Acne Product Comparisons
Both teens and adults rely on acne treatment products to improve the appearance and health of their skin. Drugstore shelves are full of products offering the promise of fewer blemishes and clear skin, but acne care requires more than promises. Learn more about the active ingredients, a smart skin care regimen and which products make good on their promises.
Acne products typically work in one of two ways, depending on the active ingredient. The most common active ingredients in over-the-counter acne products are benzoyl peroxide and salicyclic acid. Salicyclic acid helps to unclog pores and normalize skin shedding, according to AcneNet. Benzoyl peroxide reduces the P. acnes bacteria on the skin. Both products are effective, but benzoyl peroxide is more effective on inflammatory acne, including whiteheads and cystic acne. Salicyclic acid works well on blackheads.
Acne products include cleansers, medicated creams, lotions and gels, masks and exfoliating scrubs. Convenient wipes or pads also are available. If you have very mild acne, a medicated cleanser like Biore's Blemish Fighting Ice Cleanser might be a good choice, suggests "Real Simple" magazine. Gentle oil-free cleansers like Cetaphil, recommended by "Elle" magazine, might be better if you are aggressively treating acne. Acne treatment lotions, creams and gels are left on the skin rather than washed off. Choose a salicyclic acid product to treat blackheads, a benzoyl peroxide cream for various types of acne, or a comprehensive acne treatment system like Neutrogena's Advanced Solutions Complete Acne Therapy System.
Acne.org recommends that you choose a gentle, non-medicated cleanser for acne care. Follow your cleanser with a treatment product with benzoyl peroxide for the best success when battling all types of acne. You might want to select a lower concentration of medication, like a 2.5 percent benzoyl peroxide product, to reduce side effects. Repeat these steps both morning and night.
Regardless of the acne products you choose, you must continue your acne treatment skin care regimen even after your skin clears, according to AcneNet. The conditions that caused the acne remain and it will recur if you stop treating your skin. Keep in mind that you might need to change the products you use as your skin ages, whether you are a teen or an adult.
Benzoyl peroxide and salicyclic acid are typically quite drying, even at a low concentration. Use an oil-free moisturizer after you apply your acne treatment product to keep your skin healthy, and avoid over-drying, recommends Acne.org. If over-the-counter products do not improve your skin or you suffer from moderate to severe acne, see your health-care provider or a dermatologist about prescription options to treat your skin.
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