Acne Products

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Question

What acne products are recommended for teenagers?

Answer

Acne control is an ongoing process. Before starting medication for acne, it is important to use preventive measures in the management of acne, including twice-daily face washing with warm water and a mild, non-moisturizing soap. In addition, for girls, trial and error may be required to identify makeup that doesn't worsen the acne. Oil-free, water-based, or mineral cosmetics may be good starting points.

Over-the-Counter (OTC) Medications

In addition to daily cleansing, topical products containing benzoyl peroxide are among the most effective acne treatments available over the counter and are a good first choice. It may take several weeks or more to see the effects of the medication, so the medication should not be discontinued if results are not seen immediately. OTC versions are available in 2.5%- to 10%-strength lotions, gels, or creams. (Benzoyl peroxide products also are available by prescription.)

General instructions for these products suggest that the affected area be cleaned with a nonmedicated soap and dried before the product is applied in a thin layer over that area once or twice a day. Because some people are allergic to benzoyl peroxide, individuals should limit the product application to one area to determine if an allergic reaction will occur. Benzoyl peroxide can bleach hair and fabric, including sheets, towels, and clothing, so care should be taken when applying it.

Other common active ingredients in OTC preparations include salicylic acid, sulfur, and resorcinol. Each of these medications works a little differently, so many of these products are combined to improve acne control.

Prescription Medications

Some people do not respond to OTC medications and choose to see their family doctor or a dermatologist. A number of medications that are available in topical and oral forms, and that are more potent than OTC acne products, are available with a doctor's prescription. As with any potent pharmaceutical agent, these medications should be used only after examination by a physician and under his or her supervision. Commonly prescribed acne medications include prescription-strength benzoyl peroxide, topical retinoids (medications derived from vitamin A, such as Retin-A®, Renova®, or Differin®), and topical or oral antibiotics.

Learn more about acne in our Health Encyclopedia.

View acne products available on Walgreens.com

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