Posted on Jun 22, 2014 in Medical

Acne is a dermatological disorder that is extremely common in adolescents, but can also affect individuals of any age. Many of the people who are currently dealing with acne will seek both prescription and over the counter acne remedies. However due to ease of purchase, lower prices, and expensive insurance premiums, more and more people are turning to acne treatments that are available over the counter.

To choose the best OTC acne treatment to use on your skin, it is crucial that you figure out what type of acne you are suffering from. Is your acne inflammatory or non-inflammatory? Acne that is inflammatory in nature is often red, swollen (inflamed), and painful. Acne that is non-inflammatory include whiteheads, also known as milia, and blackheads. Knowing what type of acne you are dealing with will make narrowing down your choices easier as you can immediately eliminate products that are for different types of acne.

Benzoyl Peroxide

This compound is commonly used in many acne products, both prescription and over the counter. It kills the bacteria responsible for acne, and helps to remove excess oil and dead skin cells that may be clogging your pores. If you have inflammatory acne, you want to go with benzoyl peroxide.

Salicylic Acid

This product acts as a keratolytic agent and mild comedolytic and is perfect for blackheads and whiteheads, also known as non-inflammatory acne. It ha a slight peeling effect that helps to unclog pores.

Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA)

These compounds help to remove the dead skin cells that clog pores while also reducing inflammation. They can even help make acne scares less noticeable.


While it can be tempting to launch a full out assault on your acne using many different products together, this is a bad idea that can irritate your skin. Many acne treatments will dry the skin a bit, so using too many products can lead to extreme dryness, redness, and even peeling. For the best results, start by trying one type of acne treatment, and add another only if necessary. This is even more crucial if your skin is easily irritated or sensitive.