Acne treatment Acne treatment

Cream Treatments for Acne

Cream Treatments for Acne Cream Treatments for Acne

These days, there is no short supply of creams that treat acne. The Mayo Clinic explains that these products basically work in a number of different ways. Some creams reduce the production of oil from the sebaceous glands. Others encourage cellular turnover, which is a shedding of dead skin coupled with the growth of new epidermal cells. Acne creams are also known to kill excess bacteria as well as reduce inflammation. There are even creams that help with all four of these factors that play a role in the development of acne. The type of cream you choose to use is really dependent on the severity of your acne lesions.


Retinoids are one of the most effective forms of treatment, notes the American Academy of Dermatology. These topical medications reduce the size of the obstruction within the pores, which is typically made up of dead skin and excess oil. When the obstruction is removed, inflammation subsides, reducing the size and severity of the papules or pustules accompanying this skin condition. Tretinoin, adapalene and tazarotene are all retinoids available only by prescription. These medications are often used in combination with a topical antibiotic to improve their efficacy.

Benzoyl Peroxide

Another cream treatment for acne is benzoyl peroxide. This active ingredient removes dead skin and excess oil while killing bacteria, which can all help to lessen inflammation of the follicle and improve the appearance of the skin. Benzoyl peroxide-based creams are available in both prescription and nonprescription strength. And just like retinoids, this ingredient is commonly used in conjunction with an antibiotic to improve efficacy.

Salicylic Acid

The Mayo Clinic and the American Academy of Dermatology agree that salicylic acid can also improve the appearance of acne. Much like benzoyl peroxide, this ingredient helps to remove dead skin and excess oil while killing bacteria. However, experts at the academy say that salicylic acid is rarely the first line of defense against this skin condition. It's usually used on sensitive skin that cannot tolerate tretinoin, adapalene or tazarotene.


Acne can also respond favorably to creams containing resorcinol, asserts the Mayo Clinic. Unlike other creams, this agent doesn't do much for excess oil or bacteria. It actually helps to remove the hardened skin covering the acne lesions, which may improve your complexion. However, the American Academy of Dermatology warns that scientific support is lacking for this ingredient. This type of acne cream may not provide the desired results. Acne lesions often clear at a better rate with retinoids, benzoyl peroxide, antibiotics or salicylic acid.


Sulfur-based creams can also help treat acne, advises the Mayo Clinic. Products with this ingredient promote the peeling of skin as well as the drying of excess oil, which can help improve the appearance of acne lesions. Similar to resorcinol, scientific support is lacking for the efficacy of this ingredient, notes the American Academy of Dermatology. Acne often clears at a better rate with retinoids, benzoyl peroxide, antibiotics or salicylic acid.

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