ZocdocAnswersWhat should I look for in acne pads?

Question

What should I look for in acne pads?

A while back, I went to a doctor about my acne, and they prescribed some kind of prescription peroxide face pads that would have cost a lot. I didn't end up getting them, and I don't remember what brand they were, but is there probably an OTC version that I could go find now?

Answer

The basic reason for the inflammation of acne comes from plugging up of pores in the skin of the face with dead skin and other debris. This leads to the formation of both whiteheads and blackheads. Most effective over the counter products for treating acne contain one of a series of chemicals known as comedonolytics. Comedonolytics work primarily by stripping off the accumulated dead skin debris, allowing pores to open up and the acne to heal. Probably the three most common comedonolytics available over the counter are benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, and glycolic acid. They all have various side effects, especially staining of clothing and drying out of the skin of the face, but are generally well tolerated. All three are available in different strengths in multiple store brands. At the same time that you are using a comedonolytic, you should also make sure that you keep your face clean and that you perform some daily exfoliation either with an exfoliating scrub or soap or simply by mechanically rubbing your face with a towel. This will also help to remove accumulated debris. If these approaches do not work, then you will need to return to your dermatologist once again to explore the possibility of an affordable prescription alternative.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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