INGREDIENTS IN YOUR ACNE PRODUCTS
There are many OTC acne products and they work in different ways. Some ingredients target the pustules and cysts while others try to eliminate the bacteria in the hair follicle to ensure the reduction and elimination of acne. Some products can have short term effects while others have long-term effects. The following are the most COMMON and yet IMPORTANT ingredients used in acne products:
1. BENZOYL PEROXIDE
Benzoyl peroxide is considered the most active ingredient in acne treatment. It is basically an anti-bacterial ingredient that helps remove bacteria in the follicles. It also has the effect of dissolving comedones which is an early sign of acne. Some products have benzoyl peroxide ingredient from 2.5 to 10% worth. Again, it depends on the severity of your acne. This is recommended for early onset acne and for prevention. Side effects would include dryness and scaling in some and redness and swelling in others.
2. SALICYLIC ACID
Salicylic acid aims to dissolve comedones or whiteheads through the removal of dead cells inside the hair follicles. This in turn prevents the pores from being clogged allowing oil or sebum to pass through unimpeded. It has the effect of stinging and in the first few days of use, it can cause mild redness. Some products have a maximum of 2 percent salicylic acid in their preparation. However, for some people, a stronger mixture can be prepared depending on your skin’s needs.
Isotretinoin can reduce oil or sebum production, soothes the inflammation in the form of pimples, pustules and cysts and can also help unblock the clogging of pores. However, use of this product can also result to side effects such as dryness and scaling of the skin, particularly on the lips.
Sulfur is rarely used alone as a product. This is actually included in acne products as an additional help to reduce acne. They remove dead skin cells and excess oil. A keratolytic preparation has drying effects on the skin. It can also cause soreness, especially at the start of the treatment. If this persists, it is advised that use of the product be discontinued until the side effects subside. A change to a lower dosage can also help.
5. ALCOHOL AND ACETONE
This is a mainstay ingredient in cleansers as well as astringents. They are effective in removing dirt and oils from the skin. They can cause stinging or a burning sensation on the skin. Some dermatologists would advise against using these products on your face if you have severe acne, however, it can prevent the increase of break-outs if you use it regularly at the onset of acne.
Some acne treatment products have antibiotics in them to help kill bacteria and prevent the spread of acne. Some doctors also prescribe antibiotics to help prevent scarring. Antibiotics (such as tetracycline, tretinoin and sodium sulfacetamide) come in oral or as topical medication. They must be taken regularly and within the period prescribed. A more natural remedy is tea tree oil which also has antibacterial properties but is usually in topical form like oils, creams and gels.