Choosing the Best Over-the-Counter Acne Treatments

how-to-get-rid-of-acne-with-home-remedies-overnightThere are plenty of acne products available over the counter. Most are designed to treat mild or moderate acne, and some work better than others. So how will you find the product that works best for your acne?

Learn more about the way these products work and the best ingredients to choose.

Over-the-counter acne products work in differing ways. Much depends on the active ingredient in their formulas. A quality acne product like Proactiv Plus only use approved ingredients in their forumla – you can read a detailed review of Proactiv+ over at Monicas Beauty. Some target the bacteria that cause the inflammation of acne. Others strive to remove the excess oils that are present if you have acne. Some speed up the removal of skin cells that have died and the growth of healthy, new skin cells. Some acne products use combinations of these targets to clear up your acne.

A few basic ingredients are common to many brands of acne medications. How do they work?

Benzoyl peroxide is possibly the most common ingredient in over-the-counter acne medications. You’ll find it in some prescription formulas, as well. This ingredient kills bacteria that is the cause of acne. It also removes dead skin cells clogging your pores and removes excess oil from your skin.

In some formulas, the strength of benzoyl peroxide used is as low as 2.5%. These are milder products, but they may not help you if you have moderate to severe acne. Acne products may include up to 10% benzoyl peroxide.

Benzoyl peroxide can dry your skin out, and cause stinging, burning or redness. This will be especially true if your skin is sensitive. Benzoyl peroxide should be applied carefully, since it can bleach clothing and hair.

Salicylic acid is gentler than benzoyl peroxide, and is used in some treatments made specifically for sensitive skin. This ingredient will slow the cell shedding within hair follicles, preventing your pores from becoming clogged. Salicylic acid may cause milder skin irritation and stinging. You can select products that contain from .5% to 2% salicylic acid. It is often used for less severe cases of acne.

Lactic acid and glycolic acid are two differing types of OTC acne ingredients known as alpha hydroxy acids. They are made from fruit-produced sugars, and they are known as synthetic acids. They treat your acne by removing dead skin cells, while helping in the reduction of inflammation. Alpha hydroxy acids are also able to stimulate your body to produce smooth, new skin, which will reduce acne scar appearance.

Sulfur is commonly combined with the other ingredients we have discussed. It also removes the dead cells that can clog your pores, and helps in removing excess oils. Sulfur may create an unpleasant odor, and it can also dry out your skin.

How do you choose the most effective acne medication?

The OTC acne product that will work the best in your case of acne will depend on your type of skin, how severe your acne is and how you prefer to treat your skin.

Starting with a product containing benzoyl peroxide makes sense for most people with acne, because it’s usually tolerated and is one of the more effective ingredients. Check the labels of various products to find out if they have BP and if so, in what percentage. A higher percentage will fight bacteria better but will also likely be more irritating to your skin.

Lower percentages of benzoyl peroxide may be the best way to test this ingredient. This will minimize the amount of dryness and redness you experience. You can increase the BP strength if you don’t have good results and also are not bothered by skin irritation.

If your acne is stubborn, you may want to select products that have differing active ingredients, to treat your skin. Use one for your morning application and one at night. You’ll need to be patient when treating acne, too. These products don’t work overnight. You may need a month or more of using a specific product or a specific combination to get optimum results, so don’t give up and start over after only a week or so

Due to the irritation of the ingredients, your skin may look worse for a short while, before it looks better. Use the ingredients that work the best for you. If you don’t see improvement within a couple months you might want to consult a dermatologist to see about stronger medications or other treatment methods.

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