What are the best OTC acne treatment products?

Which over-the-counter acne products are most effective? Are there any particular active ingredients to look for?

Answers from doctors (1)


The primary active ingredients in over the counter acne medications
are salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide and retinols. There are some
recent studies that support thr use of green tea extract as well.
These are the ingredients I would have you look for. I prefer facial
washes with 1.5% to 2% salicylic washes and to use them 2 times per day.
You will likely not find a product with both retinol or benzoyl
peroxide in them. They can cause dryness and irritation especially
when used together. I would tell you to try one or the other. I like
to try the benzoyl peroxide 5% and use it daily for at least 6 weeks
to give it a chance to work or the retinol 0.5% daily and also give it
6 weeks. If these do not work you may want to see your physician.
Many people think they need to see the dermatologist for acne but most patients will do well going to their pediatrician or family physician.

Answered by LazaDerm Skincare Centre - Sioux Falls (View Profile)

The primary active ingredients in over the counter acne medications
are salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide and retinols. There are some
recent studies that support thr use of green tea extract as well.
These are the ingredients I would have you look for. I prefer facial
washes with 1.5% to 2% salicylic washes and to use them 2 times per day.
You will likely not find a product with both retinol or benzoyl
peroxide in them. They can cause dryness and irritation especially
when used together. I would tell you to try one or the other. I like
to try the benzoyl peroxide 5% and use it daily for at least 6 weeks
to give it a chance to work or the retinol 0.5% daily and also give it
6 weeks. If these do not work you may want to see your physician.
Many people think they need to see the dermatologist for acne but most patients will do well going to their pediatrician or family physician.

Published on Jul 11, 2012


Related Questions for Acne Treatment

Acne Treatment -5 answers
I have small holes on my face that are due to previous pimples. Is there an acne treatment that would help?
See More
Acne Treatment -1 answer
I am 22 years old. My skin is oily, and due to acne I have small holes in my face. Please tell me what I can do.
See More
Acne Treatment -2 answers
I have had ache since I became a teenager. I am now almost 28 years old. Is is ever going to go away? I have tried everything to make go away but nothing has helped.
See More
Acne Treatment -3 answers
I have a dark spot on my face resulting from acne. How can I treat it?
See More
Acne Treatment -1 answer
I get the occasional pimple and a friend of mine said that OTC hydrocortisone cream works to reduce the pimple size and make it go away faster. Is it safe to dab a little on once in awhile for a quick fix?
See More
Acne Treatment -4 answers
I have a lot of acne on my face and I've tried Proactive and a bunch of other acne products (which have not worked), what other possible treatments/products could I try?
See More
Acne Treatment -2 answers
Is it ok to have Laser Acne Treatment once a month during pregnancy?
See More
Acne Treatment -2 answers
I've seen a treatment on TV where acne is basically scraped off the skin's surface. Is this a viable acne treatment? Is it safe?
See More
Acne Treatment -2 answers
I have had acne since I was 14 years old. It has been 8 years, and I still have it. I was wondering if there's anything I can do to improve my facial skin tone and texture. I have various depressions and acne scars. Thank you.
See More
Acne Treatment -3 answers
My acne has gotten worse over the past two years. I have tried a lot of facial washes and I do not know what to do anymore. It is keeping me from enjoying a social life. What can I do?
See More
Get answers from our experienced doctors.
How it works
Acne Treatment -2 answers
I have pimples with ingrown hairs in them when I started shaving. Why is that? Is there any treatment?
See More
Acne Treatment -2 answers
Accutane is not a option for me and I have tried many antibiotics. What are my options for severe acne? I have heard about laser treatment. Does it work? I am 29 and I have dealt with this for 6-7 years now. What can I do besides live on meds forever
See More
Acne Treatment -3 answers
I have whiteheads all over my face and I'm wondering what treatment would be the best for my problem.
See More
Acne Treatment -2 answers
I'm a 21-year-old girl who has small holes in her face and a nose covered with dark blackheads. What treatment can you recommend?
See More
Acne Treatment -1 answer
I'm African-American and I have black scars on my stomach from bumps that used to be there. I tried lemon and a few creams, but none will make them fade. I would like to know what I can do or use to get rid of the bumps and scars. What do you recommend?
See More
Acne Treatment -2 answers
For the past month I have been getting tiny acne-like papules in a triangular area next to my nose spreading to my cheek They only appear at night and in the morning it is relatively clear. I have used steroid creams before. Is it perorial dermatiti
See More
Acne Treatment -3 answers
What should I look into for acne scars on my cheeks?
See More
Acne Treatment -1 answer
I am taking Isotretinoin soft caps (10mg everyday) and Retin-A cream 0.05% to blur red spots caused by inflammatory hyperpigmentation. But after 3 months of using the products, they haven't helped much. Will combining the two with a 30% glycolic acid peel give me better results?
See More
Acne Treatment -2 answers
I am planning to undergo laser treatment for my acne and scars. I am newly married and expecting pregnancy in the next 6 months. Will this treatment affect chances for pregnancy?
See More
Acne Treatment -3 answers
I have pimples that I burst and it formed holes on my chin and on my fore head. I also have scarring. Will laser treatment treat the marks and help me achieve clear skin?
See More
Get answers from our experienced doctors.
How it works

Related Articles

Have specific questions?
ASK A DOCTOR