What ingredients should I look for in over-the-counter acne treatment?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
The most common over-the-counter treatments include benzoyl peroxide as the active ingredient. Benzoyl peroxide is effective in removing dead skin cells and in eliminating bacteria on the skin. Other ingredients focus on shedding dead skin that can result in clogged pores.

When it comes to over-the-counter topical acne treatments, there's a wide variety of choices available. Some of the most effective treatments contain benzoyl peroxide, which is a chemical that kills bacteria. Other non-prescription treatments often contain chemicals that dry out pimples rather than killing bacteria. Some of these chemicals are salicylic acid, sulfur, and resorcinol. These products are generally less effective than benzoyl peroxide, but they can still help clear up mild acne.

Continue Learning about Acne Treatment

How can I get rid of a pimple?
Apply a warm compress on a blemish to loosen the thick oily plug of sebum. Then take two clean cotto...
More Answers
What is a chemical peel for acne scars?
Audrey Kunin, MDAudrey Kunin, MD
A chemical peel involves the application of a high-potency acid upon the skin. The more potent t...
More Answers
How Long Should a Typical Acne Pimple Last?
How Long Should a Typical Acne Pimple Last?
What Topical Products Can Help Treat Acne Blemishes?
What Topical Products Can Help Treat Acne Blemishes?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.