Can OTC medications help prevent acne?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)

Many over-the-counter (OTC) products can help control acne breakouts. These remedies are all applied directly to the skin. The active ingredients in most OTC acne medicines are benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, resorcinol and sulfur. They can reduce oil, help remove dead skin cells, kill acne-causing bacteria, and break down the blackheads and whiteheads. Some of these products also contain alcohol, which has a mild effect on degreasing oil and bacteria, but can be very drying. It may take a few weeks to see results but non-prescription acne medicines can help control mild acne when used consistently and correctly. These medicines should be a part of a regular skin care routine that includes gentle washing with a mild cleanser. Consult a dermatologist for more information.

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