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Erythromycin with zinc

Use erythromycin solution twice daily, in the morning and the evening.

Apply it to all of the affected area of skin, not just to individual spots.

You may need to use the solution for 10-12 weeks before you notice the full benefit.

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About erythromycin (with zinc) skin solution

Type of medicine


Used for

Acne (spots)

Also called

Zineryt® (erythromycin with zinc acetate)

Available as

Topical skin solution

Acne is the common cause of spots. Most people with acne are aged between 12 and 25 years, but some older and younger people are affected too. Small sebaceous glands lie just under your skin surface and make an oil (sebum) that keeps your skin supple and smooth. Tiny pores on your skin allow the sebum to come on to the surface of your skin. In acne, some of these pores become blocked, causing inflamed spots.

Antibiotics, like erythromycin, work by killing germs (bacteria) that can contribute to acne. They also reduce inflammation. Erythromycin usually works well to clear acne spots which are inflamed and any surrounding skin inflammation. Zineryt® skin solution also contains zinc acetate. This is thought to aid skin healing.

There are also other skin preparations available which contain erythromycin and are prescribed for acne. These gels/solutions combine erythromycin with a topical retinoid agent. See separate medicine leaflets called Isotretinoin gel for acne and Tretinoin for acne for more information about these products.

Erythromycin is also taken by mouth as a tablet, capsule or liquid medicine to treat infections - see the separate medicine leaflet called Erythromycin for more information about this.

Before using erythromycin (with zinc) skin solution

Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine may only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start using erythromycin solution it is important that your doctor or pharmacist knows:

  • If you are pregnant or breastfeeding. (Although erythromycin is not known to be harmful to an unborn baby, you should let your doctor know if you think you are pregnant.)

  • If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine or a skin preparation.

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How to use erythromycin (with zinc) skin solution

  • Before you start this treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside your pack. The leaflet will give you more information about erythromycin solution and how to use it.

  • Apply erythromycin solution exactly as your doctor tells you to. Wash and gently dry your skin, and then apply a thin layer of solution to the area where your spots occur. Use the solution twice a day, preferably in the morning and the evening. Wash your hands well after you have finished using it.

  • Do not use the solution on any areas of skin which are sunburnt or sore. Also, try to avoid getting it on the sensitive areas of your skin in or around your nostrils, your eyes and your mouth. If you have been using a preparation for your acne that has caused your skin to peel, allow your skin to recover for a few days before you start using the solution.

  • Zineryt® skin solution should be discarded eight weeks after being prepared by your pharmacist. There will be an expiry date written on the label to remind you.

Getting the most from your treatment

  • Try to keep your regular appointments with your doctor. This is so your doctor can check on your progress. A full course of treatment may last for 3-6 months.

  • You may have to use erythromycin solution for 10-12 weeks before you notice the full benefit. If after this time you still do not think your skin has improved, discuss it with your doctor.

  • It is recommended that you use a mild soap and lukewarm water to wash with, as very hot or cold water may worsen acne. Do not wash more than you normally do. You cannot clean off blackheads. The black tip of a blackhead is actually a skin pigment and cannot be removed by cleaning or scrubbing.

  • You may use make-up and moisturisers, but wait until your face has dried completely after using the solution, before you apply them.

  • During your treatment your doctor may ask you to use another skin preparation for a short while from time to time. It is important you follow your doctor's advice, as it will help prevent your spots from becoming resistant to treatment.

  • You can use Zineryt® skin solution when you are pregnant or breastfeeding. If you are breastfeeding you should not use the solution on the chest area.

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Can using erythromycin (with zinc) skin solution cause problems?

Along with their useful effects, all medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. The table below lists some of the most common ones associated with Zineryt® skin solution. You will find a full list in the manufacturer's information leaflet supplied with your medicine. The unwanted effects often improve over the first few days of using a new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following side-effects continue or become troublesome.

Common side-effects

What can I do if I experience this?

Skin irritation or itching, redness, dry skin

Take care not to apply too much solution. It may also help to use a fragrance-free, water-based moisturising cream. Do not use ointments or oil-rich creams, as these may clog pores

If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to this preparation, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.

How to store erythromycin (with zinc) skin solution

  • Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.

  • Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.

  • Zineryt® solution should only be used for eight weeks after it has been made up by your pharmacy. Check the expiry date on the bottle and do not use it after this date.

Important information about all medicines

Important information about all medicines

This preparation is for external use only. If someone swallows some of it, contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice or go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.

If you buy any medicines check with a pharmacist that they are safe to take with your other medicines.

If you are having an operation or dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment which medicines you are taking.

This preparation is for you. Never give it to other people, even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.

Never keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.

If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.

Report side effects to a medicine or vaccine

If you experience side effects, you can report them online through the Yellow Card website.

Further reading and references

Article history

The information on this page is written and peer reviewed by qualified clinicians.

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