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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

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. Fluoride-based toothpastes in particular are a concern because they may irritate the skin, which can theoretically make acne worse. April 20, 2021
At Home Treatments Hypochlorous Acid: What Is It, and Can It Help with Acne? Hypochlorous acid is a weak acid found in many household cleansers and is also found in some topical treatments for skin conditions such as rashes. It has been shown to kill acne bacteria in the lab, and it may also help the skin heal faster. But is it an effective acne treatment? We don't know yet. June 12, 2020
Benzoyl Peroxide What is Benzoic Acid and Can it Help Clear Acne? After you apply benzoyl peroxide to the skin it breaks down into (1) hydrogen peroxide, and (2) benzoic acid. Hydrogen peroxide kills acne bacteria. But what does benzoic acid do? It is hypothesized that it helps exfoliate the skin, reduce inflammation, clear clogged pores, and reduce bacteria. October 20, 2020
At Home Treatments Does Lemon Juice Clear Acne? While we do not have any clinical studies thus far, it makes sense that some of the chemicals in lemon juice and lemon peels might help reduce symptoms of acne. Lemons contain alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), and AHAs help reduce acne, so it might help. April 25, 2020
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