Body acne -- like facial acne -- can be treated with a variety of products. When over-the-counter treatments aren't enough, prescription oral medications can be used to it. These antibiotics typically contain erythromycin and tetracycline or tetracycline derivatives, and they prevent the growth of bacteria on the skin's surface. However, the problem with antibiotics is that acne-causing bacteria can develop a resistance to the drugs over time [source: Stiefel Laboratories].
In addition to antibiotics, there are a few other oral medications that can treat body acne. Birth control pills are sometimes prescribed for females to regulate hormone production and control acne [source: American Academy of Dermatology]. For severe cases of body acne, isotretinoin -- an ingredient in Accutane -- can be prescribed. This oral medication treats body acne by reducing the size of the sebaceous glands and preventing too much oil from being produced.
There are also many prescription topical medications that treat body acne. Topical treatments usually come in two varieties: antimicrobials, which reduce the presence of acne-causing bacteria, and retinoids, which unclog pores. Both types of topical medications are available in many forms, including gels, creams, lotions and liquids. Many topical treatments can cause dryness or redness, and retinoids can increase skin's sensitivity to sun -- but these side effects typically decrease after the first few weeks of use [source: Stiefel Laboratories].
While medications can help control and prevent severe body acne, milder cases can be treated with over-the-counter products. Read on learn more.