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What should be known about over-the-counter medications for acne?

Even though problems with acne are very uncomfortable and frustrating, they can be treated very successfully with the help of the right products. Still, since today there is a wide range of those products that do not require doctor’s prescription and can be bought in the pharmacies and drugstores very easily, it is not at all easy to choose the one that will give the best results. The price won’t be of much help either, since it is not a guarantee that even those that are the most expensive will provide the quickest and best possible solution. Sometimes, besides the money, the person in question has to invest some patience as well, because it might be necessary to try out several products before finding the one that suits the skin best.

Since the causes of acne are different, and the cause is exactly what should be treated, it is necessary to know whether the person has the problem in question because of the excess oil or because of some bacteria that cause the inflammation of acne. There are products that are successful in treating only one of these causes, but there are also those that treat both causes at the same time.

Over-the-counter acne medications

The most common ingredients of over-the-counter medications that are used in the adult acne treatment are benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, alpha hydroxy acids and sulfur.

Benzoyl peroxide has the ability to destroy P. acnes and to remove excess oils and dead skin cells. Still, even though it is one of the most effective ingredients, it might cause redness, burning and dryness of the skin, especially if it is sensitive. It is also known under the brand names Neutrogena On-the-Spot, Clearasil and Persa-gel. Salicylic acid helps in prevention of clogging of the pores, but it also breaks down whiteheads and blackheads. In some cases, it can also provoke irritation. Some of the brand names are Clearasil Clearstick and Oxy Night Watch. Alpha hydroxy acids are comprised of glycolic and lactic acid and they help in removing dead skin cells, as well as in reducing the scars and inflammation. Sulfur helps in removing excess oil and dead skin cells, but products that contain this ingredient might smell badly.

When it comes to these products, it is recommended to start with benzoyl peroxide, since it is generally tolerated well. Also, those products that are not too strong should be tried out first, and the strength should be increased gradually only if needed.

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