How to Choose an Over The Counter Acne Medication

by cure on January 26, 2009

There are literally hundreds of various treatments available to reduce acne. There is everything from all natural herbal remedies, to powerful chemical pharmaceuticals such as Accutane.

However, the most commonly used acne treatments in the United States are over the counter acne medications. They are generally inexpensive when compared to prescription medications, and some work very well.

Benzoyl peroxide is the most commonly used over the counter acne medication, and for good reason; Benzoyl peroxide is one of the most effective acne treatments available.

A 5% solution is usually all that is needed to treat acne, and it has almost no side effects for most people who use it. Unlike antibiotics and other prescription medications, Benzoyl peroxide can be used for months, even years at a time, and there are really no long term side effects (including a tolerance) that can be associated with it.

Furthermore, benzoyl peroxide has been compared to some of the prescription medications for acne, and it is nearly as effective as many acne antibiotics. Over all, benzoyl peroxide is the most successful over the counter acne medication.

Natural Acne Treatment

However, there are others that can be very beneficial as well, including salicylic acid. Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid, and it works as an astringent to remove dead skin cells. By removing the dead cells, this helps eliminate clogged pores, as well as help the skin renew itself faster.

Since acne is caused by p.bacteria that builds up in sebum in the pores of the skin, it is very important for the sebum to have a way of draining out of the pores before it becomes infected. Once salicylic acid is used to eliminate the dead skin cells, then the sebum is much less likely to become trapped under the skin and infected.

Salicylic acid is often sold as a makeup remover, but it is most commonly used in acne treatment via stridex pads or oxy pads.

Sulfur is also used in some over the counter acne medications. Sulfur is one of the oldest acne treatments, and reacts with the skin in such a way that it makes it dry, and peel. This works on acne by drying out the Sebum, and therefore, stopping the bacterial growth.

Many soaps and facial cleansers have sulfur in them. Sulfur is effective in getting rid of whiteheads and blackheads. It doesn’t work well against the more inflamed cystic acne. One of the drawbacks is that it can increase skin cell adhesion to the skin, and therefore help cause more pimples in the future. It is best to use a gentle exfoliator when using sulfur to treat acne.

Most Popular Treatment For Acne

Sulfur also has a strong odor, and some people have skin that reacts harshly to sulfur, causing excessive redness and peeling.

Resorcinol is another over-the-counter chemical that is used to treat a variety of skin conditions, including acne. It works by breaking down hard skin. For acne, this means less clogged pores, and faster skin growth. Resorcinol is commonly used with sulfur to treat acne. It is also good for eczema and dandruff.

Because it is a strong chemical, don’t use resorcinol with other astringents or cleansers unless advised by a dermatologist to do so.

These are the most commonly used over the counter acne treatments. For anyone who is suffering from acne, these 4 over-the-counter treatments have a good chance of helping to reduce or eliminate acne.

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Disclaimer: This article is only for informative purposes. It is not intended to be a medical advice and it is not a substitute for professional medical opinion. Please consult your doctor for your medical concerns. Please follow any tip given in this article only after consulting your doctor. The author is not liable for any outcome or damage resulting from information obtained from this article.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Peter Beard April 2, 2009 at 1:03 PM

This post is great – it really sums up some of the treatments that actually have a positive effect on acne. I’ll definitely be back to read more. Acne however is a strange phenomenon and what works for one person, might not work for another. I have found that when all of the above don’t help clear up your skin, treatments like IPL, microdermabrasion and skin peels offer an alternative, natural way to combat problem skin, and these are usually guaranteed to work. Get more advice at

Peter Beard´s last blog post..Acne Treatments on Facebook… the best advice

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My Life Thinking April 23, 2009 at 9:42 PM

Great post like always cure

My Life Thinking´s last blog post..The Woman who Tried to be a Professional Singer for 47 Years

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Nicholas May 14, 2009 at 3:07 PM

Your posts are really relevant to me ! Its teaching me alot as I am trying to start a blog now myself! Please do continue posting!

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Acne August 30, 2009 at 10:01 AM

It’s funny to see people buying the latest acne treatments when all of them contain esentailly the same ingredients. Some of us will never learn sadly.

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