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Some Treatments For Acne

Feb 22,2022 | HISEEK PRETTY

There are so many different ways to treat acne breakouts that it can be hard to figure out exactly which might be the best acne treatment for your skin. Even if you’ve had some type of acne all your life, the pimples we have as adults can be different from the acne we had as teens and can be difficult to clear up, depending on things like hormones, changes in skin type and texture, and scarring.

Keep reading to learn what causes acne in the first place, plus the best acne treatments and acne medications worth spending your hard-earned dollars on.

What causes acne?

For starters, you can’t fight what you don’t understand. So how does acne show up on your skin in the first place? Pimples form when the oil and dead skin cells on your skin combine to form a plug that blocks the pores.

Sometimes the bacteria Cutibacterium acnes (sometimes called Propionibacteria acnes) also gets trapped in the pore, where it multiplies. As the P. acnes bacteria that naturally live on skin overgrow within this plugged follicle, the area becomes inflamed, and this is when you start to see papules, pustules, and cystic lesions.

What actually works for acne?

The good news is that there are a lot of options for treating acne and lots of products and ingredients that work really well— as the AAD points out, today, nearly every type of acne has an effective treatment available. The tricky part, and the part where the help of a dermatologist is always a good idea, is figuring out what type of acne you’re dealing with and ensuring that the treatments you use aren’t going to make a bad situation any worse.

Some Acne Treatments

1. Salicylic Acid

Salicylic acid is the go-to fix for pimple remedies in teens. And cruising through the skincare aisles at the drugstore, you’ll find it as the active ingredient on the majority of products labeled “acne wash” or “spot treatment.” Salicylic acid works by reducing swelling and unclogging pores to help pimples shrink and then disappear.

Salicylic acid also has anti-inflammatory properties to help with inflamed cystic breakouts that can occur when blockages deep in the hair follicles rupture beneath the skin. Although it’s totally fine to use salicylic acid in a face wash, you may find that you have better results when using it as a toner, moisturizer, or leave-on spot treatment because these give it more time to do its work. And keep in mind, salicylic acid can dry out the skin if over-applied, so it may be wise to choose only one product with the ingredient to use every day.

2. Glycolic Acid

Glycolic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) that gently exfoliates the skin, helping to get rid of the dead skin cells that can clog pores. As with salicylic acid, you can find glycolic acid in washes, peels, moisturizers, and serums at your local beauty store or drugstore.

3. Lactic Acid

Like glycolic acid, lactic acid is an AHA, which means it works like a chemical exfoliant on the skin. However, it’s generally gentler than glycolic acid, so it’s a good option for people who want to use an exfoliating acid but have more sensitive skin. Lactic acid is also a humectant, which means it draws water to itself and can be hydrating. So for those with dry or sensitive skin, exfoliants with lactic acid would work well without being too irritating. These products can work for a chemical peel at home.


You’ve probably heard of the benefits of retinoid creams for anti-aging, but these forms of vitamin are also efficient at clearing up acne. [Retinoids] cause skin cells to turn over at a faster rate, decrease oil production, and help skin exfoliate,board-certified. Another benefit: Acne is inflammation, and retinoids are anti-inflammatory.

We often recommends over-the-counter retinol or prescription retinoids to her acne-prone patients. “I find that, compared with other treatments, they are beneficial for not just treating acne but also preventing new acne from forming as they help prevent that initial stage of the follicle getting clogged, They can also help with some of the post-acne [problems], such as hyperpigmentation.

But keep in mind that retinoids can also be irritating, and if you have sensitive skin (or a skin condition like psoriasis, eczema, or rosacea), even an over-the-counter option may be too strong. So it’s important to always start with a retinol for sensitive skin.

Retinol also isn’t a quick fix. It takes time to see results (possibly a few months), and it’s something you’ll have to keep using to maintain its benefits.

Back to Acne Skin Care.