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Over-the-counter Treatments

When it comes to over-the-counter acne medications, there is one clear winner: benzoyl peroxide. When it is applied properly it can reliably and completely clear the skin. The only other FDA-approved over-the-counter treatments are salicylic acid, sulfur, and resorcinol, all of which come with drawbacks, not the least of which being that none of them completely clear the skin. 

A helper: alpha-hydroxy-acids: Alpha hydroxy acids, like glycolic acid, are not officially FDA-approved acne medications. However, glycolic acid is available over-the-counter in up to 10% strength, and can powerfully exfoliate the skin, increasing the power of benzoyl peroxide.

Latest in Over-the-counter Treatments

Benzoyl Peroxide 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
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
Salicylic acid (BHAs) How Lipohydroxy Acid Helps with Acne Lipohydroxy acid is a beta hydroxy acid (BHA), similar to salicylic acid, but with a much larger molecular size. This means it does not penetrate into the skin as far as salicylic acid, and thus causes less side effects. Does it work for acne? We need research to find out. June 16, 2020
Devices Why Spinning Face Brushes Are Not a Good Idea for Acne-Prone Skin Spinning brushes physically irritate the skin. To avoid acne, it is best to avoid any form of physical irritation, so it is safest to forgo these brushes, even if they are advertised as "gentle." Instead, use only your bare hands and a gentle facial cleanser and wash gently for 10 seconds or less. December 09, 2020
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