acute bacterial skin and soft tissue infections: new drugs in ID armamentarium. J Community Hosp Intern Med Perspect. 2019 Sep 5;9(4):310-313. doi: 10.1080/20009666.2019.1651482. PMID: 31528278; PMCID: PMC6735357.
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