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.
Only have a few minutes? Check out these articles first:
Latest in Acne Treatments
Can Fenugreek Seeds Help with Acne?
Fenugreek might help with acne by reducing inflammation, fighting free radicals, killing acne bacteria, and speeding up wound healing. However, it might also make acne worse by increasing skin oil production. We will need studies on people with acne before we know for sure.
October 20, 2020
Why Facial Scrubs Are Not a Good Choice for Acne-Prone Skin
Facial scrubs are sometimes advertised as helpful to acne because they exfoliate the skin. However, the physical irritation they cause outweighs the potential benefits.
December 09, 2020
How Close Are We to an Acne Vaccine?
For five decades, researchers have worked toward creating a vaccine for acne. However, technical obstacles abound, which makes the possibility of having an acne vaccine only a potential and distant reality.
December 23, 2020
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.
December 09, 2020
Can Topical Hydrocortisone Help with Acne?
The best advice from the evidence we have is to avoid topical hydrocortisone as an acne treatment. Applying hydrocortisone regularly to the skin may make...
January 08, 2021
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, and antioxidant properties, it may be of use.
April 25, 2020