Over-the-Counter Products to Help With Acne
Mild to moderate acne often responds to over-the-counter treatments. Many of these products rely upon salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide to fight acne. Look for products designed for acne-prone skin to help clear your complexion. If your acne does not respond to over-the-counter products or you have severe acne, you should see a dermatologist to develop a treatment plan.
The two most common acne-fighting ingredients in over-the-counter medications work in different ways. Salicylic acid dries excess oil, encourages cell turnover and prevents clogged pores. This ingredient is commonly used to fight blackheads or very mild acne. Benzoyl peroxide reduces levels of bacteria on the skin and acts as an oxidizing agent, according to AcneTreatmentsGuide.com.
Acne.org recommends using a mild, gentle and unmedicated cleanser rather than one with salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. After washing your face, apply over-the-counter acne treatments to all affected areas, not just blemishes. Choose a lower concentration of medication, such as a 2.5 percent benzoyl peroxide cream to reduce side effects. Follow with a light, non-comedogenic moisturizer to keep skin healthy.
Allow six to eight weeks for your acne treatment protocol to begin improving the appearance of your skin and four to six months for significant improvement, according to SkinCarePhysicians.com. Once your skin improves, you should continue using your acne-fighting products to prevent breakouts. If you stop treating with benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid, you may find that your acne returns.
Acne may be the result of hormones, stress, genetics or overly aggressive skin care, according to FamilyDoctor.org. Chocolate, greasy food and dirt do not cause acne. You also do not need to overuse acne fighting products, apply them more frequently than recommended or use harsh, drying products to battle acne.
Over-the-counter acne treatments may cause redness, dryness and irritation. Reduce these side effects by using a light and oil-free moisturizer daily and applying treatment products at least 10 to 15 minutes after washing your face. If severe reactions, such as blistering or crusting of the skin, occur, stop using the products and consult your physician.
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