The Best Acne-Fighting Ingredients

Discovering what acne product to buy can be as confusing as buying a new cell phone. There can be an overwhelming number of options, but for both phones and breakup solutions, you must understand the characteristics of a product before you buy.

To select an acne medication, you must first become familiar with the four basic methods to combat acne. Neal Schultz, MD, a clinical professor of dermatology at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, and author of "It's Not Just About Wrinkles," explains that agents to combat stains act by killing the bacteria that cause acne, exfoliating dead cells They clog pores and eliminate excess oil or decreasing inflammation.


Read on to learn how the most powerful acne treatment products work and to find a solution for your acne.

Over-the-Counter Acne Treatments:

Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHA). AHAs remove dead skin cells that cause clogged pores that produce blackheads and leave skin softer and smoother. They can be applied on the entire face. Types of AHA include glycolic and lactic acid. "All my patients with acne are in alpha-hydroxy acids," says Dr. Schultz.

Benzoyl peroxide. "It's the most effective over-the-counter ingredient to treat acne instead of just preventing it," says Dr. Schultz. "It kills bacteria, removes excess oil and exfoliates dead skin cells." You'll find it in strengths ranging from 2.5 percent to 10 percent in facial cleansers, lotions, creams, gels and spot treatments that fight the pimples.

Clay. 
It is not only for making pottery, but clay is also a soothing ingredient in acne treatments (generally masks) thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties. "Clay helps soothe skin and temporarily reduces oil production," explains Elizabeth Tanzi, MD, a dermatologist at the Washington Institute of Dermatological Laser Surgery in Washington, DC.

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