OTC medication for acne – what you need to know

As Reported On health.india.com

You wake-up in the morning and notice a pimple on your face and panic. In an attempt to make it disappear, you use any cream or lotion that promises to get rid of pimples in no time but seldom see the results. This is because you may have used something which doesn’t suit your skin or which isn’t the right lotion to treat it. While acne breakouts are common and there are several products available in the market that claim to get rid of it, it is important to know what works for you and what doesn’t. Trying out multiple products on your skin can further irritate it leading to more breakouts. We ask cosmetic dermatologist Dr Shuba Dharmana about how to select the right over-the-counter acne medication.

Firstly, you need to understand if it is a one-off situation or a frequent acne breakout. If it’s an occasional breakout, use tea tree oil products. If the acne is not severe, pick up face washes that have either salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. After using the face wash, use a lotion based or a serum based moisturiser and follow it up with a non-comedogenic sunscreen that protects the skin as well as does not cause breakout.

In addition to these, many dermatologists also prescribe ointments which are derivatives of vitamin A such as adapalene or benzoyl peroxide or an antibiotic like clindamycin. It could also be a combination of these.

If you wish to use these, remember to apply good amounts of sunscreen after it as many of these ointments can cause skin irritation and redness. Pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers should avoid using adapalene.

Restrict the use of facial scrubs to once a week or less and be extra careful when you have active lesions as vigorous scrubbing can irritate the skin further. You must be careful not to use rich, heavy creams as they can clog up the pores even more.

These medications are commonly available at any chemist’s store. Most of these medications will take about 4 months to start showing results. But if your acne is severe, you may have to get it treated by a skin specialist who can monitor the situation and prescribe stronger medication or treatment. Severe acne is not something that people should start treating on their own. It’s a skin disease that needs to be treated under the supervision of a dermatologist. There is also a risk of developing resistance with improper use of antibiotics hence prescription is necessary from a dermatologist who can monitor the condition.