Antibiotics are an unavoidable part of our daily life. This drug is frequently required if you have a bacterial infection or are recovering from an open operation. Even if it isn't suggested, some people use antibiotics for the tiniest of infections. Are antibiotics, for all the good they can do for our bodies' healing, also healthy for our skin? Should we be more concerned about the risks they may cause to our body's greatest organ?
Antibiotics are used to treat germs. They aid in the battle against bacterial infection by either eliminating germs or slowing and reducing their growth. Antibiotics may attack the bacterium's outer wall, interfere with their reproduction, or prevent the bacteria from producing protein.
Antibiotics are potent drugs that begin working almost immediately after administration. It may, however, take some time before you feel better. Patients must, however, take antibiotics for 7 to 14 days to achieve the best results. Antibiotics are currently available in a variety of forms. We are most familiar with their tablet, capsule, and liquid forms because these are the ones we consume. Topical antibiotics, on the other hand, are bacteria-fighting medications that come in the form of creams and ointments. Rather than being swallowed, they are administered to the skin.
Do antibiotics affect your skin?
Now that we've established what antibiotics are, it's time to examine how they affect the skin. Is it always good? Can antibiotics affect your complexion?
Antibiotics as an Acne Treatment
Acne is caused by a combination of four primary factors:
When the hair follicles become clogged with oil, germs, and/or dead skin cells, whiteheads or blackheads appear.
Oil production - a person with more oil production is more prone to acne. This is especially true when hormones increase throughout puberty, causing the sebaceous glands to secrete more oil.
Bacterial growth is triggered by an increase in skin oil levels, which causes bacteria to multiply.
Inflammation is more likely when there are more microorganisms on the skin. As acne progresses deeper into the skin, it can develop into larger nodules or cysts.
So, how do all of these things relate to antibiotics?
Patients suffering from severe acne are sometimes offered oral antibiotics.
What is the explanation for this? Antibiotics can aid in the treatment of two of the primary causes mentioned above.
Antibiotics are prescribed for acne for a variety of reasons.
Antibiotics can combat the acne-causing bacteria Propionibacterium acnes, reducing their numbers on the skin's surface as well as in follicles. Apart from the anti-inflammatory characteristics of some antibiotic classes, this also helps to relieve inflammation induced by the sheer volume of these bacteria.
Antibiotics, despite their effectiveness, should not be used for long periods of time. This is due to the fact that certain bacteria, such as P. acne, have become increasingly resistant to antibiotics in recent years.
Who's to blame?
Antibiotics are used to treat persistent skin disorders such as acne for months or even years at a time. Antibiotic resistance is now known to spread to those in their immediate vicinity, such as family members and neighbours. Apart from that, different strains of bacteria can gain resistance genes, so you won't just have to worry about P. acne bacteria becoming resistant to antibiotics in the future! As a result, it's not a good idea to solely rely on antibiotics to treat your acne!
After all, acne is mostly an inflammatory condition. Other elements, like oil production, have a role in the development of acne, and antibiotics aren't always effective. Even if you take oral antibiotics, you may still develop acne if you have trouble controlling the amount of sebum on your face. Furthermore, while antibiotics can aid in the treatment of acne, they also have harmful side effects on the skin.
Oral Antibiotics and Their Effects on the Skin
Antibiotics can affect your skin in a variety of ways, regardless of whether you're taking them for acne or a tooth infection.
Antibiotics make the body more sensitive to light, which is a huge issue. Because of their photosensitizing impact, you may perceive light as brighter than usual. Antibiotics, on the other hand, make the skin more sensitive to UV light. This means that you'll have an increased risk of sunburn, blistering, and peeling if you're exposed to the sun for the duration of your antibiotic treatment. Sun exposure will also cause your skin cells to be more readily destroyed!
Furthermore, certain medications might react with sunlight, resulting in a red, itchy rash after only 15 minutes of contact. Consider this: if you take antibiotics for your acne on a regular basis, you won't be able to go out in the sun, even for a few minutes!
Sun Protection Suggestions
That's why it's critical to protect your skin if you're taking antibiotics for other illnesses or infections. To begin, it's best to stay out of the sun for as long as possible. Between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., ultraviolet rays are at their strongest and harshest, so try to stay indoors during those hours.
If you must go out, make sure to dress in protective clothing and utilise sun protection items such as sunglasses and umbrellas. Most importantly, if you must go outside, even for a short time, always wear a quality sunblock or sunscreen! Remember to reapply sunscreen every 2 hours, especially if you'll be spending a lot of time outside!
Is it Safe to Use Topical Antibiotics?
Oral antibiotics have received the most attention, but topical antibiotics in the form of creams and ointments are also available. Despite the fact that topical antibiotics can be administered for a longer period of time, they nevertheless have risks and drawbacks.
What are the Benefits of Topical Antibiotics? (how to reverse side effects of antibiotics?)
Topical antibiotics are used to treat and prevent skin infections as well as small wounds (such as cuts, scrapes, or burns). Topical antibiotics, like oral antibiotics, function by killing germs or slowing their growth. Apart from that, topical antibiotics can be used to treat acne.
Topical antibiotics are typically used in concert with other medications, such as benzoyl peroxide, to treat mild to moderate acne. These factors, taken together, limit the chances of P. acnes bacterium developing.
Topical antibiotics, on the other hand, may contribute to antibiotic resistance by being administered less frequently and sparingly than oral antibiotics. As a result, even for acne, where it is recommended to be taken for a maximum of three months, it is advisable not to rely on it as a therapy.
Topical antibiotics and their effects on the skin
Some of the most prevalent negative effects of applying topical antibiotics on the skin are as follows:
Dryness of the Skin
It turns out that topical antibiotics can cause skin dryness, which is one of the most prevalent side effects. This usually only happens in the areas where topical antibiotics are used. In some circumstances, the dryness will go away once the antibiotics are finished. If your skin is flaky and scaly as a result of dryness, apply a light, non-oily moisturiser to the afflicted area.
Irritation of the Skin
The use of topical antibiotics can cause skin irritation, however, this is usually not severe. If you experience any discomfort after applying the ointment, you should see your dermatologist. In some situations, it may be advisable for your skin to stop taking antibiotics and replace them with something less irritating.
Contact dermatitis is an inflammation of the skin that causes it to become irritated. It appears to be a combination of the side effects listed above. This causes the skin to become dry and flaky, as well as redness, rashes, and severe itching. This condition, however, is easily treated with corticosteroids like hydrocortisone creams, so it's not a major concern.
As you can see, our body's organs are extremely interconnected—what you do to address a problem in one part of your body may have an impact on other sections of your body as well! You may believe you're just taking antibiotics to treat an infection, but you have no idea how damaging they may be to your skin.