Use them: If you experience painful bumps below the skin surface and your pimples leave lasting marks, says Jonette Keri, an associate professor of dermatology at the Miami Miller School of Medicine, in Florida.
How they work: “Oral antibiotics act from the inside to kill the bacteria that cause acne,” says Keri. They also reduce the inflammation associated with pimples, so deep-seated blemishes hurt less and leave fewer scars.
Good to know: It’s considered safe to take oral antibiotics for several months, but they’re not for the long term. Doctors usually prescribe them to get a severe condition under control and may then switch to topical treatments. Some antibiotics must be taken on an empty stomach, so read the label carefully.