If you have persistent acne, you might think prescription antibiotics are your only hope. While antibiotics can be a lifesaver for those who struggle to control acne and keep breakouts at bay, they also carry some nasty side effects. Nausea, sun sensitivity, upset stomach, and headaches are just a few of the side effects that accompany some of the antibiotics that are most commonly used to target acne.
Over the counter acne remedies aren’t all useless. Multiple active ingredients that are available in over the counter products are actually extremely effective to treat acne–even severe, chronic acne. Before you go down the route of antibiotics, save some money and a visit to the dermatologist by trying out these effective over the counter acne remedies first.
1. Benzoyl Peroxide
If you’ve never tried an over the counter acne remedy before, start with benzoyl peroxide. Benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid are the two most common and most effective active ingredients for topical acne treatment. However, benzoyl peroxide is less harsh than salicylic acid, so it’s safer for women with sensitive skin to use without fear of irritation.
Benzoyl peroxide has antibacterial properties; it kills off the bacteria on your skin that causes acne to prevent future breakouts. It also gets rid of excess sebum build-up in your pores, which helps clear existing acne by unclogging your pores. Topical treatments that include benzoyl peroxide range in strength from 2.5% to 10% benzoyl peroxide.
2. Salicylic Acid
Salicylic acid is one of the most effective treatments for acne. It clears your pores and keeps them from getting clogged again, which thereby reduces existing acne and prevents future breakouts. Salicylic acid can be a more effective treatment than benzoyl peroxide for more severe chronic breakouts. However, it is also much harsher than benzoyl peroxide and can lead to painful irritation and over-drying.
Start with a topical treatment with a strength of 0.5% salicylic acid and increase the strength of the formula you use once you see how your skin reacts to the acid. Some women with sensitive skin never use a treatment with a strength higher than 0.5%, while others eventually use formulas with up to 5% salicylic acid.
3. Oil-Free Cleansers and Moisturizers
The active ingredient here–oil–is one you should avoid, not add to your skincare routine. However, using oil-free facial cleansers and moisturizers can be a transformative remedy for your acne problems. If you have chronic acne and break out frequently, it is very important that the skincare products–especially cleansers and moisturizers that you use every day and even multiple times per day–you use are oil-free formulas.
Products that are oil-based add more oil to your skin, which can lead to sebum build-up in your pores that worsens your acne and causes more frequent breakouts. Noncomedogenic water-based cleansers and moisturizers are a better choice for women with acne-prone skin. These formulas are more gentle on your skin, and they won’t clog your pores.
Proactiv 3 Step Acne Treatment – Benzoyl Peroxide Face Wash
No.1 in Facial Skin Care Sets & Kits