Is Alcohol Counter-Productive With Acne Medication?

Everyone knows that alcohol and antibiotics don’t mix, but most of the treatments that include antibiotics don’t last for longer than a week. What happens when your condition requires you to take antibiotics for a longer period? When acne is the problem that needs to be solved, the treatment can last up to few months.

Acne treatments

Since everyone’s skin type is specific, acne treatments may vary from one person to another. The search for the right medication can be a long process, because of all the ways your skin can react with each product.

The best way to start your acne treatment is from the weakest doses and go up from there. It’s never a good idea to take the strongest medication first. For example, opioid painkillers aren’t prescribed for pain or ache before the patient had tried other solutions like paracetamol.

You can try Clearasil at first, as it’s an acne solution that’s available without a mandatory prescription, or if that doesn’t work, opt for Acnecide gel. If these two products don’t help you, consulting your doctor might be the best idea, as they can provide you with medicaments you can get with a prescription and they’ll thoroughly examine your skin condition.

The treatments for acne which are obtainable only via prescription can be sorted into two types: non-topical and topical. Those of the non-topical type are orally ingested tablets of antibiotics like Oxytetracycline and Lymecycline. Some women can solve their acne problem with contraceptive pills as well. Topical type includes ointments like Treclin gel, Zineryt lotion and Differin cream.

Does alcohol influence the effect of acne medication?

The consumption of alcohol during acne treatment depends on the medicine because not all medicaments react with alcohol. If your treatment is with a topical medication, like gel or a cream, you’re safe to drink moderately, as this type does not have any interaction with consumed alcohol.

Certain oral medications which are part of acne treatment can be impacted by alcohol. It’s recommended that you consult your doctor about a specific medication and read the information pamphlet.


This medication has no warning for alcohol consumption because the direct interaction between this drug and alcohol doesn’t exist. But Lymecycline shouldn’t be mixed with alcohol if you’ve already experienced side effects like dizziness or headaches, because the symptoms may get worse. Check with your physician if Lymecycline is right for you if your side effects don’t vanish.


Since this medication belongs to the tetracycline-type of antibiotics, there is no warning for alcohol consumption, because it’s the same type as Lymecycline. However, if you experience any side effects from alcohol, you should notify your doctor, as your symptoms might get worse.


Minocycline also belongs to the tetracycline-type of antibiotics and there haven’t been any interactions with alcohol. Moderate drinking is alright with this medication and its branded version Minocin. In case of side effects, take note of them and consult your physician.


This is one of the stronger drugs which are prescribed for severe acne cases. Isotretinoin is prescribed only when other treatments don’t work. It’s highly effective and results appear in a matter of days after starting the treatment. 

However, this medication requires consistent blood tests while under treatment and a specialist should control the progress. The side effects can also be harsh and include an increased risk of suicidal thoughts and depression as well as the dryness of the skin. This medication is dangerous for pregnant women as it can harm unborn babies, so they’re advised not to take it.

Drinking while under Isotretinoin treatment isn’t recommended because alcohol can increase heart rate and cause vomiting and nausea.

If your treatment is only Isotrexin gel, a type of topical retinoid, drinking is alright as long as it’s in moderate quantities, and with a consultation with your physician.

Contraceptive pills

When it comes to women, acne can be caused by hormones, and contraceptive pills can help in treating this problem.

Since Clairette and Dianette are the anti-androgen types of pills, they can reduce the hormones that cause extra sebum on the epiderm. Alcohol consumption is alright in this case as there’s no interaction between alcohol and contraceptive pills.