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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 How Does Jessner's Solution Help Clear Acne? Jessner's solution is a different type of chemical peel for acne because it combines three ingredients: (1) 14% salicylic acid, (2) 14% resorcinol, and (3) 14% lactic acid. Another thing that makes it different is that it is applied in coats. It works, but perhaps not as well as other peels. June 09, 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 shown promise in acne treatment. However, we have no research directly looking at yogurt and acne. It could help, but probably not dramatically. 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
Acne Treatments Genetic Treatments for Acne Because acne is a so-called multifactorial disease, there is most likely not a single gene that causes it. For this reason, treating acne through gene therapy would be a difficult challenge, and no current treatments are in development. January 05, 2021
Acne Treatments Does Triclosan Help With Acne? Triclosan kills/inhibits bacteria and reduces inflammation. Since acne is in part a bacterial and inflammatory disease, it is intriguing. However, since its efficacy is limited and concerns abound regarding its ability to create strains of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, it is infrequently used. December 24, 2020