Acne is in most cases a fairly mild disorder, it is still highly recommended that you consult a physician before attempting to treat it your self. There are many over the counter options for treating acne, most of which can be effective to at least some degree. It is tempting to just run down the corner store and purchase something based on the recommendation of a friend or a successful marketing campaign. You would be wiser thought to consult a Doctor, as they can advise you on the most effective type of treatment for your particular case of acne.There are a very large number of products available to treat acne at the current time. You can always take the advise of a friend that has used a particular product but you have to keep in mind that not all people react to medications the same and not all cases of acne are the same.
There could be some significant differences between your acne and your friends. You will be better able to select the proper treatment for your situation if you have a basic knowledge of the active ingredients in the various acne medications. Benzoyl peroxide is one of the more popular active ingredients found in current acne treatments. It can be found in gels and creams and fights acne with a dual action. First it helps treat the bacteria on the surface of the skin that actually causes pimples. Secondly it helps to remove the dead skin cells and oils from the surface of your skin.
When sebum combines with these dead skin cells it blocks the pores and causes black heads and white heads. Benzoyl peroxide has been determined to be safe in directly treating existing lesions. On clear skin it can be used as a preventative treatment, this will help keep the acne causing bacteria from developing on the skin. The only side effect is a tendency to cause dry skin which can be controlled by reducing the applications.
Care should also be taken because it will bleach out hair and clothes. Salicylic acid is another common ingredient in acne treatments. It works by removing the dead skin cells that accumulate and block the skin pores. Salicylic acid products need to be used even when the skin is clear to keep the acne from re-occurring. The only reported side affect is drying and irritation of the skin in some people.
The two other most common ingredients are sulfur and resorcinol. Resorcinol works by removing the entire top layer of skin which also effectively removes the dead skin cells before they can clog pores. Sulfur has been used to treat acne for over fifty years with significant success despite the fact that it is not known how it actually helps. Sulfur is frequently mixed with other treatments to help them be more effective but is not normally used on it's own because of the unpleasant odor.
Benzoyl peroxide is probably the most versatile of the above ingredients. It can safely be used in creams, lotions, gels and soaps. These products should be used several times a day directly on the pimples as well as the skin around them.
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