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
At Home Treatments
Does Garlic Help with Acne?
*CAUTION: Garlic can burn the skin.* Garlic has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant activity that may help with acne, but no clinical studies have tested it...
April 25, 2020
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
Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs)
How Mandelic Acid Helps with Acne
Mandelic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) that helps exfoliate the skin, thus helping to reduce pore clogging and potentially reducing acne. It penetrates less deeply into the skin compared to other AHAs and has less side effects.
June 16, 2020
Is Benzoyl Peroxide Safe?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has concluded that benzoyl peroxide is a safe and effective acne treatment. It comes with side effects, such...
June 25, 2020
Resorcinol - Everything You Need to Know
Resorcinol is a rarely-found ingredient in over-the-counter acne treatments that exfoliates the skin. It is almost always combined with other medications, particularly sulfur. It is...
July 21, 2020
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