The Basics

Type of Treatment: Rx MedicationAntibiotic (Oral)Penicillin Family

How it Works: Amoxicillin is an antibiotic. Antibiotics can improve acne symptoms by limiting the growth of bacteria that contribute to Acne Vulgaris.

When is this medication used? Amoxicillin is usually reserved for the treatment of mild to moderate acne symptoms (Acne Types: 2-4). Amoxicillin may also be used to treat non-typical acne (eg. Acne Fulminans).

Frequency of Amoxicillin Resistant P. acnes Bacteria: Rare. (What does this mean?)

Official Name:  Amoxicillin
Popular Brand Names: Amoxil, Hiconcil, Ospamox, Trimox and Wymox
Related Medications: Penicillin, Ampicillin, Augmentin, Piperacillin.

Amoxicillin and Acne Treatment

Amoxicillin (Amoxil) Capsules

Amoxicillin is an antibiotic that is occasionally used for the treatment of acne vulgaris.  The tetracycline family antibiotics (eg. Doxycycline and Minocycline) are much more commonly used to treat acne.   Many patients report significant improvements in their acne symptoms when taking amoxicillin (most of the time amoxicillin is prescribed for a different infection). Amoxicillin is generally well tolerated, although allergic reactions to this medication are possible.

Research studies on the antibiotic susceptibility of Propionibacterium acnes (the primary acne-causing bacteria) indicate that these bacteria are very sensitive to most types of Penicillin Family antibiotics, including amoxicillin.  However, there is minimal scientific research on the clinical use of amoxicillin as a treatment for Acne Vulgaris.   Some dermatologists use amoxicillin to treat acne patients that fail to respond to other treatments.

Summary: Amoxicillin  is highly toxic to P. acnes bacteria in the laboratory, but little scientific research has been done to test its efficacy in acne patients.  The fact that many patients and dermatologists have reported favorable results suggests that amoxicillin might be a good treatment option for some acne sufferers.

Important Note: The information provided on this site is intended for informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat any diseases. The Science of Acne strongly encourages you to consult a qualified medical professional before making any treatment decisions. For the complete disclaimer, click here.

Amoxicillin Patient Reviews

Most acne patients report positive results from amoxicillin treatment. For many patients amoxicilin significantly improves acne symptoms. However, many patients report that amoxicillin alone is not sufficient to completely resolve acne symptoms. Most dermatologists recommend using complementary medications (eg. topical retinoids, topical antibiotics, androgen inhibitors, light and laser therapy) in addition to oral antibiotics for the treatment of acne vulgaris.

Reviewers from The Science of Acne have given amoxicillin generally favorable reviews. For a complete breakdown of how this medication ranks click on the ranking “gauge” or click here.

Have you used Amoxicillin to treat Acne?: If you have used amoxicillin as a treatment for Acne Vulgaris, please share your experience.

Additional Patient Reviews of Amoxicillin: Amoxicillin Reviews @, Amoxicillin Reviews @ WebMD, Amoxicillin Reviews @, Amoxicillin Reviews @, Amoxicillin Reviews @, Amoxicillin Reviews @, Amoxicillin Reviews @

Cost and Availability of Amoxicillin

If possible, amoxicillin should be obtained through consultation of a qualified medical professional. Because amoxicillin is generally well-tolerated, many dermatologists and primary care providers may be willing to try amoxicillin as a treatment for acne symptoms. Amoxicillin is widely available in brand name and generic formulations. In generic formulations amoxicillin tends to be inexpensive, and in brand name formulations it tends to be moderately expensive.

Amoxicillin Side Effects

Allergic reactions to antibiotics may cause the formation of rashes and/or hives on the skin.

The most common side effects associated with amoxicillin treatment are gastro-intestinal upset, diarrhea, nausea and/or vomiting.  Individuals with allergies to penicillin are likely to also be allergic to amoxicillin.   Allergic reactions (hypersensitivity reactions) to penicillin family antibiotics occur in up to 10% of the population and can range from mild reactions to potentially life threatening anaphylactic shock.   Hypersensitivity reactions are more likely in patients with a history of other allergies and/or hay fever.

Allergic reactions to penicillin family antibiotics commonly result in skin-related symptoms, such as rash, hives and itching.   In some cases, severe allergic reactions can lead to anaphylaxis, which can cause difficulty breathing, abdominal pain, dizziness, fever and/or abnormal heart rhythm.   Allergic reactions are potentially serious complications that may require immediate medical care.  For in-depth information about potential side effects of amoxicillin treatment, refer to the physician’s insert or consult a medical professional.  For more information about contraindications in general, refer to Avoiding Negative Drug Interactions.

Amoxicillin Background Information

Amoxicillin Molecule

Amoxicillin is an antibacterial medication in the penicillin family of antibiotics and is one of the most commonly prescribed drugs.  Several studies have indicated that the acne-causing bacteria, Propionibacterium acnes,  is highly susceptible to penicllin family antibiotics, including amoxicillin.

Amoxicillin kills susceptible bacteria by destroying the cell walls that surround individual bacteria cells.  Amoxicillin is active against a wide range of bacteria, including the usual causative agent of acne vulgaris, Propionibacterium acnes.  Amoxicillin is most commonly used to treat bacterial infections of the respiratory tract, ear and digestive tract.

Additional Names for this Medication: Abiolex, Agram, Alfamox, Alfoxil, Almacin, Alphamox, Amimox, Amitron, Amobay, Amoclen, Amoclox, Amodex, Amoflux, Amohexal, Amoksicilin, Amocillin, Amolin, Amopenixin, Amorion, Amosin, Amosol, Amotaks, Amoxapen, Amoxaren, Amoxi, Amoxibeta, Amoxicilina, Amoxicillina, Amoxicilline, Amoxicillinum, Amoxycillin, Amoxidin, AmoxiHefa, Amoxillin, Amoxistad, Amoxydar, Amoxypen, Baymox, Biomox, Bristamox, Cilamox, Cillimox, Cipamox, Clamoxyl, Clonamox, Dispermox, Dunox, Duzimicin, E.Mox, Epicocillin, Fisamox, Glamin, Gramidil, Grunamox, Ibiamox, Imacillin, Infectomox, Larotid, Lupidox, Moxadent, Moxan, Moxilen, Mymox, Novamox, Novoxil, Oraminax, Penamox, Pinamox, Polymox, Princimox, Promoxil, Ranoxil, Remoxil, Saifoxyl, Sawacillin, Seokicillin, Sinacilin, Stevencillin, Triodanin. Ultramox and Velamox.

Related Articles from The Science of Acne

Comprehensive Amoxicillin Reviews
Overview: Avoiding Negative Drug Interactions
A Guide to Buying Prescription Medications on the Internet
Overview: Prescription Medications Used in Acne Treatment
In Depth: Antibiotic Susceptibility of Propionibacterium acnes

References and Sources


PDR Staff Writers. 2011. 2011 Physicians’ Desk Reference
Gallagher. 2011. Antibiotics Simplified, Second Edition
Habif. 2009. Clinical Dermatology
Goodheart. 2006. Acne For Dummies
Bartlett. 2012. Johns Hopkins Antibiotics Guide 2012

Online Resources

Amoxicillin @ PubMed Health – The National Institute of Health (US) offers basic comprehensive information about most common medications.
Amoxicillin @ Wikipedia – Wikipedia is an excellent resource for learning about how medications work.
Amoxicillin Physician’s Insert – The physician’s insert for a medication contains nearly all of the relevant information, including indications, dosage information and background data.

Scientific Research Articles

Longshore, et al. 2003. Acne vulgaris: One treatment does not fit all.
Keri, et al. 2009. An update on the management of acne vulgaris.
Strauss, et al. 2007. Guidelines of care for acne vulgaris management.
Webster, et al. 1982. Suppression of Polymorphonuclear Leukocyte Chemotactic Factor Production in Propionibacterium acnes by Subminimal Inhibitory Concentrations of Tetracycline, Ampicillin, Minocycline, and Erythromycin.
Ingram, et al. 2010. Management of acne vulgaris: an evidence-based update.

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