Acne treatment Acne treatment

Over the Counter Acne Products for Specific Types of Acne

Over the Counter Acne Products for Specific Types of Acne Over the Counter Acne Products for Specific Types of Acne

With so many different over-the-counter products used to treat acne, it can be confusing to choose the right product. The Mayo Clinic as well as the American Academy of Family Physicians recommend specific products geared toward different types of acne.

Benzoyl Peroxide

Benzoyl peroxide helps eliminate pimples, also known as postules and papules, by attacking acne-causing bacteria, removing excess oil and helping to remove dead skin cells. Pimples are typically marked by red, tender bumps. Benzoyl peroxide is available in various forms, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians, such as face washes, pads and creams. Strengths can vary from 2.5 percent up to 10 percent. Starting with the lowest strength first is recommended by the Mayo Clinic to prevent possible side effects. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, side effects can include dry skin, contact dermatitis and irritation. Benzoyl peroxide may also bleach clothing, bedding and hair.

Salicylic Acid

For blackheads and whiteheads, salicylic acid works the most efficiently, according to the Mayo Clinic. This type of acne forms at or just below the surface of the skin due to hair follicles becoming clogged with dead skin cells. Salicylic acid helps delay the shedding of dead skin cells. Salicylic acid can be purchased over-the-counter in strengths as low as 0.5 percent up to 2 percent, in creams, washes and pads. The American Academy of Family Physicians urge patients to use this product once or twice per day. Salicylic acid may cause irritation and skin dryness.

Alpha Hydroxy Acids

For those who suffer from inflamed acne, the Mayo Clinic recommends alpha hydroxy acids. Glycolic and lactic acids are used in alpha hydroxy acids. If you have sensitive skin, using this type of product may be the most beneficial as it does not consist primarily of chemicals like salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. Alpha hydroxy acids are also beneficial for those who suffer from acne that may cause scars. Glycolic and lactic acid helps promote regeneration of new, smoother skin in addition to reducing the amount of dead skin cells that shed. When new, smoother skin grows, it helps reduce the appearance of acne-caused scars, according to the Mayo Clinic. Alpha hydroxy acids are sold over the counter, and are available in cleansers and topical solutions.

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