If you’ve ever had acne, you know that drugstore acne products are a dime a dozen. OTC products come in every form imaginable – creams, wipes, gels, washes. While they can help your skin, they really only do damage against the mildest forms of acne, and they are not even considered actual “treatments.” If your acne is anything moderate or more, see a dermatologist to find out which treatment is best for you.
OTC ACNE PRODUCT INGREDIENTS
Before you run to the store to snag the product that worked for your best friend, know that your skin may not deal with acne products the same way as theirs does. Some people have very sensitive skin; some have skin that is tougher and harder. The reason there’s such a wide variety of products is that each one is right for a different skin type—that’s why you should read the label to check for key ingredients. Most products have benzoyl peroxide, but you should especially pay attention to these two ingredients:
- Salicylic acid exfoliates, getting rid of the dead skin, dirt and excess oil that causes acne lesions. It can be used on all skin types.
- Azelaic acid sheds dead skin cells, decreases inflammation and improves discoloration caused by bad acne formations. It’s normally okay for sensitive skin, but best to check with your dermatologist.
A NOTE ON EFFICACY V. PRICE
We know you love using it, but put down that credit card! There’s a common misconception that OTC products are more effective at improving acne as their prices increase, but this is actually one of those times that price should not be the deciding factor. What’s much more important is finding out whether the product contains benzoyl peroxide or one of the other ingredients listed above in order to determine if it’s right for your skin type. In short: read the ingredient list, not the price tag.