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

Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner

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

What are the side effects of over-the-counter acne medications?
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MDDr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Any acne medication -- those available over the counter (OTC) or by prescription -- can have sid...
More Answers
Why should I avoid taking my oral acne antibiotic at bedtime?
Dr. Doris Day, MDDr. Doris Day, MD
When taking an oral antibiotic, it is important to know the dose you are taking and how many tim...
More Answers
How can I treat blackheads, whiteheads and milia myself?
A daily face wash with benzoyl peroxide to kill the bacteria is helpful. Use this after your daily c...
More Answers
Who is most likely to benefit from hormone therapy for acne?
Dr. Doris Day, MDDr. Doris Day, MD
For optimal results from hormonal therapy, appropriate patient selection is key. Hormonal therapy is...
More Answers

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.