Acne is a rather common skin problem faced by teenagers and adults alike. The humid climate we are living in does nothing but makes it worse. We will never have to worry about getting our hands on anti-acne products, all readily available – everywhere.  But the problem once again lies in finding one which really works for us. That’s why in this entry we’ll take a look at 20 medications proven to be effective in acne treatment.

1) Benzoyl Peroxide

An antibacterial agent, Benzoyl Peroxide allows oxygen to reach clogged pores and effectively cleanse your skin, ridding acne-causing organisms.

2) Salicylic Acid

Found in many acne products, Salicylic Acid is an ingredient that is naturally derived from fruits and plants. It is an exfoliant and able to remove dead skin cells, therefore promoting the growth of new skin cells. It can also penetrate clogged pores, keeping them clean and free from acne outbreaks.

3) Topical Retinoids

Topical Retinoids are derivatives of Vitamin A. It removes acne-causing bacteria and is usually used for treating comedonal acne like blackheads and whiteheads. In addition, it is able to minimize large pores and remove blemishes by exfoliating the skin and preventing clogging.

4) Retinols and Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs)

It has been known that both Retinols and AHAs are able to reduce signs of ageing. Both act as exfoliants and help accelerate the growth of new skin cells. Similar to topical Retinoids, Retinol is also derived from Vitamin A. It helps to reduce wrinkles and increase collagen for skin elasticity. As for AHAs, it can be derived from everyday food like sugar, citrus fruits and milk.

5) Azelaic Acid

Used as an alternative to Retinoids and Benzoyl Peroxide, it is an anti-bacterial agent that can prevent the growth of acne-causing organisms. Commonly found in grain food like Barley, Wheat and Rye, Azelaic Acid is used to reduce swelling and inflammation without causing dryness to the skin.

6) Topical Antibiotics

Generally, Topical Antibiotics work faster and have minimal side effects. The two most commonly used are Clindamycin and Erythromycin. These antibiotics are either used alone or combined with Benzoyl Peroxide. As an anti-bacterial agent, it prevents the growth of acne, blackheads and whiteheads. Moreover, with its anti-inflammatory properties, it helps to reduce swelling from acne pustules.

7) Tetracycline

Propionibacterium acnes (P.acnes) is the bacteria responsible for acne growth. When Tetracycline is used, it is able to penetrate into the sebaceous glands to inhibit the action of P. acnes. Its anti-inflammatory properties allow it to reduce and remove pustules papules. The three types of Tetracyclines include Plain or Generic, Minocycline and Doxycycline, with Minocycline being the most effective in the treatment of acne rosacea. It is advised that pregnant women should avoid any kinds of Tetracycline treatment.

8) Doxycycline

A type of Tetracycline, Doxycycline is used to prevent the growth of P. acnes. It inhibits the protein production which is essential for the survival of P. acnes. Doxycycline also aids in treating acne by controlling the inflammatory reactions that take place around the infected areas. By using Doxycycline, it helps remove blemishes and keep the skin free from bacteria. Other uses include the treatment of malaria, cholera and pneumonia.

9) Minocycline

Minocycline is an antibiotic which cures severe acne problems. Its anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties enable it to inhibit the growth of acne and reduce any redness and swelling. Besides treating acne, Minocycline is also widely used in treating respiratory infections, urethritis and swollen joints.

10) Birth Control Pills

Birth control pills help to control the hormones in our body. Since the cause of acne is due to our hormones, Birth control pills will work for the treatment of acne. It is able to help to inhibit sebum production, thereby preventing any stimulation of oil glands which eventually cause acne. By regulating the production of the hormones, Birth control pills are able to help reduce acne breakouts.

11) Isotretinoin

Also known as Accutane, Isotretinoin is used to treat severe acne which has become resistant to topical or oral antibiotics. It effectively decreases sebum production in the oil glands which is a food source for acne-causing bacteria. Besides that, it also helps to remove dead epidermal cells and free up clogged pores.

12) Photodynamic

When the sebaceous glands start to produce more and more sebum, the sebum tends to accumulate and clog up the pores. This will then allow P. acnes, the acne-causing bacteria, to thrive. Photodynamic therapy makes use of a light source and a chemical solution to remove the acne. The blue light used in photodynamic therapy helps to activate porphyrins(a byproduct of P. acnes), which will then destroy these P. acnes.

13) Dermabrasion

Dermabrasion is widely used for scar removals. It is a non-invasive surgical procedure which helps to remove the outer layer of your skin. By doing so, it helps to speed up the growth of new and healthier skin. Dermabrasion can also be used to remove wrinkles and moles.

14) Sulfur

The keratolytic properties of Sulfur help in the removal of dead skin cells which prevents any pore blockage. When used, it can also help to curb oily skin as well. Its comedolytic properties help to get rid of blackheads and whiteheads. Moreover, Sulfur is also used in the treatment of dermatitis and bacterial infections.

15) Chemical Peels

Initially used for anti-ageing and exfoliation purposes, chemical peels are now gradually used in treating acne. This procedure is usually carried out by doctors and aestheticians and is especially effective in the removal of blackheads and whiteheads. The acid mask used helps to exfoliate and promote the growth of new skin cells. Moreover, it can also be used to slow down the development of wrinkles and even out any skin discoloration.

16) Anti- Androgens

Androgens are hormones that are responsible for causing acne. This is because it stimulates the sebaceous glands which eventually produce a large amount of sebum. Therefore, the consumption of anti-androgen drugs is necessary to inhibit the action of androgens on these oil glands.

17) Hormonal Therapy

When androgens come into contact with oil-producing glands, a large amount of sebum will be produced. This makes your skin prone to having acne. Thus the main purpose of anti-androgens drugs is to reduce the number of free androgens inside the body.  Hormonal therapy can be in many forms and this includes oral contraceptives.

18) Chinese Herbs

In Chinese medicine, the most basic principle is to strike a balance between the Yin and the Yang. As such, the main objective here is to achieve homeostasis. This is essentially the recovery of your body back to its original state. Compared to oral antibiotics, Chinese medicine requires a longer treatment period. For people who dislike the consumption of any synthetic chemicals or find the drugs too expensive, they can opt for the use of Chinese medicine.

19) Ayurveda

It is believed that energy is required for all human activity. The three types of energy include Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Based on this principle, it is said that acne results because of the imbalances of these energies in the body. Thus only when an equilibrium is reached, will you be healthy and be rid of any acne problems. Usually, imbalances are caused by bad dietary choices and lifestyle. So to prevent any acne outbreaks, make sure to live a healthy lifestyle and have a healthy diet!

20) Homoeopathy

Homoeopathy works on the basis that if a substance is able to cause a person to fall ill, that same substance can also serve as a treatment for the other person. There are 6 different types of homoeopathic remedies for the treatment of acne.

21)    Antimonium Tartaricum

This is usually recommended for individuals who have painful and large pustules.

22)    Calcarea Carbonica

As it improves the skin’s resistance to diseases, this is recommended for those who have frequent acne breakouts.

23)    Hepar Sulphuris Calcareum

Normally, this treatment will be used when boils are present. Also, it helps to hasten the healing process of your skin.

24)    Pulsatilla

This is especially useful for teens who face acne problems during puberty as well as women who suffer breakouts during their menstrual period.

25)    Silicea

For chronic acne problems, this will be an effective remedy for you.


With a better understanding of how each medicine works, you are now able to fight off acne more effectively. Be sure to choose a product that works for your skin!



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