Acne Treatment Options:
Over the Counter (Non-Prescription)
OTC Topical Medications For Acne:
OTC means “Over-The-Counter”, in other words, you do not need a prescription to buy an OTC product. If you have minimal acne, you can often get reasonable results using these preparations, which are primarily directed at reducing the blockage of pores. In general, these products include cleansers and some topical treatments, such as lotions, pads, gels, and creams that are applied onto the surface of the skin.
There are 2 main categories of topical products available for treating acne that include:
1) Acne cleansers (containing)
- Salicylic acid
- Glycolic acid
- Antibacterial components
2) Benzoyl peroxide
Things You Can Do For Yourself:
- Avoid aggravating factors
- Try medicated cleansers first
- Next, try Benzoyl Peroxide
- If there is no improvement after 6-8 weeks, see your doctor
Application Of The OTC Product:
When you apply topical acne medications, you should apply them to the entire area where you have acne, not just to the visible blemishes. In this way, you will also be treating small microscopic blemishes that are not yet visible to you.
You need to use these products regularly as directed on the label. You will need to continue to use them for a while, typically for 6-8 weeks, before you'll see significant improvement. You may also need to continue to use them in order to maintain the improvement.
Faced With Dryness?
If you notice that your skin becomes too dry or irritated because of the therapy, try the following in order, to allow you to continue treatment:
- Use a mild non-acne cleanser or soap, the acne cleansers may compound the dryness and irritation.
- Use topical products for a shorter period of time, and then progressively lengthen the time of application as tolerated by your skin. For example, apply a topical product and leave it on for 30 minutes a day for 1 week, then increase by doubling the application time every week so that eventually the product can be left on all day or night. If your skin becomes irritated, then reduce the frequency and time the application is left on.
- Consider adding moisturizers that are non-acnegenic or non-comedogenic (does not cause acne or comedones) if irritation persists.
Note: If, after you’ve tried these suggestions, the irritation or excessive dryness persists, you should seek further advice from your doctor.
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