Lymecycline: Acne drug effectiveness & side-effects

acne antibiotics
By Ellie Taylor 18th May 2022 Category: Advice
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Medically Reviewed June 2023, by Daron Seukeran, Group Medical Director, for sk:n. Next review due June 2024.

How effective is lymecycline as a treatment for acne, and when is it the best solution? Here, sk:n explains the pros & cons of the drug and some alternatives to antibiotic treatment.

What is lymecycline?

Lymecycline is a type of oral antibiotic. It is most often prescribed for the treatment of acne.

How does lymecycline help acne?

Lymecycline helps alleviate the symptoms of acne by killing the bacteria which cause the infection and subsequent inflammation.

acne bacteria

Acne bacteria forming

When should you take antibiotics for acne?

Antibiotics for acne are usually prescribed in combination with topical treatments, or when topical treatments are not proving effective. A dermatologist will be able to determine whether your skin would benefit from oral antibiotics.

What are the side effects of lymecycline?

Common, mild side effects (around 1 in 100 people) of lymecycline include:

  • feeling sick
  • tummy pain
  • diarrhoea
  • headache

More serious side effects of lymecycline are rare. If you experience any of the following side effects, seek medical attention immediately:

  • yellow skin or eyes (this can be a sign of liver problems)
  • sensitivity to the sun

Is long-term use of antibiotics bad for me? 

Ultimately, although antibiotics can be helpful in treating acne, it’s usually a last resort and isn’t a long-term solution. Being on antibiotics for a long period of time isn’t always healthy and can lower the immune system, making you more susceptible to other infections.

Finding an effective skin regime to manage the symptoms and help prevent breakouts, is the most sustainable solution. If you are suffering with acne, sk:n have a range of Acne treatments to help.

What other types of antibiotic can be prescribed for acne?

Other antibiotics prescribed for the treatment of acne include minocycline and oxytetracycline.

Alternative treatments to antibiotics for acne

There are a number of professional skin treatments designed to help manage acne by reducing congestion, excess oil and inflammation, and by targeting acne-causing bacteria present in the skin. These include:

  • Salicylic acid skin peel: acts as an anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial agent, reducing inflammation and oil production and clearing clogged pores in the process. Read more about the effectiveness of salicylic acid in treating acne.
  • Pyruvic skin peel: a gentle, exfoliating peel designed to penetrate deep into the skin to cleanse and remove debris.
  • Isolaz: using a vacuum suction device, Isolaz extracts skin debris, bacteria and excess sebum from pores.
  • HydraFacial for acne: HydraFacial is a multi-step treatment used to cleanse, exfoliate and extract impurities.
  • ADVATX Laser: The perfect skin treatment to help with concerns of acne. Click here to learn more about the treatment and discover our amazing before and after’s with our lovely patient after only two sessions!


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Learn more about alternative treatments for acne, including acne scarring treatments.

FAQs about lymecycline:

How long does lymecycline take to work?

Lymecycline is not a quick-fix treatment for acne and may need several weeks to take effect. However, some people see an improvement in their skin after about a week of taking the drug.

Can you drink alcohol with lymecycline?

Yes, it is safe to drink alcohol with lymecycline.

When should you not take lymecycline?

Lymecycline should not be taken by children under the age of 12 or by pregnant or breastfeeding women. This is because lymecycline can cause permanent staining in developing teeth.

Can I take lymecycline if I’m allergic to penicillin?

Lymecycline is an antibiotic but is not related to penicillin, so it is safe for penicillin allergy sufferers.

Does lymecycline stain your teeth?

Lymecycline can permanently stain teeth that are still growing. This is why it’s not prescribed for younger children, or breastfeeding and pregnant women. It does not stain fully-developed adult teeth.

Find your nearest clinic and arrange a free consultation with one of our trusted dermatologists for advice on how to combat your acne concerns.

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