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What are the side effects of topical treatments for acne?

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Some prescription creams include two or more active ingredients.

The typical side effects from these treatments are mild and confined to the skin. They include stinging, redness, irritation, and peeling.

Retinoid creams can make skin more sensitive to sunlight. So when using these treatments, it’s important to limit sun exposure, especially between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., and apply sunscreen regularly. Protect exposed skin with a long-sleeved shirt, pants, and a large-brimmed hat. Make sure not to get any topical retinoids in your mouth, nose, or eyes.

SOURCES:  American Academy of Dermatology: “Acne.” American Academy of Dermatology’s AcneNet web site: “12 Ways to Get Better Results from Acne Treatment,” “Prescription Medications for Treating Acne,” “When to see a dermatologist,” “Psst...Topical Acne Medication Can Clear Acne,” “Treating Severe Acne.” American Academy of Family Physician’s FamilyDoctor.org web site: “Acne in Teens: Ways to Control It.” American Academy of Pediatrics: “Teen Q&A: Acne.” National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases: “Acne.” FDA.





Reviewed by Stephanie S. Gardner on February 12, 2019

SOURCES:  American Academy of Dermatology: “Acne.” American Academy of Dermatology’s AcneNet web site: “12 Ways to Get Better Results from Acne Treatment,” “Prescription Medications for Treating Acne,” “When to see a dermatologist,” “Psst...Topical Acne Medication Can Clear Acne,” “Treating Severe Acne.” American Academy of Family Physician’s FamilyDoctor.org web site: “Acne in Teens: Ways to Control It.” American Academy of Pediatrics: “Teen Q&A: Acne.” National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases: “Acne.” FDA.





Reviewed by Stephanie S. Gardner on February 12, 2019

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