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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

Retinoids Do Topical Retinoids Increase Sensitivity to the Sun? Widely available topical retinoids include tretinoin, tazarotene, and adapalene. All three come with package inserts that warn about sun exposure and recommend sun protection. However, published evidence is scant on this subject. Still, it is always a good idea to protect your skin from the sun. April 19, 2021
Oral Contraceptives Hormonal Treatment for Acne Hormonal treatments for acne help limit the amount of male hormones in the body, which reduces acne symptoms. Hormonal treatments are only for females because they can feminize the male body. Oral contraceptives (birth control pills) are the most common hormonal treatment. April 15, 2021
At Home Treatments Can an Egg White Mask Help Your Acne? Egg whites are antibacterial, and acne is in part a bacterial disease. They might also help heal the skin to some degree. For these reasons, topically applied egg whites might help reduce acne, but this is yet unproven. April 14, 2021
Oils Jojoba Oil Jojoba oil is non-comedogenic, which means it will not clog pores. It is actually not actually an oil, but rather a wax ester that is stable and resistant to rancidity. It is safe to use on acne-prone skin and has a variety of uses. April 07, 2021
Isotretinoin (Accutane) Accutane (Isotretinoin) Isotretinoin, often known by its brand name, Accutane, is an oral medication approved for people with severe, scarring acne. It is the most effective medication for acne, but also comes with a long list of side effects, some of which can be severe and/or lifelong, and causes severe birth defects. March 17, 2021
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