BenzaClin Acne Treatment and Side Effects

BenzaClin is a topical anti-acne medication that gives you the power of two acne treatments in one: 5% benzoyl peroxide and the topical antibiotic clindamycin (1%). Used in combination, they are more effective than benzoyl peroxide or clindamycin alone.

BenzaClin comes in gel form and is used to treat mild to moderate acne. It is only available with a prescription from your healthcare provider.

Girl (12-13) applying moisturizer, Jersey City, New Jersey, USA
Jamie Grill / Getty Images

How BenzaClin Works

Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes) are common residents of the skin. In those with acne, the P. acnes population grows unchecked, triggering acne breakouts.

Benzoyl peroxide and clindamycin have each been shown to reduce P. acnes. And a reduction in P. acnes means a reduction in breakouts, especially inflamed breakouts.

Just like all acne medications, BenzaClin takes time to work. You may notice that your acne seems worse for a few weeks after beginning treatment. This is normal, so don't stop using your medication. Stick with treatment for eight to 12 weeks, because it can take that long to notice an improvement.

Common Usage Directions

BenzaClin is applied twice daily, usually in the morning and again before bed. Before application, wash with a gentle cleanser and allow the skin to dry thoroughly. Spread a small amount of the gel lightly and evenly over all affected areas.

Just a small bit goes a long way. The medication should seem to disappear into the skin. If you can see a film on the skin after application, you're using too much medication.

Take care to keep the medication away from your eyes, nose, and mouth. It can cause irritation.

In should be noted that your BenzaClin gel must be used within 12 weeks. Any unused medication should be thrown out after that period of time.

Possible Side Effects

BenzaClin has many of the same side effects as other topical acne medications, which include:​

  • Dryness of the skin
  • Flaking and peeling
  • Skin redness, irritation, or rash
  • Itching

These side effects are usually mild to moderate, but occasionally they become more severe. As always, if you're bothered by side effects let your healthcare provider know right away.

Other side effects may be:

  • Severe stomach pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Blood or mucus in stool
  • Fungal infection of the skin or nails

Although these side effects seem scary, they happen only very rarely. Most people can use BenzaClin without these problems. But Benzaclin shouldn't be used by people with regional or ulcerative colitis (Crohn's disease) or those who have a history of antibiotic-induced colitis.

Before you begin using BenzaClin, your healthcare provider should know about all topical and oral medications you are using.

Also, be sure to tell your healthcare provider if you are pregnant. The effect that BenzaClin may have on an unborn child hasn’t really been studied, so you and your healthcare provider may decide on a different acne treatment if you are pregnant or become pregnant while using BenzaClin.

Also, BenzaClin has not been studied in nursing mothers; talk with your healthcare provider before using this medication if you are breastfeeding.

Tips for Use

Use a noncomedogenic sunscreen of at least SPF 30 every day, because BenzaClin will make your skin more sensitive to the sun. This means no basking for hours on the beach! You'll also want to steer clear of tanning beds and sun lamps.

BenzaClin will bleach fabrics. Wash your hands well after applying your medication. Don't let your medication come in contact with clothing, towels, pillowcases, etc., until it is completely dry. BenzaClin can also bleach your hair, so take care to keep long hair pulled back and avoid applying too near the hairline.

Use a moisturizer every day to control dry, flaking skin. Pick one that is oil-free and noncomedogenic.

While using BenzaClin you should stay away from abrasive scrubs, drying cleansers or soaps, astringents, aftershave, exfoliating products, and medicated makeup. All of these products can exacerbate dryness and irritation of the skin.

Don't use any other topical acne treatments on the same areas you're using BenzaClin unless your healthcare provider specifically tells you to do so. This includes over-the-counter anti-acne cleansers, lotions, or gels.

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7 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  2. What is the Role of Benzoyl Peroxide Cleansers in Acne Management?: Do they Decrease Propionibacterium acnes Counts? Do they Reduce Acne Lesions?J Clin Aesthet Dermatol.

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Additional Reading
  • "Clindamycin and Benzoyl Peroxide Topical." Medline Plus. U.S. National Library of Medicine & National Institutes of Health. 

  • A. Langner, A. Chu, V. Goulden, M. Ambroziak. "A randomized, single-blind comparison of topical clindamycin + benzoyl peroxide and adapalene in the treatment of mild to moderate facial acne vulgaris." British Journal of Dermatology.