Lucky-Business/Shutterstock Topical creams, gels, and lotions (like dapsone and clindamycin) help to kill acne-causing bacteria, thereby reducing inflammation, redness and preventing breakouts before they start. Dr. Weinstein advises that it works best when used regularly—as part of a daily routine—and not as a spot treatment. (Check out the morning habits of people with great skin .) "The goal is to prevent and not play catch up when it comes to acne. With consistent use, the frequency of breakouts should be lesssened and current acne should resolve more quickly." And like oral antibiotics, topical antibiotics are typically covered by insurance.