The ones used most often to treat acne topically are clindamycin and erythromycin. Topical tetracycline is sometimes used too, but less often because it has the tendency to turn the skin yellow. Topical antibiotics are used to treat mild to moderately severe inflammatory acne. Usually, the first choice for treating acne is tetracycline — such as minocycline or doxycycline — or a macrolide.
Nonprescription Treatment for Acne. Benzoyl peroxide. Sulfur. Topical clindamycin and erythromycin are antibiotics that are also anti-inflammatory drugs and are effective against a number of bacteria. For severe cystic acne, isotretinoin is the most effective therapy.