Most acne problems can be controlled with over the counter treatments for acne. When topical acne medication is used with a regular skin care program, mild forms of acne will respond to it quickly. If you have mild acne, your solution is probably sitting on the shelf at your local drugstore.
The Best Over the Counter Treatments For Acne
- Benzoyl Peroxide - This is the most widely used form of acne treatment. It works by killing the bacteria that may be the cause of the acne. These types of acne are called “propionibacterium” acnes. Benzoyl peroxide also helps by removing dead skin cells. If the dead skin cells aren’t taken out, they will build up and cause a worse case of acne. This medication can cause excessively dry skin and can bleach your clothes, so it must be used with care and in the right amounts. Use the minimal amount it takes to clear your acne. If 2.5% works, don’t make the assumption that a higher concentration will do the job faster. It will only make the side effects worse without being any more effective. Severely dry skin can be as irritating as the acne itself.
- Salicylic Acid - Aspirin is made from salicylic acid. It helps by dissolving pimples and blackheads and reducing inflammation and redness. It is an effective treatment option when it is used correctly. This medication is typically available in the form of soaked pads which are rubbed on the skin. When you use the pads, it not only works to clean and dissolve the acne, it retards the process of build up within the pores, helping to prevent future breakouts. Don’t use salicylic acid with other topical over the counter treatments for acne. Combining it with other medications can cause more skin irritation.
- Resorcinol - This over the counter treatment is effective for many people. It works especially well when used with sulfur. This breaks down the acne pustules and makes it possible to clean out the pores. It helps to prevent future breakouts by keeping the pores clear of bacteria and debris. Resorcinol should not be used with anything containing alcohol.
- Alcohol and Acetone - These are safe to use but they are not usually as effective as the medications described above. Alcohol can kill bacteria and clean oil from the surface of the skin. Acetone cuts through the oil on the skin, too. The problem is that neither of these works to take care of what is under the skin - where the acne starts. Cleaning the surface is good but it does little to fix the problem. Both of these cost less than the others. It is better to use them as part of your skin care regimen and not as your acne medication.
All over the counter treatments for acne should be used according to the directions on the box. If they do nothing to help your condition over the next couple of weeks your problem gets worse, you should see a dermatologist. You may need a medical prescription to get rid of your acne.