Acne treatment Acne treatment

Acne Clearing Treatments

Acne Clearing Treatments Acne Clearing Treatments Acne Clearing Treatments

Acne treatment varies from person to person, according to factors such as the severity of the acne and skin sensitivity. The first step toward effective treatment and clearer skin is to visit a dermatologist that can devise a comprehensive treatment program. A dermatologist may decide to use any combination of topical products and oral medications for treatment and will be able to rule out any treatments that may be ineffective. Learning about the most common treatments will help you to take an active part in obtaining clearer, more beautiful skin.

Benzoyl Peroxide

A cornerstone of over-the-counter (OTC) acne treatment is benzoyl peroxide. It is the most common ingredient found in OTC gels, creams, washes and scrubs. It works to effectively clean dirt and debris, such as dead skin cells, out of the pores and dry up excess oil. This makes it particularly effective if you have oily skin in conjunction with acne. It also is an antimicrobial and fights the P. acnes bacteria that contributes to acne. OTC products contain concentrations of benzoyl peroxide ranging from 2.5 percent to 10 percent. A dermatologist may decide to prescribe it in combination with other antimicrobials, such as erythromycin, if you have a more stubborn case of acne. Excessive skin dryness may occur with higher concentrations.

Salicylic Acid

Some OTC washes, creams, astringents and masks contain salicylic acid as the active ingredient. Salicylic acid differs from benzoyl peroxide in that it doesn't reduce bacteria or control oil production. According to the AcneNet website, it is most effective at treating small, noninflammatory acne. Salicylic acid unclogs pores and regulates skin cell sloughing. Uneven skin cell sloughing is one of the leading factors in the development of acne. Most OTC products contain about 2 percent salicylic acid. You may experience mild skin irritation or redness with salicylic acid use.


Antibiotics may be prescribed if you have moderate to severe acne and are most effective when used with topical treatments, such as benzoyl peroxide. This helps to prevent antibiotic resistance. Antibiotics are most effective at fighting the P. acnes bacteria and reducing inflammation. Some antibiotics used to treat acne include tetracycline and erythromycin. You may experience gastrointestinal irritation with long-term antibiotic use.


Retinoids are derived from vitamin A and are a highly effective treatment for acne. Topical retinoids, such as tretinoin, come in the form of gels or creams that are applied once daily. These medications slowly unclog the pores and prevent future clogs. Skin irritation and sun sensitivity may occur with retinoid use, so you should take extra care to protect your skin from the sun. An added bonus of retinoid treatment is a decrease in fine lines or wrinkles. The oral retinoid isotretinoin is also available and is known as the most effective treatment for severe acne. It decreases oil production, unclogs pores, fights bacteria and reduces inflammation. Isotretinoin comes with serious potential side effects, such as depression and possible liver damage. If you are a woman of childbearing age, you will be required to use two reliable forms of contraception to avoid pregnancy due to the high risk of birth defects.

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