What to look for in acne creams

Why do certain skin creams, lotions, and cleansers effective? What do they do, what inside them makes them work? That’s what I’m going to tell you today. When you’re out looking around the store for a new product to try, look in the ingredients list to see if it contains these items:

Benzoyl Peroxide: This comes in strengths ranging from 2.5 to 10 percent. This is said to be one of the most effective ways to treat acne, as it is really good at cleaning your pores. However, benzoyl peroxide can cause dryness of the skin, and should be tried in lower percentages first and then gradually increased until you reach a level that is too much for your skin. This is especially true for those that have dry or sensitive skin. I have heard of people that use straight benzoyl peroxide (at around 8 percent) periodically to clean their faces, and liking the results they’ve gotten. The thing to be careful with is that this can bleach not only your clothes, but your hair as well, so be very careful.

Salacylic Acid: This comes in strengths ranging from 0.5 to 2 percent. It slows down the shedding of skin cells (which is one of the main three causes of acne) and can help to clear whiteheads and blackheads. Be careful, as this can cause your skin to sting.

Alpha Hydroxy Acids: When I read about this, I thought it was the coolest thing. These synthetic acids are created from the sugar in fruits. They not only remove dead skin cells from your face, but they actually promote your skin to grow back smoother. This is good news for all of us. It can also help make scars less noticeable. Two commonly found types of these acids are glycolic acid and lactic acid.

Sulfur: You know it from physical science as one of the elements on the periodic table. Now you will know more about it. When combined with other ingredients, such as those listed above, sulfur can help to remove dead skin cells and excess oils. The bad thing is, it can cause dryness and sometimes doesn’t smell very good.

Don’t know which one to try first? Go with the benzoyl peroxide. It generally works well with people with little irritation. Remember to start with a lower strength level and work your way up and/or use it more often over a period of time (generally a couple weeks). If that’s not doing the trick completely, try finding another of the above listed ingredients, but not the same one, and use both. They will have different active ingredients and will target different aspects of your acne. Remember that even though I only give something a week before I toss it doesn’t mean you should. It can take up to a couple months of daily use to see results, and sometimes it gets worse before it gets better. If it takes longer than two months to see results, try seeing a dermatologist for a prescription lotion or medication.

For more information, try checking out http://www.mayoclinic.com, and remember to email me with questions, comments, or suggestions at [email protected]