Acne treatment Acne treatment

Good Products for Acne

Good Products for Acne Good Products for Acne Good Products for Acne

Acne is a common skin problem that occurs when excess skin oil, called sebum, combines with dead cells on your skin to produce hard plugs in your follicles. This creates a mild form of acne called a comedone (blackheads and whiteheads). Over time, comedones can become inflamed or infected with bacteria and turn into more serious forms of acne such as pustules, cysts or nodules. Depending on how severe your acne is, there are several recommended treatment methods available.

Salicylic Acid

Salicylic acid is a keratolytic agent that is typically the first line of treatment for acne. Found in most over-the-counter medications for acne, salicylic acid works by breaking down the keratin that makes up skin cells in the acne plug. As the keratin breaks down, the clog is loosened, clearing up the acne. According to the New Zealand Dermatological Society, salicylic acid can also be used as an acne preventative measure, as it slows down the sloughing of dead skin cells in the follicles, reducing the material available to form acne plugs.

Acetone and Alcohol

A common ingredient combination in over-the-counter acne treatment products is acetone and alcohol. Acetone works as a degreaser, which helps limit the abilities of sebum to create acne. The alcohol works as an antimicrobial, which allows it to help fight off the Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes) bacteria commonly associated with acne breakouts.

Benzoyl Peroxide

Benzoyl peroxide can be found in both over-the-counter and prescription strengths and works by killing the Propionibacterium acnes bacteria. P. acnes is unable to survive in environments with high oxygen content. Benzoyl peroxide works by soaking into clogged follicles and introducing fatal amounts of oxygen to the bacteria.

Azelaic Acid

Azelaic acid is a prescription acne-fighting product that works in several ways to fight acne. One way azelaic acid works is as an effective antimicrobial against Propionibacterium acnes. It also works by slowing down the rate in which skin cells in the affected area shed, reducing incidents of acne. Azelaic acid may also fight acne by helping to reduce inflammation in more serious forms of acne, such as acne pustules or papules.


In severe cases of acne, a short course of antibiotics may be used to help treat the outbreak. Antibiotics such as erythromycin and clindamycin can be used either topically or orally to kill off the P. acnes bacteria. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, erythromycin, when used topically, may also help reduce acne inflammation. Because of the possibility of bacterial resistance, antibiotics are often used in conjunction with other antimicrobials, such as benzoyl peroxide, to prevent bacteria from becoming resistant to the medication.

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