Acne treatment Acne treatment

Acne Formulation Ingredients

Acne Formulation Ingredients Acne Formulation Ingredients

Acne products are all formulated to achieve smooth and clear skin. However, all skin isn't created equal, which means that every product doesn't work for everyone. Knowing about the ingredients in acne formulations helps users decide which product is right for them because some ingredients are more effective on certain types of skin and treat different kinds of breakouts. These active ingredients are contained in many consumer acne products.

Benzoyl Peroxide

Most over-the-counter acne formulations contain benzoyl peroxide. In addition, it is also found in prescription combination therapies, such as Benzamycin, a medication containing benzoyl peroxide and erythromycin. It comes in concentrations of around 2.5 percent up to 10 percent. According to the American Academy of Dermatology's Acne Net, benzoyl peroxide soaks up excess oil, unclogs pores and fights skin bacteria to reduce breakouts and clear the skin. Washes, creams and gels may all contain benzoyl peroxide. The most common side effect of benzoyl peroxide use is over-drying of the skin, which is more likely to occur at higher concentrations.

Salicylic Acid

Salicylic acid is commonly found in OTC acne washes, creams, gels, toners and masks. It is most effective at treating non-inflammatory acne. It doesn't reduce oil production, making it ideal for people with dry skin who cannot use benzoyl peroxide. Salicylic acid works by promoting even sloughing of skin cells to prevent clogged pores, and it also unclogs already clogged pores. Mild skin irritation or stinging may occur with salicylic acid use.


Some creams and masks formulated to fight acne may contain sulfur as the key ingredient. Sulfur dries up excess oil and clears up existing blackheads and pimples. Unfortunately, sulfur has become less popular as an acne-fighting ingredient due to the strong smell it generates. In addition, people with dry skin should avoid sulfur use because it may cause excessive dryness and peeling of the skin.


Many OTC astringents or toners contain alcohol as one of the key ingredients. Alcohol works to kill the skin bacteria that cause acne. It also soaks up excess oil, and may be ideal for people who tend to have oily skin. Overuse of alcohol-containing products may cause excessive dryness of the skin and mild skin irritation.

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