With the never ending selection of skin care products on the shelves today, its difficult to determine which products are best for preventing acne. You can easily spend an entire afternoon in the drugstore, trying to decipher complicated labels. Fortunately, we’re here to do the work for you. Feel free to print out this list and refer to it on your next trip to the drug store.
Which ingredients to look for in an over the counter acne medicine:
Benzoyl Peroxide – This workhorse has long been a staple of anti-acne skin care regimens. Benzoyl peroxide kills the p. acnes bacteria that causes acne to develop. It also helps to clear blackheads and whiteheads. Look for benzoyl peroxide in cleansers and spot treatments. Just to careful to wash your hands well after applying; if you don’t rinse completely, it can bleach fabric. Lower concentrations of benzoyl peroxide (2.5-5%) are sufficient; reaching for the 10% benzoyl peroxide formulation may only contribute to more irritation on the skin.
Salicylic Acid – Salicylic acid is another useful and easy-to-find acne medication. Salicylic acid unclogs your blocked follicles that attract acne-causing bacteria. It can be used for acne prevention, in the form of a cleanser or toner, or as a spot treatment. 2%
Glycolic Acid – Glycolic acid helps to clean out clogged pores and stimulates skin cell turnover. Glycolic acid is available mostly in daily cleansers and at-home chemical peels.
Choose sunscreens and moisturizers labeled “non-comedogenic” or non-acnegenic.” These phrases indicate that the product will not contribute to the formation of acne. Look for these phrases on makeup as well.
Most importantly, if your acne doesn’t respond to over the counter acne medicine within 1-2 months, make an appointment to be treated by a dermatologist. They can prescribe more effective medications for you, in order to prevent permanent scarring.