What to Know Before Taking Cephalexin for Acne

If you believe that you have tried every possible method to treat your acne (and we do mean every method), you have undoubtedly already started looking into alternate methods. However, given that the tried-and-true methods for treating acne don’t seem to work, there is little likelihood that hydrogen peroxide or other home remedies popular on the Internet will be effective for you.

It should go without saying that if you find yourself in this scenario, you should see a dermatologist right once to discuss the underlying cause and create a treatment strategy. But while you’re there, you might be inspired to inquire about cephalexin, another acne treatment option.

Cephalexin for Acne

Cephalexin isn’t exactly one of the main acne-fighters we usually hear about because it’s better recognized for treating internal infections, but curiously enough, it might be worthwhile to consider for acne.

What you need to know about using cephalexin for acne is explained in detail below by board-certified dermatologists and an expert in internal medicine.

What Is Cephalexin?

Cephalexin is a member of the cephalosporin antibiotic family. It is an oral medicine with a broad spectrum that is used to treat bacterial infections. It engages in interaction with the production of bacterial cell walls. The bacteria are ultimately killed by the breaching of their cell walls.

Cephalexin comes in tablet, pill, and oral suspension forms. It is typically sold as the medication Keflex.

Typically, cephalexin is used to treat bacterial infections caused by:

  • Infection of the respiratory system
  • Infected middle ear (otitis media)
  • Infected bones
  • Skin disease
  • Infection of the genitourinary (urinary) tract
  • Infected surgical incisions

Cephalexin is ineffective against viruses that cause colds, the flu, etc., and only works against bacterial infections. Does cephalexin work to treat acne, then?

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Does Cephalexin Work to Treat Acne?

Cephalexin is not a brand-new antibacterial medication. For the treatment of skin infections, dermatologists frequently prescribe it. Can cephalexin be used to treat acne, though?

There hasn’t been much substantial research done in this area. However, some early studies provide some hope.

For instance, a study that looked at 93 people who had received cephalexin for acne therapy was published in the journal of Pediatric Dermatology. The study’s participants, who made up about 84%, had previously tried several oral drugs but had no luck.

With the administration of cephalexin, a startling 78% of the patients showed at least some improvement in their health after the study period. The outcomes of this trial took, however, roughly 8 to 9 months to significantly improve.

The following circumstances warrant the use of cephalexin for the treatment of acne:

  • When the patient is resistant to first-line antibiotics like doxycycline and minocycline.
  • For the treatment of cysts, pustules, and furious, red bumps associated with inflammatory acne.
  • First-line antibiotics like doxycycline and minocycline should not be used during pregnancy, therefore those who want to have a family should avoid them.
  • Cephalexin might be helpful for pregnant women who develop acne outbreaks.
  • To heal moderate to severe acne outbreaks and the resulting scars. Cephalexin can reduce acne symptoms while accelerating wound healing.

Cephalexin is effective in treating acne and is a great alternative for people who are having trouble tolerating other treatments. The medication is also useful for treating extreme outbreaks. We will go into safe cephalexin usage in the part after this.

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Cephalexin: How Do I Use It?


Cephalexin must be used orally, often every 6 to 12 hours. You can take the medication with or without food. Keep up the regimen for 7 to 14 days, or as your dermatologist recommends.

If you’re using a suspension containing cephalexin, shake the bottle well before each use. Utilizing a measuring cup or spoon, carefully calculate the dosage. Drink the beverage every six to twelve hours. For 7 to 14 days, or as long as the prescription lasts, follow these instructions.

Specific Safety Measures to Adhere To While Taking Cephalexin

You must use cephalexin with caution and care, just like you would with any antibiotic. Now that you know how to administer the medication, abide by the safety advice provided below:

  • Even if the symptoms disappear, follow the course’s instructions to the letter. If you stop taking the prescription too soon, the germs can reappear and make acne problems worse.
  • As instructed by your doctor, stick to a schedule and take your medication every day at the same time.
  • Keep in mind that taking antibiotics when they are not required can raise your risk of getting an infection that is resistant to them. This could ultimately result in further problems.
  • Do not double the dose of cephalexin for the following schedule if you miss a dose.
  • Tell your doctor about any vitamins, minerals, and nutritional or herbal supplements you may be taking when you get your prescription.
  • If you have a reaction to cephalexin or a related medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist right away. Include information about any further allergies and any illnesses you may have.
  • Unless your doctor has specifically told you to change it, stick to your regular diet.
  • The liquid medication should be kept in its original container. Keep it out of children’s reach. Store it in the refrigerator with the lid secured firmly. Store the pills away from excessive heat or moisture and at room temperature.
  • Long-term usage of cephalexin may result in thrush or yeast infection. Therefore, if you spot any white patches around your lips or private areas, consult your doctor.
  • Typhoid or the BCG vaccine may interact with cephalexin. If you intend to get vaccinated, refrain from using cephalexin for a few days prior to and following the immunization. There isn’t much data available, though, in this area. Consult your doctor for additional clarity.

If you take the recommended precautions, there is very little chance that cephalexin will cause any negative effects on you. Nevertheless, it’s critical to be knowledgeable about cephalexin’s negative effects.

What Are Cephalexin’s Side Effects?

Cephalexin allergies are relatively uncommon. In addition, when taken in accordance with the suggested dosage, it has no significant negative effects. According to anecdotal evidence, cephalexin commonly causes the following negative effects:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Heartburn
  • Abdominal pain
  • Cramping
  • Genital or Rectal itching
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Confusion
  • Joint pain

Usually, these adverse effects go away on their own. But if they continue, speak with your doctor. Additionally, stop taking cephalexin and get medical help right once if you notice any of the following symptoms:

  • Rashes
  • Hives
  • Watery or bloody stools
  • Fever and stomach cramps
  • Swelling of the throat, face, tongue, eyes, or lips
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • Recurring fever, chills, sore throat, and other signs of infection
  • Wheezing
  • Hallucinations

Cephalexin overdoses can result in severe nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, red/pink/dark brown urine, and incapacitating abdominal discomfort. Pay attention to the dosage.

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Which Medication is More Effective at Treating Acne, Cephalexin or Doxycycline?

Doxycycline has long been the preferred antibiotic, while cephalexin is a relatively recent drug. You may think about the following things before taking any medication:

Application and Use

Cephalexin is used to treat bacterial infections and as a preventative measure for people who are unable to heal wounds sufficiently. Although it can treat more than just infections and acne, doxycycline is also an antibacterial medication. Additionally, it might aid in the treatment of illnesses including Lyme disease, anthrax, chlamydia, relapsing fever, yaws, typhoid fever, and more.

Drug Type

Both medications have different purposes, even though they both may have the same effect of eliminating bacteria. Cephalexin is a member of the antibiotic class known as cephalosporins. Doxycycline, on the other hand, is a tetracycline antibiotic. Before making a decision, speak with your doctor to gain a better understanding of how each medication works.

Medication Types

Doxycycline comes in pill, delayed-release pill, and liquid suspension forms, but cephalexin is only available as a tablet, capsule, and oral suspension.


Cephalexin is typically given to adults in doses of 250 mg every six hours; however, in cases of extreme severity, cephalexin 500 mg may be administered to treat severe infections and acne. Children’s dosage is restricted to 25 to 100 mg per kilogram of body weight.

The dosage of doxycycline that is advised is around 100 mg twice on the first day, followed by 100 to 200 mg twice daily. The dosage is determined by the state of the individual. To learn more, talk to your doctor.

Side Effects

There are fewer side effects associated with cephalexin, which can include cramps, nausea, and diarrhea. The effects of doxycycline, however, might be more extensive.

The effects of barrier-based birth control methods may be affected, your skin may become more sensitive, and diarrhea with the result of red or watery stools may result. Side effects are experienced by a very tiny percentage of people, though.

Drug Interactions

Cephalexin doesn’t interact with other medications too much. However, it can diminish the effects of BCG and typhoid options. Contrarily, doxycycline interacts with a wide range of drugs, including antacids (based on aluminum, calcium, or magnesium), blood thinners based on warfarin, barbiturates, phenytoin, penicillin, carbamazepine, contraceptives, etc.

Safety During Pregnancy

Generally speaking, cephalexin is safe to use during pregnancy. However, because it is released by the milk ducts, breastfeeding moms should avoid consuming it while doing so. For more information, speak with your doctor because there isn’t much research on the subject.

The growing fetus’s growth of its bones and teeth may be hampered by doxycycline. Additionally, it might have an impact on the mother’s and the child’s health.

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An antibacterial medication called cephalexin may be crucial in the treatment of acne. Cephalexin may offer promise as an acne treatment, according to the limited preliminary research that is currently available.

It is an antibiotic medicine, thus the user must use caution when using it despite its many benefits. Be mindful of its negative effects and take it exactly as your dermatologist has instructed.

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