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Acne Treatments

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.
 

Latest in Acne Treatments

Spot Treatment Does Ice Help to Heal Acne? The application of cold temperatures reduces inflammation, as seen in soft tissue injuries such as sprained ankles. The same is true of the skin. Icing acne lesions should reduce inflammation and hasten healing. It is particularly effective when applied at the early onset of a pimple. June 21, 2021
At Home Treatments Topical Apple Cider Vinegar and Acne Applying apple cider vinegar topically might help reduce bacteria and have antioxidant effects. However, there is no scientific evidence that it does help with acne. If it does work, it likely only works to a small degree. June 10, 2021
At Home Treatments Can Aloe Help Acne? Available scientific evidence shows us that Aloe is unlikely to improve acne. This could be partially because Aloe is unstable once removed from the plant... June 03, 2021
At Home Treatments Can Honey Masks Help Clear Acne? Honey is antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and can help heal wounds. However, we only have one study on honey and acne so far, and while only providing very weak evidence, the study shows that it may not be effective against acne. May 24, 2021
Retinoids Do Topical Retinoids Increase Sensitivity to the Sun? Widely available topical retinoids include tretinoin, tazarotene, and adapalene. All three come with package inserts that warn about sun exposure and recommend sun protection. However, published evidence is scant on this subject. Still, it is always a good idea to protect your skin from the sun. April 19, 2021
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