Is "Over The Counter" Right For You?
One downside of using over the counter acne treatments is that you don't get professional skin care advice based on your type of acne, so you may have to rely on trial and error to find the right treatment.
Another downside to this method of treating your skin is that over the counter acne treatments use relatively low levels of active ingredients. Skin care companies know you'll be buying their treatments without a professional recommendation. They want lots of people to be able to use their products without developing adverse side effects. The problem is that sometimes the formulas aren't strong enough to get stubborn acne under control.
Over the counter acne products contain exfoliating and antibacterial agents such as salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, lactic acid, and sulfur.
These ingredients can be effective at getting acne under control, but you must have the right formulas and use them in the right way.
Even with mild formulas, these ingredients can be very irritating -- causing dryness, redness, or peeling. If used too quickly or in the wrong combinations, OTC treatments will actually burn your skin and make your acne worse.
Another problem is that many over the counter acne medicines are loaded with comedogenic (pore clogging) ingredients to make them feel more comfortable and less irritating. Many of the ingredients used to make products glide onto your skin and absorb without a greasy feeling are very pore clogging. So, while you think you're treating your acne, you may actually be causing more break outs.
Using pore clogging products will sabotage your efforts to get clear skin.
Before you put anything on your skin (including acne treatment products), check the product labels to be sure they don't contain pore clogging ingredients that cause acne.