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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Benzoyl Peroxide Does Benzoyl Peroxide Cause the Skin to Age Faster? Benzoyl peroxide produces free radicals, and therefore some concern exists that this might lead to skin aging. However, benzoyl radicals may also reduce inflammation, which... April 25, 2020
Over-the-counter Treatments Can Topical Zinc Improve Acne? Topical zinc has not been shown to improve acne when applied on its own. However, scientists consistently keep making new zinc compounds and trying them on the skin, so the possibility is still there that a zinc compound may be beneficial. April 25, 2020
At Home Treatments Can Witch Hazel Help Acne? Witch hazel water is the witch hazel most people are familiar with that is sold in drugstores. It be anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial, both of which could potentially help with acne, but don't expect miracles. April 25, 2020
At Home Treatments Can Topical Green Tea Treat Acne? Topical green tea, also known by its chemical name EGCG, when applied topically to the skin, can act as an antioxidant, protect the skin from the sun, and support wound healing. All of these things can potentially help reduce acne. April 25, 2020
At Home Treatments Can Topical Epsom Salt Treat Acne? Epsom salt is not officially approved to treat any skin condition and no studies have tested it on acne, but due to its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory,... April 25, 2020
At Home Treatments Can Drinking Apple Cider Vinegar Help with Acne? High-glycemic diets may be associated with increased acne symptoms, and drinking apple cider vinegar may help reduce blood sugar spikes from eating high-glycemic food. It may also help replenish antioxidants. However, it is unlikely to work miracles on its own. April 25, 2020
At Home Treatments Can Applying Yogurt to the Skin Improve Acne? Since yogurt is a probiotic and also contains lactic acid, it is possible that it could help with acne. Both probiotics and lactic acid have... April 25, 2020
At Home Treatments Can Applying Toothpaste to the Skin Treat Acne? Even though you may have heard that toothpaste can help spot treat a pimple, it is unlikely to do much good, if any, and flouride-based toothpastes, which make up the vast majority of toothpastes, may irritate the skin, which can theoretically make acne worse. April 25, 2020