Acne Topical Solutions and Treatment


Topical Solutions for Acne Treatment

There are a wide variety of topic solutions that can be used to treat all forms of Acne.  Some of the solutions are available over the counter (“OTC”) without prescriptions; others require a doctors prescription. In general, topical solutions are generally appropriate for milder forms of Acne.  

Acne Treatment With Benzoyl Peroxide

The most popular OTC medicine for Acne is Benzoyl Peroxide.    Benzoyl Peroxide generally works by killing bacteria and reducing inflammation in the hair follicle.  It is available in a variety of forms (liquid, lotion, cream, gel, cleanser, etc…) and generally does not require a prescription.  The main side effect associated with Benzoyl Peroxide use is some skin irritation (including redness and peeling).  

Benzoyl Peroxide can be mixed with Erythromycin to create a medicine that is known as Benzamycin.  Benzamycin must be prescribed by a dermatologist.  One of the main drawbacks of Benzamycin is that the medicine must be refrigerated.  It is generally applied twice daily, as tolerated. Benzamycin can cause skin irritation (including redness and peeling).  

Acne Treatment with Topical Antibiotics

Topical Clindamycin

Clindamycin is one of the most commonly used topical antibiotic for acne. It is available in a variety of forms (solution, lotion, or gel).
It is generally applied twice daily, as tolerated. Generally well tolerated but may cause some irritation

Acne Treatment With Topical Erythromycin

Erythromycin is also a commonly used topical antibiotic for acne. It requires a doctor's prescription. Erythromycin can be combined with other Acne treatments. The exact mechanism by which Erythromycin works is not fully known.

Acne Treatment with Retinoids

Retinoid medications are derivatives of Vitamin A (like Accutane) and is a popular treatment of choice for moderate acne.

Acne Treatment With Tretinoin (Retin-A).

Tretinoin is the best-known topical retinoid, and is marketed as Retin-A, Avita, and Renova, as well as under generic labels. It is available in wide variety of forms (including cream, gel and liquids).

Acne Treatment With Tazarotene

Tazarotene is a newer type topical retinoid. It is marketed as Tazorac. It is available as a gel or cream at 0.05% and 0.1% strengths. It is not available in generic form and hence is more expensive than the other retinoids. Further, it can be very irritating for persons with sensitive skin, causing severe redness and peeling.


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