What type of Over The Counter Acne Treatments should I use?


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Acne products range in kind and in ingredients. Often a brand of acne product may put out several different kinds of product, from wipes to moisturisers, with the same basic ingredients. Although there are a huge number of different kinds of product it is often advisable to stick to creams and cleansers. Using exfoliating scrubs on acne is a very bad idea as they can aggravate the skin. Wipes are also not a good move as they generally contain alcohol, which can cause discomfort and drying. The most effective ingredients are readily available in cream, gel and wash form, looking at the ingredients on the packaging or asking your pharmacist for help is the best way to find out what products contain. Generally these ingredients will be Benzoyl Peroxide, Salicylic Acid, Resorcinol and Sulphur. It is extremely important to do a skin test before using any new skin product as people have reported allergic reactions after using products that include some of these chemicals.

There are many reasons people develop acne and this means that a product which works for one person may not for another person. For example Salicylic Acid effectively removes dead skin cells that can clog the pores causing acne. Meanwhile, Benzoyl Peroxide kills the bacteria that can cause acne inflammations. Depending on whether your acne is largely due to an excess of dead skin causing clogs or a result of a high level of bacteria on the skin you may find products containing one more effective than those containing the other.

Benzoyl Peroxide in Over-the-counter Acne Products

Benzoyl Peroxide is probably the most popular ingredient in acne products. It kills the bacteria that can cause acne at the same time as removing the dead skin cells that can contribute to the skin condition. The bacteria Benzoyl Peroxide destroys naturally live on the skin but, if you are acne prone, they can cause black and whiteheads to become inflamed. This causes large, raised lumps called papules, pustules and cysts to appear. The ingredient comes in different strengths and the higher the percentage of Benzoyl Peroxide the stronger its effect will be.

Benzoyl Peroxide has a couple of side effects. It can cause dryness of the skin that can result in visible peeling, flaking, dryness and crustiness. Unfortunately this side effect is part of the way that the product actually works. Limiting the use of the product can reduce its drying effect. Benzoyl Peroxide can also bleach your hair and clothes so being careful when applying it and ensure you avoid the mouth and eye area.

The ingredient is found in most popular acne ranges at a variety of prices. A more powerful version of the chemical is often prescribed by doctors to deal with more severe acne.

Salicylic Acid in Over-the-counter Acne Products

Salicylic Acid is another common ingredient in acne treatments. It is also used to deal with skin conditions such as dandruff and psoriasis as it is very effective at removing excess and dead skin cells. In terms of acne prevention, this means that the dead skin cells, which can clog the pores, are removed.

Salicylic Acid has few reported side effects, though it is said to also cause dryness and to sting when it is applied. You should also avoid using other acne treatments at the same time as Salicylic Acid as they can react badly together, causing your skin to become irritated.

Resorcinol in Over-the-counter Acne Products

Resorcinol is rarely, if ever, used on its own in acne products. Instead it is often teamed up with Sulphur or other ingredients. It is often used because it has the property of combating hard, tough skin. This means it is especially good at cutting down black and whiteheads. The ingredient has the side effects of sometimes causing skin to become irritated and red. It can also cause peeling.

Sulphur in Over-the-counter Acne Products

Sulphur is an ancient ingredient that has been used to treat acne for centuries. It has fallen a little out of fashion in our modern times as it is quite smelly and can cause the skin to change colour. However, it is still used and is actually effective, though often it is combined with other ingredients to mask the smell.

It is particularly useful for getting rid of black and whiteheads as it dries out the skin, which causes it to peel.


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