Topical Acne Medicine
Acne vulgaris is a skin disorder caused by the skin’s oil glands producing an excessive amount of oil, which clogs the pores, leading to outbreaks of lesions, or pimples. Most people suffer from some form acne during their lives. Whether your acne is mild or moderate, there are many effective topical treatments available, in various strengths, either over-the-counter or by prescription.
Over-the-Counter Topical Acne Medicines
Benzoyl peroxide is one of the most common over-the-counter topical acne treatments. It is an antibacterial, and kills bacteria on the skin which causes acne. Salicylic acid helps to prevent clogging of hair follicles; sulfur causes dryness, which helps to breakdown blackheads and whiteheads; and resorcinol is used to break down hard or rough skin, which helps in the breakdown of blackheads and whiteheads. Resorcinol is most often used in combination with other acne medications.
Prescription Topical Acne Creams
There are prescription topical medications available that are similar to over-the-counter products but come in greater strengths. Some of these medications include antibiotics to reduce bacteria and anti-inflammatories to reduce inflammation. Prescription strength benzoyl peroxide is also available. Since these medications are stronger than OTC medicines, the side effects can be worse, including stinging, redness, peeling, excessive dryness and discoloration of the skin.
Retinoid creams are derivatives from vitamin A. Retinoids work by increasing skin cell turnover, so new skin cells are formed faster. They also help to unplug clogged pores. This medication is usually used in combination with other acne medicines, such as benzoyl peroxide or antibiotics. Retinoids can cause redness, irritation and dryness. You will need to use a sunscreen while using retinoids since your skin will be more sensitive to the sun.
Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA)
Alpha hydroxyl acids are a class of chemical compounds that are effective in shedding damaged surface skin cells. These acids can be found in various forms, but most commonly they are used as a peeling agent. The acids loosen the substances holding the surface cells together, which allows the dead skin to peel off. The new skin underneath has a smoother texture. The peel can be performed in a doctor’s office or at home, but the concentration of the acids will be much less for an over-the-counter preparation.
Natural Topical Acne Medicines
Some people may prefer to try a natural remedy first. There are options available, although evidence is limited and these remedies have not been proved effective. Tea tree oil is a natural plant product that works similarly to benzoyl peroxide, but does not dry or irritate the skin. It might take longer to work. Zinc is a mineral that can be added to lotions or creams, and has been shown to be effective on inflammatory acne in some patients.
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