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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

Isotretinoin (Accutane) Is Isotretinoin (Accutane) Overprescribed? Isotretinoin, which many people know as the brand name Accutane®, is FDA approved for only severe cases of acne that do not respond to other treatments. However, it is overprescribed for less severe cases of acne. This is potentially dangerous since it comes with severe side effects. November 25, 2020
Retinoids What's the Difference Between Retinol and Retinoids? Retinol is available over-the-counter and retinoids (tretinoin, adapalene, tazarotene) are only available by prescription (except for 0.1% adapalene which is available over-the-counter). Retinol is weaker than retinoids and comes with less side effects. November 24, 2020