Over The Counter drugs for Acne Vulgaris

Most of the over the counter medications contain certain specific agents such as follows:1–4
  • Salicylic acid.
  • Benzoyl peroxide.
  • Sulfur.
  • Resorcinol.

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These medications work by various mechanisms such as killing the bacteria, decreasing the oil content in the glands or causing the skin to peel. These medicated creams or lotions may have to be applied regularly for a period of 4–6 months for maximum benefit. The medications are available as a single ingredient or a combination of 1 or 2 drugs.

Benzoyl Peroxide (Clearasil maximum strength)

Benzoyl peroxideis available as

  • 2.5 / 5 / 10% liquid.
  • 5 / 10% lotion.
  • 5 / 10% gel.
Application of Benzoyl Peroxide: To be applied to affected areas once- or twice-daily.

Side-Effectsof Benzoyl Peroxide: Drying of skin.

Salicylic Acid (Clearasil maximum strength cleansing pads)

Salicylic acidis available as

  • 2% cleansing pads.
  • 2% cream.
Application of Salicylic acid: To be applied to affected areas once- or twice-daily.
Side-Effects of Salicylic acid: Skin dryness and irritation.

Sulfur (Clearasil Adult Care)

Sulfur is available as 5% lotion.

Application of Sulfur: To be applied to affected areas once- or twice-daily. 

Side-Effects of Sulfur: Skin discoloration. Displeasing odor.

Resorcinol (Clearasil Adult Care)

Application of Resorcinol: Apply small amount once daily before bedtime.

Side-Effects of Resorcinol: Redness/peeling of skin, Skin irritation.

Written by: Healthplus24 team
Date last modified: March 21, 2012

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