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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

Chemical Peels Chemical Peels for Acne Chemical peels work by exfoliating the top layers of skin. This has been shown to reduce acne. However, chemical peels on their own normally do... March 30, 2020
Anti-androgens Cyproterone Acetate in Acne Treatment Cyproterone acetate is an anti-androgen oral medication, which means it suppresses the production of male hormones. It is prescribed almost always as part of a birth control pill that contains both cyproterone acetate and an estrogen, commonly known by the brand names Diane-35 or Dianette. March 29, 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. March 29, 2020
Antibiotics Are Antibiotics a Good Idea for the Treatment of Acne? Antibiotics provide only moderate and temporary relief when they do work at all, and they come with a plethora of side effects, ranging from uncomfortable to life-threatening. Treatment with antibiotics over longer periods of time can cause dangerous antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria as well. March 29, 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. March 25, 2020
Cortisone Shots Cortisone Shots for Acne Cortisone shots can drastically and immediately reduce inflammation in severe acne lesions. Info on what they are, side effects, and where to get one are explored. March 23, 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. March 23, 2020