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"What are the best over-the-counter acne treatments?"

ZocdocAnswersWhat are the best over-the-counter acne treatments?


My son has mild to moderate acne. he has been using otc treatments but I'm wondering if a dermatologist will really have a different treatment or will cost more money?


As you know acne is a skin condition that can really have a negative effect on a young person's life. This is why we take it so seriously. Treatment for acne can range from simple over the counter medications, to prescription strength doses of those same medications, to topical and oral prescription only medications. If you have failed the typical over-the-counter medications, then it is probably time to see a dermatologist. Acne treatment usually starts with a topical medication called benzoyl peroxide. This can be purchased over the counter or by prescription. It acts to dry up the oily pores and also kill the bacteria that cause the pimples. It is not considered a strong acne medication and thus it does not always work. The next line of therapy is a topical retinoid, or a topical or oral antibiotic. This combination clears up many patients that were not responsive to benzoyl peroxide. As a final straw, there is an extremely effective medication called isotretinoin (Acutane) that works, but does have some side effects. Usually only dermatologists will prescribe this medication. I suggest that you schedule an appointment for your son with a dermatologist for an acne evaluation. The three of you can discuss the type of acne your son has, the treatments he has tried, and what the next best step should be. Good luck.

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