Acne affects millions of people in their teens and even many in adulthood.  Every year, pharmaceutical companies release new acne treatments and medications. Each one claims to work better than their competitor and to stop further breakouts.  Yet no medication can be one hundred percent effective at stopping acne.  If your medicine cabinet is filled with dozens of acne treatment medications that don’t work, you might want to consider the basics of acne care.  These basic products, available over the counter,  are usually forgotten and aren’t as actively promoted as the commercial medications and treatments.  Fortunately, they’re very effective at minimizing and preventing acne breakouts.You definitely should consult a dermatologist or family physician as to what treatment is appropriate for you.  Since there is a wide variety available, it can often be confusing.  Here are a few of the products that you can purchase:

Facial wash or cleanser:  The facial cleanser is used to reduce bacteria growth.  These products are specifically designed to combat bacteria both on the surface and those hidden in the pores.  At the same time, they also contain granules that help to gently exfoliate the skin and remove dead skin cells.  The two common ingredients in face cleansers are benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid.  Benzoyl peroxide is a general antiseptic that kills bacteria.  It is available in varying concentrations as either a facial wash, lotion, gel or cream. Salicylic acid breaks down both blackheads and whiteheads.  It also helps to reduce clogging by reducing the shedding of normal skin.  Like benzoyl peroxide, it is available in different concentrations and comes as a gel, lotion, or medicated pad.  The most popular brand of salicylic acid is Stridex.

Exfoliator or toner:  These come as either gels or creams and help remove dead skin cells from your face.  By removing the dead cells, they help unclog pores and reduce excess oil.  As such, these products are essential for acne control.  Clogged pores are a major cause of acne breakouts.  Depending on the brand, an exfoliator may be combined with a facial cleanser.

Lotion:  Your final step in skin care is applying a lotion.  Lotions should be oil free and are used to moisturize and rehydrate your skin.  Some of these lotions may contain benzoyl peroxide that can reduce inflammation and prevent future breakouts.

No matter which acne medication your dermatologist ultimately prescribes, you can use the treatments listed above to also help reduce breakouts.  Each step is important for helping you to control acne and maintain a beautiful skin.  These treatments combined with a medication can often keep your skin completely clear.  As always, consult a physician before starting any treatment.


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