The most common topical prescription medications for acne are as follows: Retinoids and retinoid-like drugs. These come as creams, gels, and lotions. Antibiotics. These work by killing excess skin bacteria and reducing redness. If you have more severe acne, you should reach out to a dermatologist for a stronger treatment. Aczone. Another once-daily gel your dermatologist might prescribe for acne is Aczone 7.5 percent. A cortisone shot. Birth control pills. Spironolactone. Accutane. Azelaic acid. Antibiotics.