Whether you are a teenager or an adult, dealing with unwanted acne can be a frustrating experience. With so many different medications available, how can you know which is the right medication for you? One way, of course, is to try them all and see which works best for you. Another is to look at the properties of each and see which one is more convenient for you to use.
Here we discuss five common acne medications to help you choose where to start.
1. Benzoyl Peroxide
One of the most common ingredients in commercial acne kits, benzoyl peroxide comes in a variety of forms. This ingredient can be found in acne face washes, gels and creams. This acne medication can cause dryness and irritation, so it may not be the best option if you have combination skin that has a measure of dryness already. If you decide to use benzoyl peroxide to treat your acne, try starting off slowly by using it once per day to build up a tolerance to the medication. Increase the amount you use gradually to help avoid skin irritation and redness.
Benzoyl peroxide has a bleaching effect, so be sure to keep it away from clothing and other fabrics that may be ruined by this ingredient.
2. Salicylic Acid
Another common acne kit ingredient, salicylic acid is hailed as being gentler to the skin than benzoyl peroxide because it doesn’t have the same drying effect. You can often find salicylic acid in astringents, creams and body or face washes. Some people are extremely sensitive to salicylic acid and actually find their skin appears worse or they develop swelling if they use it. Stop using salicylic acid medications if you start having adverse reactions to it.
If you are looking for a prescription medication for your acne, you might want to talk to your doctor about antibiotics. Antibiotics can be taken orally or applied topically to areas prone to acne, depending on the type of antibiotic your doctor prescribes. Antibiotics can cause an upset stomach and interfere with the effectiveness of birth control pills, so be sure to talk to your doctor about both the benefits and side effects of taking these medications before making your decision.
4. Topical Retinoids
The most widely known topical retinoid used for treating acne is tretinoin, which is sold under the name Retin-A, Avita and Renova. Newer retinoids for acne use include adapalene and tazarotene. Retinoids can come in gel, cream or liquid form that you apply directly to your acne-prone skin. Most retinoids are applied at night before bed, and you can use them in conjunction with other acne medications.
5. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, and can be a natural way to help fight acne by helping to reduce the redness and swelling that accompanies acne breakouts. Aloe vera is not a wash, so be sure to cleanse your skin before applying the gel. One benefit of aloe vera gel is that it can be used for a variety of other situations, including burns such as sunburn. Look for pure aloe vera gel for best results.
Natural remedies, over the counter medications and prescription medications are all available options to treat acne. You might have to try more than one medication before you find the one that works best for you, but these five acne medications are a good starting point for taking care of your skin.