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How Long Does Doxycycline Take to Work for Acne?

Acne is a common skin issue that affects millions of people worldwide. While various treatment options are available, one of the most widely prescribed medications is doxycycline. If you've been wondering how long doxycycline takes to work for acne, you've come to the right place.

In this comprehensive blog post, we'll discuss the effectiveness of doxycycline, its mechanism of action, possible side effects, and answer frequently asked questions about its use in acne treatment. Let's dive in!

Also read: How to choose the best acne treatment

Biggest Take-Aways

  • Doxycycline is an effective antibiotic for treating acne, with most individuals noticing improvements within 2 to 4 weeks, although it may take up to 12 weeks for significant results.

  • The medication works by reducing inflammation and targeting acne-causing bacteria and should be taken as prescribed by a healthcare provider for optimal results.

  • Side effects of doxycycline may include nausea, diarrhea, and sensitivity to sunlight, with more severe side effects being rare but possible.

  • Exposed Skin Care offers a comprehensive alternative or complementary approach to managing acne, reducing reliance on oral antibiotics like doxycycline and minimizing the risk of developing antibiotic resistance.

Woman drinking medicine

The Science Behind Doxycycline

What is Doxycycline?

Doxycycline is a tetracycline antibiotic used to treat various bacterial infections, including acne. It works by slowing down the growth of bacteria, preventing them from multiplying and causing infection.

How Does Doxycycline Work for Acne?

Doxycycline targets acne by combating inflammation and reducing the number of acne-causing bacteria on the skin. It has anti-inflammatory properties that help minimize redness and swelling, while its antimicrobial action targets Propionibacterium acnes, the bacteria responsible for acne breakouts.

Doctor holding bottles of pills

How Long Does Doxycycline Take to Work for Acne?

The timeline for doxycycline to show its effects can vary from person to person. Most individuals notice an improvement in their acne within 2 to 4 weeks of starting the medication.

However, it's essential to understand that the treatment duration depends on various factors, including the severity of the acne and the individual's response to the medication. Sometimes, it may take up to 12 weeks to see significant improvements.

How to Take Doxycycline for Acne

Dosage and Duration

The prescribed dosage amount and duration of doxycycline treatment for acne can vary depending on the individual and the severity of the acne. Typically, a healthcare provider will prescribe a lower dose of doxycycline (such as 50 mg or 100 mg daily) for an extended period, ranging from 3 to 6 months. Following the healthcare provider's instructions and taking the medication as prescribed is crucial to achieving the best results.

Tips for Taking Doxycycline

  • Take doxycycline with a full glass of water to minimize the risk of esophageal irritation.

  • Avoid lying down for at least 30 minutes after taking the medication to prevent esophageal irritation.

  • Do not take doxycycline with dairy products, antacids, or iron supplements, as they can interfere with the absorption of the medication.

  • Take doxycycline with food if it upsets your stomach, but avoid high-fat meals as they may decrease the medication's absorption.

Person preparing food to take with medicine

  • Do not stop taking the medication abruptly or without consulting your healthcare provider, as it may result in acne relapse.

Side Effects of Doxycycline

Like any medication, doxycycline, including its common form, doxycycline hyclate, can cause side effects. Although it effectively reduces inflammation and treats acne, you must be aware of the potential side effects, ranging from mild to moderate or moderate to severe, to make informed decisions about your treatment plan.

Common Side Effects of Doxycycline

Some of the common side effects associated with doxycycline use include:

  • Nausea: Stomach upset, or an upset stomach can occur when taking doxycycline. Taking the medication with food may help alleviate this symptom.

  • Diarrhea: Some individuals may experience diarrhea as a side effect. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated.

  • Vomiting: Vomiting can occur, but taking doxycycline with food might help mitigate this side effect.

  • Sensitivity to sunlight: Doxycycline can increase your skin's sensitivity to sunlight, making it more prone to sunburn. It's essential to wear sunscreen daily and protect your skin with clothing when spending time outdoors.

  • Dizziness: Some users may experience dizziness while taking doxycycline. Be cautious when standing up or changing positions to prevent falls.

Woman feeling dizzy

Severe Side Effects of Doxycycline

Although rare, certain antibiotics, including doxycycline, can cause more severe side effects. These may require immediate medical attention:

  • Esophageal ulcers: Doxycycline can cause irritation or ulcers in the esophagus. Taking the medication with a full glass of water and avoiding lying down for at least 30 minutes after it can help minimize this risk.

  • Liver damage: In rare cases, doxycycline can cause liver damage. Notify your healthcare provider if you experience dark urine, yellowing of the skin or eyes, or severe upper abdominal pain.

  • Severe skin reactions: Although uncommon, doxycycline can cause severe skin reactions, such as Stevens-Johnson syndrome or toxic epidermal necrolysis. Contact your healthcare provider immediately if you develop a rash, blistering, or peeling skin.

Precautions for Pregnant Women and Others

Doxycycline is not recommended for pregnant women, as it may harm the developing fetus. If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, consider alternative acne treatments such as Expose Skin Care.

Additionally, individuals allergic to tetracycline or other antibiotics should inform their healthcare provider, as they may need to consider alternative treatment options.

Pregnant woman taking care of her skin

Exposed Skin Care: A Comprehensive Approach to Managing Acne

While doxycycline treats acne effectively as an oral antibiotic, some individuals may prefer alternative options or wish to complement their acne doxycycline treatment with other acne treatments.

Exposed Skin Care offers a comprehensive solution for managing severe acne, without solely relying on oral antibiotics or birth control pills, which may cause side effects or interact with other medications.

Exposed Skin Care Ultimate Kit

Here are some benefits of adding Exposed Skin Care to your skincare routine:

  • Addresses multiple causes of acne: Exposed Skin Care targets various acne triggers, such as excess oil, bacteria, and inflammation, making it suitable for treating inflammatory acne and other acne types.

  • Reduces the risk of developing antibiotic resistance: Using a combination of effective acne treatments, Exposed Skin Care can help minimize reliance on oral antibiotics like doxycycline, reducing the risk of developing antibiotic resistance.

  • Suitable for various skin types: Exposed Skin Care offers products that cater to different skin types and acne severity levels, allowing users to customize their treatment plan according to their specific needs.

  • Complements other acne treatments: Exposed Skin Care can be used alongside oral antibiotics like doxycycline or other acne treatments, such as birth control pills, enhancing the overall effectiveness of the acne management plan.

Exposed Skin Care provides a well-rounded approach to treating acne, offering multiple benefits that complement doxycycline and other traditional acne treatments. By incorporating Exposed Skin Care into your skincare routine, you can effectively manage acne while minimizing the risk of antibiotic resistance and potential side effects.


In summary, doxycycline, a member of the tetracycline antibiotics, is a widely prescribed and effective treatment option for acne. By reducing inflammation and targeting acne-causing bacteria, doxycycline works to combat breakouts and prevent the accumulation of dead skin cells that contribute to the development of acne.

Most individuals experience improvements in their acne within 2 to 4 weeks, although it may take up to 12 weeks for significant results in some cases.

While generic doxycycline is a powerful weapon in the fight against acne, it's essential to remember that it is antibiotic treatment, and users should be aware of the potential side effects and the risk of developing antibiotic resistance.

By understanding how doxycycline works and following your healthcare provider's instructions regarding dosage and duration, you can effectively manage acne and achieve clearer, healthier skin.

Don't hesitate to explore additional acne treatments, such as Exposed Skin Care, to maximize results and maintain long-term skin health.


Can doxycycline cause an initial breakout?

In some cases, doxycycline may cause an initial breakout or worsening of acne during the first few weeks of treatment. This is because the medication is working to clear the bacteria and reduce inflammation, which may temporarily exacerbate acne symptoms.

However, this initial breakout typically subsides as the treatment progresses and the skin condition improves.

Can I use topical acne treatments while taking doxycycline?

Yes, topical acne treatments in conjunction with doxycycline can enhance the overall effectiveness of the treatment plan. Common topical treatments include benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, and topical retinoids only. Be sure to consult your healthcare provider before starting new treatments to ensure they are compatible with your current regimen.

Can I drink alcohol while taking doxycycline?

It's generally advised to avoid or limit alcohol consumption while taking doxycycline, as alcohol may reduce the effectiveness of the medication and increase the risk of side effects. If you drink alcohol while taking doxycycline, do so in moderation and discuss any concerns with your healthcare provider.

Will doxycycline help with acne scars?

Doxycycline primarily targets active acne by reducing inflammation and combating acne-causing bacteria. While it may help prevent the formation of new acne scars by treating active breakouts, it does not directly address existing scars. Consider other treatments such as chemical peels, laser therapy, or dermabrasion to treat acne scars.