Acne treatment Acne treatment

OTC Products for Acne

OTC Products for Acne

Acne occurs when sebum produced by the body's oil glands mixes with dead skin cells or dirt and clogs pores. The clogged pores become swollen, red and irritated, and bacteria begin to multiply and increase irritation. Unless acne is severe, over-the-counter products are generally sufficient to reduce sebum, clear the skin and prevent future outbreaks. Numerous OTC products for acne are available, all with different active ingredients. They vary in effectiveness, with most moderately effective against mild cases of acne. To reduce side effects, OTC acne medications must be used sparingly and at the lowest effective dose possible. Always consult a dermatologist before using multiple acne products on the skin.

Products Containing Salicylic Acid

Widely available OTC acne products containing salicylic acid include Murad, Clean & Clear 3-in-1 Foaming Acne Wash, Clinique Acne Solutions, Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash, and Stridex Pads. Salicylic acid OTC medications treat acne by slowing the rate of skin cell shedding, which helps prevent dead cell accumulation and clogged pores. Salicylic acid also helps to break down whiteheads and blackheads. This type of acne medication is typically sold in cream or pad form and may cause skin irritation, drying and stinging. These side effects may be worse when using salicylic acid products along with other acne treatments. OTC salicylic acid is available in strengths ranging from 0.5 percent to 2 percent.

Products Using Benzoyl Peroxide

Common acne products containing benzoyl peroxide include ProActive, Benzaderm Gel, PCA Skin Acne Cream, Clearasil Treatment Cream and Neutrogena On-the-Spot Acne Treatment. Benzoyl peroxide medications are the most commonly used and one of the most effective OTC treatments available for acne, according to the Mayo Clinic. These medications help remove excess oil and dead skin cells from the pores and kill P. acnes, a bacterium strongly associated with acne. When used excessively, benzoyl peroxide creams, gels and washes can cause significant drying of the skin, leading to scaling, itching, redness and irritation. Approximately 3 percent of people experience allergic skin inflammation when using benzoyl peroxide products, according to

Products Containing Resorcinol and Sulfur

Resorcinol and sulfur are typically used in combination with each other in products such as Acnomel Adult Acne Medication, Clearasil StayClear Adult Acne Treatment Cream and Rezamid Lotion. These medications help clear acne by drying up excess oil on the skin and removing dead skin cells to keep pores unclogged. Side effects of using resorcinol and sulfur to treat acne include skin peeling, redness and swelling. Sulfur products may lead to skin discoloration and a worsening of acne caused by increased cell adhesion.

Wipes and Cleaning Pads With Alcohol and Acetone

Tyrosum Liquid Acne Skin Cleanser and many OTC acne pads and wipes contain alcohol and acetone as primary ingredients. Most wipes and cleaning pads sold over the counter to treat acne contain alcohol and acetone. These products remove oil and dirt from the skin to reduce outbreaks and keep pores clear. Using these products, especially in conjunction with other OTC acne products, may cause burning, stinging and irritation of the eyes and nasal passages. The American Academy of Dermatology says that using acetone alone is rarely effective.

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