Proven Acne Treatments

There are a plethora of acne medications currently on the market. Some of these are prescription medications, such as accutane. Others are over the counter chemical compounds, such as benzoyl peroxide. There are even herbal based acne medications, such as tea tree oil. However, many of them are not as effective as advertised.

Part of the problem with finding the right acne medication is that there is no "one size fits all" when it comes to acne. Different people respond differently to the various medications and treatments. However, there are several acne medications that have been clinically proven to be effective in treating acne, and these are the medications that will stop acne for most people.

Prescription Acne Treatments

Of the prescription medications, Accutane is one of the best. It is a chemical derivative of vitamin A, and is often referred to as the "miracle drug" for acne. Accutane is most effective in the treatment of severe cystic acne, and not to be taken lightly. For some people, the many side effects can be worse than the acne itself. However, this is one treatment that works.

Retin A and Renova are also prescription medications. These are topical derivatives of vitamin A, and are also good at clearing up fine lines, wrinkles, and slight skin discolorations. One of the biggest downsides is sunlight and other topical acne treatments must be avoided while using either of them. However, they are proven to reduce acne.

Birth control pills and antibiotics round out the acne medications most commonly prescribed. Birth control pills are used exclusively by women to help regulate hormones, and therefore lessen the hormonally related acne that many women experience. Antibiotics work by attacking the acne causing p.bateria as it grows deep in skin pores.

Over the Counter Acne Treatments

There are some over the counter acne treatments that work well. The two best are benzoyl peroxide, and salicylic acid.

Benzoyl peroxide works by penetrating the skin pores, and eliminating the acne causing bacteria that grows deep in the skin. Benzoyl peroxide is the most commonly used acne treatment because it is affordable, easily available, and nearly as effective as most prescription medication.

Salicylic acid works by removing the top layers of dead skin cells. This helps the skin renew itself faster, and decreases the chance for pore blockage and a subsequent acne breakout.

Herbal Acne Treatments

The vast majority of acne treatments fall under the heading of "herbal" acne treatments. The reason is because of the lack or regulation for herbal products. This can be very frustrating to the general consumer, because it is impossible to tell which herbal treatment will work to stop acne, and which ones will do very little at all.

Of every herbal treatment available, there are only 2 that are currently proven to stop acne. Tea tree oil will help get rid of acne, and so will green tea cream.

Tea tree oil is an oil derived from one tea tree plant that is unique to Australia. For several hundred years it was touted as a cure all, until penicillin was introduced to fight bacteria. However, tea tree oil has seen a recent revival due in part to study conducted in 1990 that proved it is as effective in treating acne as 5% benzoyl peroxide. Furthermore, it had none of the side effects that benzoyl peroxide does.

Green tea cream has been validated more recently, at the 2003 American Academy of Dermatology conference. It was proven that green tea is as effective in treating acne as a 4% benzoyl peroxide solution. Though the study has not been corroborated yet, it demonstrated that there is another herbal treatment besides tea tree oil.

These are some of the acne medications proven to work. For those who are experiencing acne, any of the aforementioned treatments would be well worth trying.

Greg Podsakoff is a former acne sufferer, and editor of


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