Do Over the Counter Acne Treatments Work?

February 11, 2012 · Posted in Skin Care 

Over-the-counter or OTC treatments are those you can get without a prescription. Over-the-counter acne treatments became very popular in the last few years because you can get them yourself without having to see a physician. Over-the-counter treatments are a good option for people who have mild or moderate acne. In fact, the really good over-the-counter treatments are as good as some of the better prescribed products.

The most striking quality about the OTC treatment is the low cost when compared to other treatments and products suggested by your physician. Hardly, you may experience any side effect due to the OTC treatments. When you make a proper analysis and compare the side effects of the commonly prescribed antibiotics or acne treatments, you will realize the remarkable difference of OTC and will surely agree on the fact that OTC products for skin treatment are the better choice.

When looking for an over-the-counter product to treat your acne, you are sometimes faced with the fact that there tons of products on sale and you find it hard to choose among them. To make it easier for you, you should know that there are only two types of treatments, a “natural” or a “medicated” one and they both base their treatments in exfoliating the skin to fight pimples and acne trough drying agents.

With regards to medicated products, the drying agent will likely be glycolic acid, benzoyl peroxide, or salicylic acid. However, if you are referring to a natural product, the agent is liable to be a combination of several substances. Some more frequent ingredient selections are cucumber, green tea extract, vitamin E, witch hazel, tea tree oil, and aloe vera.

You can find over-the-counter products in many forms: soaps, pads, washes, gels, creams or lotions. Whenever you use them, make sure to apply them in the entire affected area. Most of the time we just apply them in the visible blemishes but by doing this, we are missing other blemishes that might be just appearing and we will end up having another breakout. So, when you apply these products to your skin, make sure you do it in a uniform way.

Through trial and error you might select various types of natural treatment in order to find the one that give you the best results. Eventually you will figure out which combination works best for you. If you are taking medicine, it can be unsafe to mix the different products. In this case you should always discontinue use of one drug prior to consuming a different one.

Don’t give up on an acne treatment too soon. Use a new product for six weeks to two months before making a final decision about it. Remember, it took a while to develop severe acne, so it will take a while to treat it. If you have light acne, it may take a shorter period of time to see results.

Now, if you have already found an over-the-counter treatment that has been effective for you, you should try to stick with it and use it on a regular basis since chronic, severe, long-term acne might come back if you suspend treatment.

When you purchase medicines without prescription, take care in using them properly. Make sure you have read all the instructions carefully before applying it. If you use them irresponsibly, you might damage your skin which is hard to repair especially if your skin is sensitive.

In conclusion, you should find that a good over-the-counter acne treatment will work well to manage acne symptoms. Whether you choose to use natural treatments or medicated treatments, you should be able to find a product that is just right for you. However, if you do try several products in a consistent and sensible manner and you are unable to find relief for your symptoms, it may mean that you need a prescription medication. In this case, you should make an appointment to see your physician who may refer you to a dermatologist.

Francine Cook is a retired ex-nurse with two
teenage granddaughters who now write articles on acne-related issues. Francine is the chief editor of, a site where you can
find more information on best OTC acne cleanser and moisturiser for acne steps to cure acne


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