Typical Acne Treatments
Salicylic acid is another common ingredient in over-the-counter (OTC) acne treatments. It works by clearing the skin of dead skin cells that can combine with sebum and cause blackheads, whiteheads and other forms of acne.
Unless these dead skin cells are removed they will mix with the oily sebum that the skin produces and clog the pores. These clogged pores are breeding grounds for the bacteria that causes the redness and swelling of pimples.
Acne treatments containing salicylic acid should be used even after the acne has cleared up to prevent further outbreaks. If it causes the skin to be irritated or excessively dry, cut back on the frequency of application.
Best acne and acne scar treatment
Beside the two most popular ingredients – benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid – other acne treatments may contain resorcinol and/or sulphur. Resorcinol makes the top layer of skin peel off. This effectively eliminates the dead skin cells which contribute to clogged pores.
Several acne treatments combine resorcinol and sulphur. We don’t know exactly how sulphur works, but it has been used in acne treatments for more than 60 years and is known to be effective.
Sulphur can also be combined with other acne medications such as salicylate acid and benzoyl peroxide. It is effective on its own but is rarely used this way because of its strong, offensive odor. Some dermatologists may prescribe a sulphur solution that is applied to the skin and then rinsed off.
Of all these acne treatments, the most common for OTC acne treatments is benzoyl peroxide because it can be used in a variety of products. It is found in lotions and creams that are applied directly to the skin as well as cleaning products such as bars and liquids.
An acne treatment containing benzoyl peroxide should be applied directly to the pimples themselves as well as the surrounding skin. Benzoyl peroxide will irritate the eyes, mouth, and nose, so if accidentally gets into these areas it should be rinsed off with clear cold water.