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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

Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) How Glycolic Acid Helps with Acne Glycolic acid is the most-used alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) for acne treatment. It exfoliates the skin, helping to unclog pores. It is available over-the-counter in strengths up to 10% and in professionally-administered peels in strengths up to 70%. June 01, 2020
Acne Treatments How Exfoliation Helps with Acne Exfoliating the skin can help keep skin cells turning over, helping to prevent clogged pores. The safest way to achieve exfoliation without irritating the skin is through chemically exfoliating with glycolic acid or salicylic acid. June 01, 2020
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. May 29, 2020
Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) How Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) Help with Acne Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), like glycolic acid, lactic acid, and mandelic acid, help clear acne by exfoliating the skin, helping to reduce the clogging of pores. Over-the-counter strengths are available up to 10% and professionally-administered peels range from 10% - 70%. May 28, 2020
Hyperpigmentation Treatments Handling Hyperpigmentation The dark/red spots left behind after acne can be as irritating as the acne itself, particularly for people with darker skin, but they do fade with time. This page discusses how to prevent these marks and treatments for existing post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. May 28, 2020