Acne treatment Acne treatment

Fast Ways to Clear Acne

Fast Ways to Clear Acne Fast Ways to Clear Acne

The methods to quickly clear acne involve the use of topical medications containing specific active ingredients. The active ingredients in both prescription and over-the-counter acne creams help to remove dead skin, dry excess oil, kill bacteria or reduce inflammation, which all contribute to reducing the severity of acne breakouts. When used each day, acne creams can often speed the recovery of acne lesions.

Benzoyl Peroxide

One of the more popular active ingredients that help to clear acne is benzoyl peroxide. Benzoyl peroxide removes dead skin, dries excess oil and kills bacteria, according to the Mayo Clinic. It's also combined with an antibiotic, such as erythromycin or clindamycin, in prescription creams. The American Academy of Dermatology explains that coupling benzoyl peroxide with an antibiotic can actually make both ingredients more effective in clearing acne.

Salicylic Acid

Creams containing salicylic acid also helps to clear acne, the American Academy of Dermatology notes. Salicylic acid is said to be comedolytic, meaning the acid breaks up the soft plugs that form within the pores as a result of dead skin and excess oil. When the plugs are removed, inflammation along the walls of the hair follicles subsides, thereby clearing the acne.


The National Institutes of Health suggests retinoids when over-the-counter medications fail to clear acne. Retinoids work somewhat similarly to salicylic acid, because they too reduce the obstruction in the hair follicles. However, its effects go one step further, encouraging what is known as cellular turnover. Cellular turnover promotes the removal of dead skin and the growth of new epidermal cells, which helps speed recovery from acne. Retinoids are also combined with antibiotics to increase the efficacy of both ingredients, the American Academy of Dermatology advises. As the retinoic acid clears the pores and stimulates cellular turnover, the antibiotic kills bacteria and reduces inflammation of the hair follicles.

Azelaic Acid

Azelaic acid helps to clear acne by reducing obstructions within the pores and eliminating bacterial buildup, the American Academy of Dermatology reports. For some people, these two factors can help to accelerate the recovery time of acne. But unlike retinoids, which are beneficial for moderate to severe acne, azelaic acid only really works on mild to moderate breakouts.

Topical Antibiotics

Though not often prescribed on their own, topical antibiotics can also help clear acne. Erythromycin and clindamycin are the two most popular topical antibiotics used in the treatment of acne. They don't do much to clear the pores, remove dead skin or dry excess oil, but they're beneficial in reducing bacterial buildup and inflammation, which both contribute to the formation of comedones, papules, pustules, nodules and cysts associated with this skin condition. Once the bacterium is killed and the swelling subsides, your complexion should see an improvement. Topical antibiotics are often used in conjunction with either benzoyl peroxide or retinoids.

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