Benzoyl Peroxide and Clindamycin (Topical)

As a topical antibiotic treatment, benzoyl peroxide and clindamycin clears up skin acne by keeping the skin pores free of bacteria.


Benzoyl peroxide and clindamycin belong to a class of medications called topical antibiotics. Benzoyl peroxide is one of the most widely used topical agents for acne. Each ingredient contributes to stopping the growth of acne bacteria.

Benzoyl peroxide is antibacterial with anti-inflammatory attributes, inhibiting the formation of skin acne. Clindamycin is an antibiotic that stops the growth of acne bacteria, reducing the swelling associated with blemishes.

The combination has proven effective in clearing up facial blemishes. Do not apply it to open wounds or wind or sun damaged skin. There are precautions when using this treatment – the ingredient compounds can increase the skin's sensitivity to sun, sunlamps and tanning beds.

The peroxide element acts as bleach, discoloring hair and clothing - it can also trigger an allergic reaction of the skin. Be sure to wash your hands after coming in contact with this medicine. If you have any known skin allergies, talk with your doctor before starting treatment.

Condition(s) Treated

  • Acne

Type of medicine

  • Anti-biotic and Anti-inflammatory, Topical Application Route

Side Effects

At some time, we all need the help of antibiotics to prevent or treat a health condition, in some instances, the combination of medications can cause minor to serious side effects. It may appear as if the condition is getting worse, but the reaction may be connected to an existing health condition or intolerance to chemical substances in medicine.

Benzoyl peroxide and clindamycin have a high sensitivity for some individuals with allergies and sensitive skin. Before you start this treatment, you need to talk with your doctor – do not use other skin medicines or skin products at the same time. It may cause swelling, rash or excessive drying.

Common side effects that appear when using this form of skin treatment include:

  • Dry skin
  • Itching
  • Peeling skin
  • Rash
  • Red skin
  • Swelling
  • Sun sensitivity

These are more uncommon with individuals who are allergic to certain drug compounds. They can be serious depending on your sensitivity and the quantity of ingredients in the medicine. If any of these effects occur, contact your doctor.

  • Severe diarrhea
  • Blood or mucus in the stool
  • Severe stomach pain or cramps
  • Changes in your skin or nails - signs of an infection or fungus

Less common – using an excessive amount of this topical treatment can set off reactions.

  • Burning or itching sensation
  • Peeling of the skin

Because this medicine is topical, your body can absorb enough clindamycin to cause serious health effects. If you have any of these existing conditions, you may not be able to use this medicine. Talk with your doctor.

  • Inflammation of your intestines
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Severe diarrhea caused by antibiotic medicine

Nursing Moms

The chemical ingredients in this medicine may cause a side effect to both mother and child. It's not known whether or not significant amounts of the chemical ingredients are passed on to the baby. In most cases, your doctor will not prescribe this medication for you.


It is important to follow the product's instructions or your doctor's directions for using this treatment. Do not use more than directed as this will only cause skin irritation. The dosage is based on your health and the severity of the condition. Using more than the prescribed amount will not speed up the healing process; in fact, it may worsen the situation.

The dosage will vary from person to person. If you have questions, ask your doctor or the pharmacist about this medication. When you are taking other medicines with similar chemical elements – the doctor will adjust the dose to prevent unwanted side effects. DO NOT change the dose unless your doctor approves.

The length of time your doctor prescribes may vary – it all depends on your health, your skin condition and your response to the medicine.

  • Adults – apply the medicine to clean skin twice a day – once in the morning and once in the evening.
  • Children under the age of 12 – your doctor will prescribe the dosage.
  • Applying the medicine at the same time of day and evening will give you better results.

Safety precautions always include the proper use of this medication:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water before and after using this medicine.
  • Wash the affected skin area with warm water and a mild non-medicated soap.
  • Rinse well and PAT dry gently – DO NOT irritate the area.
  • Apply the prescribed amount to the affected skin area.
  • Wait one hour after applying the medicine before using any non-medicated make-up or skin products.

If either of these circumstances happens – rinse with water and contact your doctor or pharmacist for instructions.

  • Avoid getting this medication in your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Do not use this on open sores, cuts or bleeding blemishes.

Missed Dose

If you miss a dose, apply it as soon as possible – try to get back on schedule. If it's time for another application – follow the prescription instructions. DO NOT double the dose – it will only cause a problem instead of healing the skin's condition.


Benzoyl peroxide and clindamycin are both chemical ingredients, blended together with the intent to heal skin conditions like acne and prevent infectious eruptions. As an antibacterial and an antibiotic, these benefits may be amplified when other medications are also being taken. The chance of harmful health interactions could trigger serious allergy effects or interrupt the function of other medicines.

Certain foods, alcohol, tobacco, supplements and herbal remedies may react with this medicine. Talk with your doctor if your daily routines include any of these items. Existing medical problems may also affect how your body responses to this medicine.

Make sure your doctor knows about your medical history and all of the medications you are taking now. This medication should not be used for any disorder other than the condition prescribed.

These health disorders have been associated with adverse responses when using this treatment. Precautions are always recommended when taking new medicines.

  • Stomach or bowel problems – if you have a history with these conditions, you should not use this medicine.
  • Allergies – if you develop allergic reactions like swelling or breathing problems – contact your doctor immediately.

Drug Interactions

It is difficult to determine the exact level of severity of the response or interaction because unknown factors exist in all health situations. Added to this quest is an individual's composition, which can change the response or alter how a medication works.

To help you understand – there are three levels of classifications:

  • Major - Avoid combinations; the risk of the interaction outweighs the benefit.
  • Moderate – Precautions are necessary; use it only under special circumstances.
  • Minor – Assess the risks and consider an alternative drug.

Always talk with your doctor when taking steps to avoid the risks of interactions. Here's a list of known drugs that interact with benzoyl peroxide and clindamycin, topical.

  • Absorica
  • Accutane
  • Aczone
  • Altinac
  • Amnesteem
  • Anectine
  • Anectine Flo-Pack
  • Arduan
  • Atracurium
  • Atralin
  • Avita
  • Cisatracurium
  • Claravis
  • Dapsone
  • Doxacurium
  • Fluocinolone
  • Isotretinoin
  • Mequinol
  • Metocurine
  • Metubine Iodide
  • Mivacron
  • Mivacurium
  • Myorisan
  • Nimbex
  • Norcuron
  • Nuromax
  • Obagi
  • Pancuronium
  • Pavulon
  • Pipecuronium
  • Quelicin
  • Rapacuronium
  • Raplon
  • Refissa
  • Renova
  • Retin A Micro
  • Retin-A
  • Retisol-A
  • Rocuronium
  • Solage
  • Sotret
  • Stieva-A
  • Stieva-A Forte
  • Succinylcholine
  • Tracrium
  • Tretin-X
  • Tretinoin
  • Tri-Luma
  • Tubocurarine
  • Vecuronium
  • Veltin
  • Vitinoin
  • Zemuron
  • Zenatane


Warnings provide information about medical treatments, which may have adverse effects. Harmful reactions occur when two or more medications or therapeutic remedies are used at the same time.

When using benzoyl peroxide and clindamycin, topical – individuals should avoid:

  • Using other topical products, such as medicated cleansers
  • Retinoids or vitamin A supplements in doses larger than 10,000 units a day
  • Oral or injectable antibiotics
  • Steroids, anti-inflammatory agents or immunosuppressive drugs
  • Antihistamines within a 24 hour time span
  • Medical treatments involving x-ray therapy
  • Tanning booths, excessive exposure to the sun
  • Hormonal contraceptives

Do not apply moisturizers, make-up, creams, lotions or powders to the treatment area. If you experience unusual or unexpected effects, contact your doctor. Before starting treatment, make sure your doctor knows what you are using on your skin. There may be alternative methods to healing your acne condition with fewer side effects.

Breast Feeding

The quantity of chemical ingredients in this medicine range between one percent to five percent and clinical studies report traces of the clindamycin compound in breastmilk. It is recommended for the best health of the mother and child to avoid using this medicine prior to pregnancy and during breastfeeding stages.

Talk with your doctor for guidance before starting treatment with this medicine.

Benzoyl Peroxide Warnings

  • Benzoyl peroxide is known to promote tumors in a number of animal studies.
  • Doses of five and ten milligrams, twice a week induced skin tumors in laboratory animals.

Clindamycin Warnings

Clindamycin is associated with a serious health condition called colitis. As a topical antibiotic application, it's absorbed through the skin – although it is rare, the development of colitis has been reported when using this medication as a topical treatment for other health conditions. The studies indicate the toxins produced by clostridia as the primary cause of antibiotic – associated colitis.

If you currently suffer from any form of colitis – you need to notify your doctor before using any form or mixture of benzoyl peroxide and clindamycin.

  • Clindamycin also has neuromuscular blocking properties – causing paralysis of the affected skeletal muscles.
  • This medicine should not be used if you have a history of regional enteritis.


Benzoyl peroxide and clindamycin should be stored at room temperature – no higher than 77°F. Keep the medicine away from heat, direct light and moisture – as these conditions can change the effectiveness of the medicine.

  • The lifecycle of this medication is three months.
  • You should discard any unused portion after the prescribed duration.

Keep this and all medicines out of reach of children and pets. This medication may not have a child resistant cap – it is important to it place in a secured location.

When disposing of this medication do not flush it. Contact your doctor, pharmacist or a local healthcare facility – most have a take-back program and will gladly dispose of any unused portions.


To help clear up your acne completely, it is very important that you keep using this medicine for the full term of treatment, even if your symptoms begin to clear up after a short time. If you stop using this medicine too soon, your acne may return or get worse.

Last Reviewed:
December 24, 2017
Last Updated:
April 05, 2018
Content Source: