Skip to content

    Acne Health Center

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Acne ... Again?

    Just when you thought your "bad skin" days were over, adult acne strikes. Fight back with adult-strength treatment.

    The Solution continued...

    Or you can check out the skin care products aisle at your local drug store. If you've ever tried to buy acne remedies, you know the drug store is loaded with all kinds of products. Which ones should you use? It's not an easy choice, says dermatologist Julie Anne Winfield, Mill Valley, Calif.

    "Which treatment is best depends on which type of acne you have," Winfield tells WebMD. "It may well be worth a visit to dermatologist. They often have samples they could give you to try. People can spend a fortune on over-the-counter medicines when there is maybe one single prescription drug that could solve the problem. Be sure to use oil-free, non-comedogenic lotions or sunscreens. Use something very simple to wash your face with, as well as low-strength benzoyl peroxide. But it would be best to see a doctor to prevent possible acne scarring."

    The biggest breakthrough in acne treatment has been the development of topical retinoic acid, a form of vitamin A. New slow-release forms of this medicine greatly reduce the irritation it can cause.

    Other acne treatments target the various causes of acne. They're often used in combination. These acne treatments include:

    • Azelaic acid cream
    • Alpha-hydroxy acids (including glycolic acid, lactic acid, and gluconic acid)
    • Benzoyl peroxide
    • Topical antibiotics (gels, lotions, and solutions)
    • Antibiotic pills (haphazard use may lead to antibiotic resistance)
    • Birth control pills for women
    • Accutane or Sotret for severe acne

    One caveat: Accutane and Sotret can cause birth defects. Women who opt for this treatment must use foolproof birth control. Despite this and other concerns, these drugs are the treatment of choice for severe acne.

    Originally published August 2003.
    Medically updated June 2006.

    1 | 2
    Reviewed on June 01, 2006

    Today on WebMD

    Girl with acne
    See if you know how to control your acne.
    happy woman with clear skin
    Triggers and treatments for blackheads, whiteheads, and cystic acne.
     
    Bride with acne
    Dos and don’ts for hiding breakouts.
    close-up of a young man soaping his face
    Why adults get acne and how to treat it.
     
    Doctors
    Article
    Boy cleaning acne face
    Quiz
     
    HPV Vaccine Future
    Video
    beauty cream
    Article
     
    Bride with acne
    Slideshow
    Woman applying mineral makeup
    Slideshow
     
    69x75_mineral_makeup.jpg
    Video
    Arrows pointing on teen girl blemish
    Quiz
     

    WebMD Special Sections