Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Over the counter acne medications and how they work

Benzoyl Peroxide: Benzoyl peroxide is one of the most common acne treatments. It can come in a variety of different forms, such as gels, topical creams, and cleansers. It can usually be found in concentrations of 2.5%, but can go all the way up to 10%. It is a mild drying and peeling agent which clears pores and kills bacteria. When using this product, one must be careful not to get it near the hairline or on clothing because of its bleaching effects.

Salicylic Acid: Salicylic acid increases the turnover of cells in the skin. When applied, it will open up pores and unclog them, leaving skin feeling clean and refreshed. As it dries, the pores close back up which causes a tightening sensation, and also prevents the pores from becoming clogged again.

Sulfur: Sulfur slowly oxidizes into sulfurous acid, which acts as an antibacterial agent. It causes the skin to dry and peel which reduces the amount of oil on the skin and prevents pores from becoming blocked.

Resorcinol: Resorcinol is an antiseptic and disinfectant, and is especially useful in treating acne when it is combined with another ingredient such as sulfur. It is very effective against blackheads and whiteheads. It is usually found in concentrations of 2% or less, unless it is prescribed by a physician.

Glycolic Acid: Glycolic acid is very effective at penetrating the skin. It exfoliates the skin by loosening the bonds between dead skin cells to reveal healthy skin. It is also commonly used to reduce the appearance of acne scars.

Azelaic Acid: Azelaic acid inhibits the growth of acne causing bacteria and keeps pores clear. It also reduces inflammation. 

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