Zocdoc Answers

Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors

"Is Tazorac or Cleocin better at removing whiteheads?"


I am trying to get rid of a problem I have with perpetual whiteheads popping up on my cheeks and forehead, and I'm planning on asking my doctor for medication (because I'm almost 30 and nothing has ever helped with this). I've seen both Tazorac and Cleocin talked about a lot on the internet. Is one better than the other?


Tazorac and Cleocin are both medications used to treat acne. There are many medications used for acne, and your dermatologist or primary care physician would be best qualified to discuss this issue with you. Acne, both blackheads and whiteheads, are caused by plugging of skin pores.

See a doctor who can help

Find a Dermatologists near you

Therefore, the treatment of blackheads and whiteheads, or comedones, involves cleansing and medication to remove the plugging and reduces its reaccumulation. Tazorac, and other medications like it called retinoids, work by doing this. Tazorac is often used in situations in which cleaning and a simpler skin-cleanser such as benzoyl peroxide containing agents have not worked. Cleocin is an antibiotic cream, and it is added when there is concern that infection, rather than just plugging is a significant component of the acne outbreak. Therefore, the medicines work in different ways, and one is not more effective than the other since they target different things. However, they may be used in different combinations as determined by your doctor, after considering several other things including the cost of the medications. As always, the diagnosis and the management of your particular skin condition will require a physical examination by your personal physician. You should schedule an appointment with your dermatologist or primary care doctor.

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.