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The Best Acne Meds

The Best Acne Meds The Best Acne Meds

Finding the best acne medications for your skin is an individual journey, based on various factors, such as your skin type, personal preferences and lifestyle. Over-the-counter remedies are a good place to begin your search, moving on to prescription creams and oral medications for more severe acne. While sifting through the options may be a tedious task, the good news is that many of these products contain the same main ingredients, which makes it simple to eliminate ineffective options.

Over-the-Counter Medications

Over-the-counter remedies for acne encompass a host of products. Facial cleansers, masks, spot treatments and cosmetics are a few examples of the products available to treat mild acne conditions. The best products often contain the active ingredients benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid. Benzoyl peroxide is a mainstay acne treatment, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), useful for killing acne causing bacteria. Salicylic acid is effective at correcting abnormal skin shedding, clearing dead skin cells that clog pores. Both ingredients may cause redness, peeling and irritation. If your skin is sensitive, products with lower dosages of the medicine may be best for you. Individuals with excessively oily skin may find prescription products are better fit.

Oral Antibiotics

Oral medications for acne work internally, clearing acne from the inside out. Individuals with severe acne may find oral antibiotics helpful for inhibiting (sebum) oil production and preventing bacteria from forming on the skin. Medications, such as tetracycline, minocycline and doxycycline, are examples of oral medications commonly prescribed to reduce bacteria and inflammation. These medications may be used in conjunction with topical products like benzoyl peroxide, according to the Family Doctor website.


Retinoids are powerful medications for severe acne. Available by prescription, these medicines may be used in gel, cream or oral form. The gels and creams are applied to the skin daily, increasing cell turnover and causing extreme peeling. Those beginning treatment may find the harsh symptoms unbearable, though the initial irritation fades with continued use and reveals healthy skin. Oral retinoid medications (isotretinoin) are a last-resort drug, used only among cystic acne sufferers, due to the intense side effects, including depression, birth defects and hair loss. Women using the drug must also use two forms of birth control to prevent complications.

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