Select a treatment to
get started

Clindamycin and Tretinoin Acne Formulas: Do These Ingredients Work Better Together?

Learn why using a clindamycin and tretinoin combination cream might be a great addition to your skincare regimen.

Read on

Arya Stark and The Hound, Han Solo and Chewbacca, Captain Kirk and Spock.

The most iconic duos work so well together because their differences complement each other and the whole ends up greater than the sum of its parts.

The same is true of Clindamycin plus Tretinoin for acne treatment.

Below, we will explain why Clindamycin with Tretinoin should be your new favorite acne cream collaboration.

What is Clindamycin and Tretinoin topical cream?


Clindamycin is a prescription topical antibiotic that falls into the class of lincomycin antibiotics.

Its main use in the topical form is for acne treatment.


Tretinoin is a prescription-only vitamin A derivative that falls into the Retinoid class of chemicals.

We explained the difference between Tretinoin and the over-the-counter retinoids in our article: Here.

Tretinoin is mainly prescribed for acne, scars, or its anti-aging properties.

What does Clindamycin do for acne?

Clindamycin alone has been used for acne for over 5 decades.
It works for acne by removing or slowing the growth of the bacteria present on the skin, and significantly reducing skin inflammation.

Clindamycin works great for inflammatory acne (inflamed pimples and pustules).

How Does Tretinoin Work for acne?

Tretinoin helps with acne by unclogging pores, promoting a normal sebum flow, and increasing healthy cell turnover.

Tretinoin works best for comedonal acne (blackheads and whiteheads).

Why together is better:

We figured out a while ago that Clindamycin is good for acne but recently found that it works even better when in a combination cream.

One study compared Clindamycin alone vs Clindamycin / Tretinoin over the course of 12 weeks.

The combination group saw a significant increase in the acne treatment success scores over Clindamycin alone.

And while Tretinoin is the darling of the derm world, it’s known for its initial irritating properties.

Adding Clindamycin into the mix might help lessen the irritation of Tretinoin used alone.

Also, the combo covers both types of acne:

  • Clindamycin covers inflammatory type acne
  • Tretinoin works well on comedonal type acne

8 Ways to get the best results from your Clindamycin plus Tretinoin regimen:

1. Don’t “spot treat”

  • These medications work best when there is a thin layer on the entire face, not just the trouble spots.

2. Make sure the skin is completely dry before applying

  • Wet skin can increase the depth that the cream penetrates (not always a good thing) and may cause excess irritation.
  • Wait 20-30 minutes after washing your face to apply.

3. Applying on top of your moisturizer can reduce irritation

  • Apply your favorite hypoallergenic base cream first to help lessen dryness or irritation from treatment.

4. A pea-sized amount is plenty

  • A little goes a long way, trust us

5. Apply at about the same time daily

  • Set a regular reminder to try to apply at about the same time daily.

6. Consistency is key

  • These medications work best on a daily basis, set an alert on your phone to remember your daily application.

7. Apply at night

  • Tretinoin creams are best applied at night to clean, moisturized skin.
  • This also prevents sunlight from breaking down the chemical before it can do its thing.

8. Wear sunscreen daily

  • This cream can make your sun more sensitive to the sun, and since UV rays can worsen acne in some, sunscreen use is a must.

Where can I buy Clindamycin plus Tretinoin acne cream?

You can find this combo through prescription only in a Brand name cream called Ziana.

Or, you can find our Clindamycin / Tretinoin / Niacinamide compounded Strut Acne Formula through a questionnaire-based online consultation with our U.S. licensed physicians.

Products that also contain Niacinamide (like our Strut Acne Formula) might help counter tretinoin irritation.

The addition of Niacinamide (Vitamin B3) might also help with inflammation, hydration, and helps smooth out the skin surface structure.

We outlined the full benefits of including Niacinamide Here.

  • Clindamycin is a topical antibiotic, and Tretinoin is a topical Retinoid.
  • Clindamycin reduces skin bacteria and acne inflammation.
  • Tretinoin increases healthy cell turnover, unclogs pores, and promotes a normal sebum production.
  • Clindamycin + Tretinoin increases the acne-reducing benefits, lessens the irritating side effects of treatment, and covers both types of acne.
  • Apply a pea-sized amount over the entire face to dry skin, apply at about the same time each night, and wear your sunscreen daily!
  • The addition of Niacinamide to the cream may also help lessen skin irritation and increase hydration.
Free shipping
Free follow-up care
Cancel anytime, no fees
Free online MD visit

Related posts