Over-the-Counter Acne Cures


You may think from talking with friends and family that only doctors can prescribe acne cures. That is not necessarily true. Doctors may have medicines that can help, but before you spend the time and money to visit one, you should try these homegrown solutions first.

Soap and water: Cleaning your skin gently with soap and water, no more than two or three times a day, is possibly the simplest of acne cures. It can help remove excess oils called sebum. It may also reduce that oily appearance that acne-prone skin has.

However, there is no evidence that soap and water prevents or clears up acne. Actually, harsh scrubbing, too much cleansing (more than three times a day), and the use of strong soaps or detergents can cause more skin problems in addition to acne.

Benzoyl peroxide: Medicines made with this ingredient are the number one over-the-counter acne cures. Many dermatologists actually also prescribe it to treat mild forms of acne. Benzoyl peroxide has been used to cure acne for many decades, since it was the first medicine proven to work against mild acne.

Experts believe the benefits of benzoyl peroxide come from its anti-bacterial properties, and it can also help to decrease sebum production in some people. You can get benzoyl peroxide over-the-counter as a lotion or a gel. Be careful, though. It can cause excessive dryness of the skin.

Benzoyl peroxide can bleach hair and fabric, too, including sheets, towels and clothing, so be very careful when applying it to your skin. For example, wear an old shirt or nightgown when you apply benzoyl peroxide to your back or chest at night.

Sulfurated lime: These are older acne cures that were also used as a treatment of many other types of skin diseases and scabies. Sulfurated lime came in most of the best skin medications that your mom and dad may have used in past decades.

Resorcinol: This is a major ingredient in today’s skin medications, along with sulfur (see below). As acne cures go, though, resorcinol is not used that often.

Alcohol and acetone: Acetone helps in acne medications as a degreasing chemical. Alcohol helps to kill bacteria. Put together, the two medicines make effective over-the-counter acne cures. Don’t try acetone on its own, since alone it may show no positive results in treating your acne.

Salicylic acid: Salicylic acid helps to fix the abnormal shedding of your skin cells. This may sound gross, but if you have a milder case of acne, salicylic acid makes for awesome acne cures. It can help unclog your pores, removing and preventing breakouts.

Just like benzoyl peroxide, you must use salicylic acid on a regular basis, since it stops working the second you using it. In other words, your poor pores would clog back up again and your dreaded acne would return. Look for salicylic acid in many over-the-counter acne products, such as lotions, creams, and pads.

Sulfur: This agent makes up many of the acne cures that have been used for more than 50 years. Put together with other agents, like alcohol, salicylic acid, and resorcinol, sulfur is still a major ingredient in some of the biggest over-the-counter acne medications still out there on the market.

However, sulfur is not used by itself too often as an acne treatment because it has an unpleasant smell to it. And amazingly, as long as it has been used in acne treatment, experts still aren’t sure how sulfur works on your skin to prevent the development of acne.


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