There are many over the counter treatment for acne available in market, but with all these range of products its difficult which or how these products works on you. Not every active acne treatment ingredients work the same way, So before you go for the closest pharmacy or store to buy so called “Best over the counter acne treatment“, Its very important to learn how these over the counter acne products work and what ingredients should you look for. We’ll give a short review on these products and some common brand names you choose to buy.
Good for non-inflammatory acne lesions. It is considered moderately effective in the treatment of acne. It is usually used as a alternative therapy to topical retinoid or benzoyl peroxide, as some patients can’t tolerate retinoids and benzoyl peroxide due to skin irritation. Its helps by slowing the shedding process of cells within a hair follicles and further preventing the pores from clogging. It break down whiteheads and blackheads. Sometimes it might cause mild skin irritation for some people.
Dermatologist may use in different concentrations ranging from 0.5% to 10% of SA in the treatment of acne, but concentrations ranging from 3% to 6% are more commonly used for psoriasis, ichthyoses, keratosis pilaris and other hyperkeratotic skin disorders. For wart and Corn removal it can be used in concentration ranging from 5% to 40%. We are talking about OTC, so the maximum strength of SA available for OTC acne products range from 0.5% to 2% , either cream or lotion. Salicylic Acid is an FDA Pregnancy Category C drug, and the safety of Salicylic Acid for breast feeding mother is unknown. But is approved for use in child acne.
Common brand names Containing Salicylic Acid are:
Neutrogena Acne Rapid Clear Daily Treatment Pads
Olay 7-In-1 Anti-Aging Salicylic Acid Acne Cleanse
DDF Acne Control Treatment
Noxzema Anti-Acne Gel
Noxzema Anti-Acne Pads
Oxy Night Watch
L’Oreal’s Acne Response
Benzoyl Peroxide is one of the most common and effective treatment available for acne treatment. Dermatologist usually used as a first-line therapy for treating acne. It helps kill the bacteria ( P. acnes) and also helps unclog pores and remove dead cells, excess oil and reduce inflammation. It is effective against both non-inflammatory and inflammatory acne. It can improves your acne within 5 days but may depend on person to person and severity. Research suggest that fixed-combination products containing Benzoyl Peroxide and a topical antibiotic are more effective than BPO alone or topical antibiotics alone. So if you find improvement with OTC BPO you might want to consult dermatologist for replacement with combination prescription products to get better results.
The usual strength that are available over the counter in the markets range from 2.5% to 10%. Interestingly, Research suggest that 10% BPO has never been shown to be more effective than the 5% concentration. So in this case more is not necessarily better, more concentration means just more side effects. So, if your skin is more sensitive to the peeling, drying and erythema caused by BPO, you can go with 2.5% BPO which is equally effective than larger concentration and is less irritating . It can cause more dryness and more sensitive to ultravoilet ( UV) exposure. So always follow the instruction before use. Also, avoid contact with the clothes and hair as it has a bleaching effect. Its application during pregnancy and breast feeding have not been adequately studied. So it should be used only if clearly needed or as doctor advice.
Common Brand Names containing Benzoyl peroxide:
Glytone 10% Benzoyl Peroxide Acne Treatment Gel
MD Formulations Benzoyl Peroxide 10
Sulfur and Resorcinol
Resorcinol helps control acne lesion and remove dead skin cells and with combination with sulfur together they helps reduce oil and remove blackheads and whiteheads and other dead skin cells. They are usually sold on market with a strength ranging from 1% to 5% to 8% to 10% and may be found as lotions, creams, soaps and ointment. Although some might mind unpleasant odor but side effects are rare beside dry skin.
Common brand names Containing Sulfur and resorcinol:
Clearasil Medicated Blemish Cream
Clearasil Medicated Blemish Stick
Clearasil Adult Care
Glytone Flesh Tinted Acne Treatment Lotion
Acnomel Skin Tone
Night Cast S
Alpha Hydroxy Acid
There are two types of Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) found in OTC, namely Glycolic acid (from sugar cane) and lactic acid (from milk). AHAs possess exfoliative capability by decreasing the deposition of dead keratin cells in the lower layers of the stratum corneum. They also possess ability to break basal layer melanin and increase collagen synthesis within the dermis. Which is thought to be a important role in acne prevention as well as treatment of postinflammatory hyperpigmentation. They are usually available OTC in concentrations up to 10%. They are generally found in the form of creams, lotions, soaps and “peel kits”.
Common brand names Containing Alpha Hydroxy Acid:
MD Skincare Alpha Beta Daily Face Peel
Neutrogena Advanced Solutions Complete Acne Therapy System
DCL Alpha Hydroxy Beta Hydroxy Acne Gel
Bliss Change Your Spots(TM) Acne Gel
Murad Post Acne Spot Lightening Gel
Alcohol and Acetone
For a oily type of skin this Alcohol and acetone in combination with other ingredients as described above may be used. Alcohol has mild antimicrobial properties and acetone removes excess and dirt from the skin. Together they help reducing oil and dirt and unclog pores.
Common brand names Containing Alcohol and acetone:
Seba-Nil Liquid Cleanser
Tyrosum Liquid Acne Skin Cleanser
Glytone Acne Treatment Toner
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is an essential oil of the Australian native tree Melaleucaalternifolia. Tea tree oil has been used in countries like Australia as a topical antiseptic agent for decades and few research studies have shown that it has variety of antimicrobial activities. The efficacy of topical tea tree oil as a therapy for acne has been evaluated in one study and it showed that 5% tea tree oil gel significantly reduced both inflammatory and noninflammatory acne lesions. It was found that although it had slower onset of action then 5% benzoyl peroxide lotion, but the side effects were fewer then that of benzoyl peroxide lotion. Few people may experience allergic contact dermatitis. They are usually sold in combination with other acne medications or herbal medications.
Common brand names Containing Tea Tree Oil:
Desert Essence – Blemish Touch Stick with Eco-Harvest Tea Tree Oil
DDF Benzoyl Peroxide Gel 5% with Tea Tree Oil
Doctor D. Schwab Controlling Mask with Tea Tree Oil
Camella Acne Facial Foam Blemish Treatment Tea Tree oil
GlyMed Plus – Serious Action Skin Gel with Tea Tree Oil
So before you buy any products make sure to look for the ingredients that suits your skin type and don’t just jump to some miracle products that claims to treat your acne within 2-3 days. Its about your look, make a wise choice.
if you have any problem in choosing over the counter acne products or need any suggestion please ask our experts at : DermaTalk Skin Care Advice Forum.