Acne treatment Acne treatment

Comparisons of Acne Solutions

Comparisons of Acne Solutions


Acne, also known as acne vulgaris, is a skin condition for which there are numerous treatments. Mild acne is often treatable with topical solutions, many of which can be purchased over the counter. You need not suffer with acne when there are so many treatment options available. A comparison of the active ingredients in many medications may help you choose which ones to try for your skin condition.

Benzoyl Peroxide

Benzoyl peroxide is an antiseptic that reduces bacteria on the skin. It has an oxidizing agent that helps to dry out excess oil within the acne, helping to alleviate plugged pores. It can be found in many acne solutions, including lotions, creams and gels, and can be purchased over the counter or in a greater strength with a prescription. You can expect some redness and peeling, since it will dry out your skin. Also be aware that benzoyl peroxide will discolor hair, clothing, towels and washcloths.

Salicylic Acid

Unlike benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid is an ingredient used to prevent clogging of the hair follicles and to break down blackheads and whiteheads. It is found in many over-the-counter medications in various forms, including cloths or wipes, creams, gels, lotions, ointments or shampoos. Like benzoyl peroxide, your skin may become dry or irritated while using products containing salicylic acid. In addition, you may experience a mild stinging sensation. It can be overly drying if used in combination with other acne medications.


Like salicylic acid, sulfur helps break down blackheads and whiteheads. As an ingredient, it causes dryness and peeling of the skin. Because of its drying effect, excess oil and dirt can be easily removed when washing the skin. It can be found in lotions, creams and soaps. Common side effects can include burning, stinging, tingling or irritation.


Resorcinol is a chemical compound found in topical medications used to treat acne and other skin disorders. It also works by causing the breakdown of hard, rough or scaly skin, which makes it a good agent for the elimination of blackheads and whiteheads. It can be found in acne creams and is often used in combination with other acne medications, usually sulfur. Like other ingredients, resorcinol can irritate the skin or cause redness or peeling.


Topical retinoids are different from the other ingredients. They are chemicals derived from vitamin A that, when applied to your skin, cause an increased turnover of skin cells. Retinoids also help to prevent blackheads and whiteheads and are commonly used along with additional acne treatments, such as benzoyl peroxide or oral antibiotics. Retinoids can be found in acne creams and can be purchased over the counter or in a greater strength with a prescription. Like the other ingredients, retinoids can cause drying, redness or irritation. Unlike other ingredients, your skin will be more sensitive to the sun while using retinoids, so be sure to use a sunscreen.

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