Suggest treatment for acne on back, shoulders and torso

Posted on Fri, 19 Dec 2014 in Skin Hair and Nails
Question: I have had acne on my back, shoulders, and torso for a long time. I've been to multiple dermatologists and have tried numerous topical medications as well as oral antibiotics such as bactrim, doxycycline, monocycline, etc. Every time I use an oral antibiotic the acne gets better for a while and then goes back to how it was. This seems to happen regardless of how long I take it.

I have now had three separate dermatologists tell me that this is because of the Lithium that I take. They have said that Lithium can cause acne and make it much worse and harder to get rid of. This also lines up with experience as I got the body acne around the time I was diagnosed and started to take Lithium.

They have said that the only way it will really get better is if I can reduce my dose of Lithium or discontinue it altogether and find an alternative (such as increasing Lamotrigine dose for BP type 2 or another combination).

Is this true? Is this the only way I might be able to improve or get rid of the body acne?

Thanks for taking the time to answer.
Answered by Dr. Kakkar S. 10 minutes later
Brief Answer:
Lithium may be causing relapse of acne

Detailed Answer:
Hello. Thanks for writing to us at healthcaremagic

I have gone through your query and I have understood it.

No doubt, acne is a side effects of lithium. Lithium related acne may be either resistant to conventional treatments Or they may relapse quickly after antiacne treatment.
A decrease or discontinuation of the medication can be beneficial in acne.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
Follow up: Dr. Kakkar S. 4 minutes later
Thanks for your answer.

Is there anything else I should know that might help me get rid of it? Is it even worth trying any additional topical acne medications or oral antibiotics? Or should I just focus on trying to reduce or discontinue the Lithium?
Answered by Dr. Kakkar S. 9 minutes later
Brief Answer:
Topical Benzoyl peroxide is a far better option

Detailed Answer:

Topical antiacne medications like Benzoyl peroxide gel 2.5% Or 5% and Benzoyl peroxide body wash would keep acne under check. It is preferred over clindamycin for acne on shoulders and torso.
Benzoyl peroxide has a few advantages over other topicals and even Oral antibiotics. It is more effective and moreover there are no chances of resistance of acne causing bacterium (P acnes) to benzoyl peroxide even if you use it daily, over a long duration.
Benzoyl peroxide is a far better option than taking repeated courses of oral antibiotics.
Reducing Lithium Or substituting it with an alternative would help in addition.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
Answered by
Dr. Kakkar S.


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