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Treatments for Acne on Older Skin

Treatments for Acne on Older Skin Treatments for Acne on Older Skin

The treatment options for acne on older skin are similar to those on younger skin. They typically involve a topical medication that helps to control the factors that contribute to this skin condition. This includes reducing bacterial buildup, removing dead skin, drying excess oil and decreasing inflammation, notes the Mayo Clinic. The effectiveness of treatment is often dependant on the severity of the breakout, so you may want to consult a dermatologist before using a given product to treat acne.

Benzoyl Peroxide

One of the most common treatments for acne is benzoyl peroxide. This active ingredient is found in many over-the-counter acne creams. The Mayo Clinic explains that benzoyl peroxide helps to reduce bacterial buildup while reducing both dead skin and excess oil contributing to the acne lesions. It's also found as an active ingredient in prescription creams, coming in higher concentrations and coupled with either erythromycin or clindamycin, both of which are antibiotics. The combined result of benzoyl peroxide and an antibiotic increases the effectiveness of both agents, states the American Academy of Dermatology. Regardless of the strength of the cream, they're applied to the acne lesion and surrounding skin each day for best results.

Salicylic Acid

Another effective cream to treat acne on older skin is salicylic acid. Much like benzoyl peroxide, this is an active ingredient in many over-the-counter acne creams, according to the Mayo Clinic. It helps to lower the buildup of bacteria while ridding the skin of dead epidermal cells and excess oil. The reduction of these three factors cuts inflammation and improves the complexion. However, the American Academy of Dermatology warns that salicylic acid-based creams aren't as effective as other acne treatments, namely retinoids.


Retinoids are topical prescriptions that break up the obstructions within the pores causing acne, indicates the American Academy of Dermatology. This lessens the inflammation producing the comedones, papules and pustules associated with this skin condition. They also help to remove dead skin while encouraging the growth of new epidermal cells, which aids in the rate of recovery. Retinoids are commonly coupled with an antibiotic, like clindamycin or erythromycin, to increase its effectiveness.

Azelaic Acid

The American Academy of Dermatology recommends the use of azelaic acid to treat acne. It holds both antibacterial and comedolytic qualities. This means it not only reduces bacterial buildup, but also helps clear the pores of the obstructions causing the comedones, papules and pustules linked to acne. This is a topical medication used on the acne itself as well as the surrounding skin.


The Mayo Clinic also recommends resorcinol in the treatment of acne. Found in over-the-counter adult acne creams, resorcinol helps to remove the hardened layer of skin over the comedones, papules or pustules found of older skin. Evidence of resorcinol's usefulness in treating acne is limited, states the American Academy of Dermatology. This doesn't mean it won't improve the appearance of the skin; it's just that other products have more scientific support of their effectiveness.


Often used in conjunction with resorcinol in over-the-counter adult acne creams, sulfur has also shown promising effects on acne. This active ingredient helps dry excess oil and remove the surface layer of the skin, which can help clear acne lesions. But just like resorcinol, sulfur doesn't work as well as benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid or retinoids, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.

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