Best Over The Counter Acne Treatment

Best Over The Counter Acne Treatment

This three-piece set may not be the most comprehensive acne solution available, but we liked the balanced approach to fighting acne while also protecting skin. The Anti-Redness Exfoliating Solution is mostly water, but its 2 percent salicylic acid is enough to eat through oil and slough off the dead skin cells clogging your pores — and it boasts a higher concentration than nearly every other kit we looked at. It sloshes out quickly (so have your cotton balls at the ready), but stroking it over your face and neck per the instructions is pure heaven. It’s cooling on the skin and leaves a lingering tingle that never turns into a burn. Sodium hyaluronate, the super-moisturizing humectant we fell in love with in our review on the best face moisturizer, also caught our eye sitting smack dab in the middle of the ingredients list. Rounding out the Clear Acne kit is the Daily Skin Clearing Treatment, an all-over 2.5 percent benzoyl peroxide cream that also touts calming bisabolol and allantoin to alleviate the dryness and irritation that can crop up mid-treatment. Anyone frustrated with oil-slick skin will also love this part of the regimen — it creates a satin mattifying effect, instantly transforming shininess into a glow. The three-piece set doesn’t come with an SPF, but Paula’s Choice has one in the line, the Clear Ultra-Light Daily Fluid SPF 30+. “Sun protection is really important, especially with acneic skin,” says Townsend. “In many cases, stronger acne products can make the skin photosensitive to the sun.” This isn’t your normal gloppy white sunscreen. Its fluid formula slips over tender skin, doesn’t need a ton of rubbing in, and also leaves a mattifying finish. If you give the Regular Strength kit a try and don’t see the results you want, Paula’s Choice also has an Extra Strength Clear Acne Kit that boosts the Daily Skin Clearing Treatment up to 5 percent benzoyl peroxide (and replaces the sodium hyaluronate in the exfoliant with green tea extract) to give your acne a real kick. But we recommend starting with the regular strength version. “When it comes to strong products, less is more,” Townsend says.
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Best Over The Counter Acne Treatment

Nobody thinks popping pimples is a good idea. But it’s just so satisfying — mostly because you can actually see something happening. Contrary to the marketing promises of “blemish banishers” and “zit zappers,” immediate results are not the trademark of acne treatments, a frustrating truth to anyone suffering through a breakout. And while pimples are personal (your stress-induced spots will look and act differently than your best friend’s breakout), the best acne treatments will include a regimen of products to hit all of acne’s root causes. Our top pick, Paula’s Choice Regular Strength Clear Acne Kit, is a three-part system designed to unclog pores, heal breakouts, and soothe redness. Acne vulgaris is the catch-all term for everything from angry red lesions to tiny white bumps, which are the results of hair follicles and their sebaceous glands becoming blocked and inflamed — how vulgar indeed. Genetics plays a big part in who gets acne and how severely, but each blemish can be blamed on some combination of sebum production, a bacteria called Propionibecterium acnes (P. acnes), plugged follicles, and inflammation. Finding a good treatment is really about finding the right combination of ingredients to troubleshoot each of those issues.
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Best Over The Counter Acne Treatment

The war against pimples can be ongoing, but some of the best acne products on the market can be found at the drugstore — for as little as $1. But between the hundreds of acne treatments out there, how do you know which of these acne products really work? That’s where our readers come in. They reviewed the top drugstore acne products and told us what cured their oily skin, reduced redness and made their pimples disappear for good. So if you’re ready to finally clear your acne and not spend a boatload of money in the process, here are our readers’ tried-and-true picks for the best drugstore acne products. Image via Pinterest
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Best Over The Counter Acne Treatment

Keep in mind that even if some products market themselves toward severe acne breakouts, all the kits we looked at are definitely designed for mild to moderate acne. Dr. Lawrence Green, board-certified dermatologist and assistant clinical professor of dermatology at George Washington University, warns that even moderate acne can be beyond what an over-the-counter treatment can handle, and recommends seeing a specialist. Granted, if you’re in the middle of a breakout, every pimple seems pretty severe (and if your acne feels out of control, you might be desperate to try anything). Good thing the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology published a study to determine if people could self-diagnose their level of acne. The researchers found that, with this handy chart, you can!
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Best Over The Counter Acne Treatment

Acne can come and go throughout one’s life, from the teen years all the way through middle age. The quest to find the best treatment to keep persistent acne at bay is top of mind for many patients. When acne flares, patients often turn to over-the-counter (OTC) products as they are convenient to purchase and inexpensive. Since there are so many OTC products to choose from, dermatologists can help patients navigate the drugstore shelves and select the products with the most effective ingredients for their specific acne symptoms. 
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Best Over The Counter Acne Treatment

No over the counter acne treatment will treat the most severe forms of nodular or cystic acne. Many over the counter treatments, however, are helpful for mild to moderate acne. A few don’t work at all. This article will tell you how to tell good products from bad, and which products are worth the money you pay for them.
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Best Over The Counter Acne Treatment

Nobody thinks popping pimples is a good idea. But it’s just so satisfying — mostly because you can actually see something happening. Contrary to the marketing promises of “blemish banishers” and “zit zappers,” immediate results are not the trademark of acne treatments, a frustrating truth to anyone suffering through a breakout. And while pimples are personal (your stress-induced spots will look and act differently than your best friend’s breakout), the best acne treatments will include a regimen of products to hit all of acne’s root causes. Our top pick, Paula’s Choice Regular Strength Clear Acne Kit, is a three-part system designed to unclog pores, heal breakouts, and soothe redness.
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Best Over The Counter Acne Treatment

Impatience for acne to be better right now usually results in less-than-healthy habits. Your pimples need TLC too. That 2013 study on acne vulgaris found that, in an attempt to dry out acne lesions, patients often use too many products or apply excessive amounts to problem areas, resulting in further irritation and overdrying the skin. Vigorous scrubbing and using harsh exfoliants (remember that St. Ives Apricot Scrub we were all crazy about in the early 2000s?) can make acne worse by rupturing whiteheads and blackheads, and turning them into painful red ones. And remember: No matter how satisfying it is, picking and popping your zits will also increase their inflammation and opportunity for infection. Resist!
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We looked for kits with at least two active ingredients proven to fight acne. There are two big guns used to take down acne (and a few little Berettas), and they are both great at doing entirely different things. Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid that comes from willow bark, which is just to say that it’s naturally occurring and works primarily as an exfoliator, breaking down fatty acids like sebum so your pores don’t clog. (Glycolic acid works similarly, but is less effective.) These acids do their thing on comedones — whiteheads, blackheads, and other non-red bumps. Benzoyl peroxide attacks the P. acnes bacteria. Once it’s on your face, benzoyl peroxide breaks into oxygen and benzoic acid, which rip through the bacteria’s membranes. Sulfur and azelaic acid are less common and less severe alternatives to benzoyl peroxide, which can sometimes leave skin dry and irritated. “I use sulfur-based treatments a lot in adults,” says Dr. Peter Lio, assistant professor of clinical dermatology at Northwestern University. “It’s a good fit for patients who can’t tolerate the side effects of benzoyl peroxide.” All three of these ingredients go after those big red pimples. The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology states that salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide are by far the most common acne ingredients and they’re effective in double-blind studies of patients with mild-to-moderately severe acne. We looked for kits that included at least one ingredient targeting each camp: the comedones and the pimples.
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More isn’t better. Impatience for acne to be better right now usually results in less-than-healthy habits. Your pimples need TLC too. That 2013 study on acne vulgaris found that, in an attempt to dry out acne lesions, patients often use too many products or apply excessive amounts to problem areas, resulting in further irritation and overdrying the skin. Vigorous scrubbing and using harsh exfoliants (remember that St. Ives Apricot Scrub we were all crazy about in the early 2000s?) can make acne worse by rupturing whiteheads and blackheads, and turning them into painful red ones. And remember: No matter how satisfying it is, picking and popping your zits will also increase their inflammation and opportunity for infection. Resist!