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Dr. Alpana Mohta Ranka, MD, DNB, IFAAD, is a dual-board-certified dermatologist with over 90 research publications in peer-reviewed scientific journals.

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Clindamycin and Nicotinamide Gel: Learn all about it

Updated: Nov 10, 2023

After reading this article, you'll learn what the gel is, how it is to be used, and what you need to be careful about.


What is Clindamycin and Nicotinamide Gel?


Clindamycin and Nicotinamide Gel is a topical (this means something that is applied on the skin's surface) medication that is used to treat acne. It is a combination of two active ingredients:

  1. Clindamycin: It is an antibiotic that helps to kill the bacteria that cause acne. It inhibits the growth of bacteria and reduces inflammation.

  2. Nicotinamide (also popularly known as 'niacinamide'): It is a form of vitamin B3 that helps to reduce inflammation and redness associated with acne.

But it's not just about the individual ingredients – the combination of these two agents really sets this gel apart. Together, these two ingredients work well to reduce acne-causing bacteria on the skin, reduce redness, and inflammation, while preventing new acne from forming - making it a god-sent for patients with inflammatory acne.


How should Clindamycin and Nicotinamide Gel be Used?


It is supposed to be directly applied to the skin. Following are some steps you can take while using it:

  • Wash the affected area and dry it.

  • Apply the gel over the entire area rather than just on the pimples/acne.

  • Wash your hands after applying it.

  • If the gel gets into your eyes or mouth, rinse it with water immediately.

  • Apply it twice a day or as directed by your dermatologist.

Please note that it may take around two weeks to see good results.


Does Clindamycin and Nicotinamide Gel Remove Dark Spots?


Clindamycin is an antibiotic, and therefore it has no role in removing dark spots or hyperpigmentation. However, nicotinamide does help in removing dark spots since it helps in preventing the transfer of pigment-containing granules called melanosomes from melanocytes to the surrounding skin cells called keratinocytes. So, while the gel might help in reducing dark spots, I would advise you to use a different nicotinamide-based product. Please don't use an antibiotic on your skin when you don't need it.


Use the Cetaphil Brightening Day and Night Protection Cream instead. Apart from niacinamide*, it also contains other ingredients that will effectively lighten the dark spots.


*Fun fact: Nicotinamide has another name that you might have heard of, Niacinamide.


If you want to read more on this topic, you can read the article: How to Remove Dark Spots Caused by Pimples


What are its Side Effects and Contra-Indications?


Some common side effects are redness, irritation, burning, or peeling of the skin.

Some patients (very rarely) might experience diarrhea, nausea (vomiting), and headaches.


Following are some of its contraindications:

  • Hypersensitivity or allergy to any of the active ingredients or any other component of the medication

  • History of colitis or other intestinal disorders

  • History of antibiotic-associated diarrhea or pseudomembranous colitis

  • Use of other medications that may interact with clindamycin, such as erythromycin, tetracyclines, or chloramphenicol

  • Known drug resistance to clindamycin

Needless to say, if you experience any allergic reaction like swelling of the skin or difficulty breathing, seek guidance from a doctor immediately.


For How Long Can You Use Clindamycin and Nicotinamide Gel?

Antibiotics such as clindamycin should not be used longer than necessary since overuse leads to antibiotic resistance. As a rule of thumb, you shouldn't use clindamycin and nicotinamide combination for more than three months. Additionally, while using the combination gel, ensure you apply it regularly or as directed by your dermatologist. Its interrupted usage can also promote the growth of drug-resistant bacteria and other harmful organisms, so using these medications as directed and only when necessary is essential.


If you're struggling with breakouts or painful pus-filled acne, talk to your dermatologist to see if this medication could suit you.

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