For a quick list of acne treatments and how well they tend to work, check out the acne treatments overview page.
Generally speaking, for most people, proper application of benzoyl peroxide can completely clear acne and keep it clear until it naturally subsides with time.
For people with severe, widespread, and scarring acne, isotretinoin (Accutane®) is an oral treatment that can produce long-term remission of acne in about 2/3 of people, but comes with many side effects, some of which can be lifelong. It also causes severe birth defects, and may cause premature aging and joint pain in the long-term. For all of these reasons, all other options should be exhausted first. If it is used, it must be administered in close partnership with a physician.
Females: If you are experiencing irregular menstruation, particularly if it comes with excessive hair growth, be sure to see your doctor concerning poly-cystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). If PCOS is diagnosed, oral contraceptives are normally prescribed and can clear acne and relieve other symptoms at the same time.
Many other topical and oral treatments exist for acne, most of which produce moderate, yet incomplete, results. Home remedies, aside from a few exceptions, tend to produce little to no results.
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Latest in Acne Treatments
Isotretinoin (Accutane) Does Isotretinoin Help with Acne Scars? No studies have looked at whether isotretinoin (Accutane) can help reduce already existing scars, however, treating severe acne with isotretinoin can clear up the acne... May 08, 2020
Oral Contraceptives Do Birth Control Pills Clear Acne? On average, birth control pills (combined oral contraceptives - COCs) help clear acne by about 60% after 6 months. They do this by stabilizing hormone levels throughout the menstrual cycle. However, they come with risks, so discuss with your doctor before starting on this hormonal therapy. May 07, 2020
At Home Treatments Can an Egg White Mask Help Your Acne? Egg whites are antibacterial, and acne is in part a bacterial disease. They might also help heal the skin to some degree. For these reasons, topically applied egg whites might help reduce acne, but this is yet unproven. May 04, 2020
Devices Why Spinning Face Brushes Are Not a Good Idea for Acne-Prone Skin Spinning brushes physically irritate the skin. To avoid acne, it is best to avoid any form of physical irritation, so it is safest to forgo these brushes, even if they are advertised as "gentle." Instead, use only your bare hands and a gentle facial cleanser and wash gently for 10 seconds or less. May 03, 2020
Isotretinoin (Accutane) Does Taking Oral Isotretinoin Cause the Skin to Age Faster in the Long Term? Isotretinoin (Accutane®) can cause the skin to become more dry in the long term. Therefore, many people wonder if it might make the skin age... April 30, 2020
Acne Treatments How Exfoliation Helps with Acne Exfoliating the skin can help keep skin cells turning over, helping to prevent clogged pores. The safest way to achieve exfoliation without irritating the skin is through chemically exfoliating with glycolic acid or salicylic acid. April 29, 2020
At Home Treatments Zinc and Acne Overview Research shows us that low levels of zinc may be linked to acne. Both oral zinc supplementation and topical zinc application may prove beneficial for reducing acne symptoms. April 27, 2020
Prescription Treatments Which Prescriptions Do Doctors Prescribe Most Often for Acne? The top 10 prescriptions written for acne are (1) tretinoin, (2) isotretinoin, (3) clindamycin/benzoyl peroxide combination, (4) minocycline, (5) adapalene, (6) clindamycin phosphate, (7) doxycycline, (8) benzoyl peroxide, (9) tazarotene, and (10) tetracycline. April 27, 2020
Retinoids What Topical Retinoid Formulation Is Most Effective for the Treatment of Acne? No studies have directly compared all 3 topical prescription retinoids, so we can't say for sure which works best, but from a few head-to-head studies... April 27, 2020