Acner.org: Acne treatment

Acner.org: Acne treatment

How to Know If an Acne Product Has What It Claims

How to Know If an Acne Product Has What It Claims How to Know If an Acne Product Has What It Claims How to Know If an Acne Product Has What It Claims

Overview

When you're buying an over-the-counter acne cream or wash, it's important to be certain that the product actually contains the ingredients it says it does. Any product that claims it treats a condition (such as acne) has to follow certain labeling rules that can help you be certain that what you're buying is safe and legitimate.

If you want to know more about the ingredients in a prescription acne medication, talk to your pharmacist.

Determining What's in Your Acne Product

Step 1

Look at the main front label on the product. If it contains words or a phrase that suggest that the product treats acne, such as "acne treatment," then the U.S. Food and Drug Administration considers the product to be a drug. The FDA regulates drugs carefully, so there is good reason to think that such a product is safe and contains the ingredients it purports to.

If the label does not include any phrases or terms suggesting that it treats acne, then it may not be regulated as a drug by the FDA. In that case, there is a greater chance that the product may not contain exactly what it says it does.

Step 2

Look at the product's back label. If the product is regulated by the FDA as a drug, then it typically will include a list of "active ingredients." Read the list of active ingredients. It should list all of the acne-fighting ingredients that it contains. If there is no "active ingredients" list, look instead at the general ingredients list to see if you can find the ingredient you are looking for.

Step 3

If you do not understand the ingredient list on the back label, or do not recognize the ingredient you are looking for, it could be because the chemical name for the ingredient differs from the ingredient name you know. If this happens while you are in a drugstore with a pharmacy, ask the pharmacist about the product and its active ingredients. Another option is to compare the ingredients you see listed to those listed on the Mayo Clinic's list of known acne-fighting substances. Active ingredients that are not on this list may not be effective.

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