Want clear skin? Discover which zit remedies on the market are the most effective to cure pimples for good.
Gena Hymowech 1 / 6
Zits aren’t only for teenagers. In fact, according to a study from the University of Alabama, almost 43% of twenty-something guys and 20% of thirty-something men get acne. While acne damages your skin permanently, it also does a number on your confidence. In your quest for clearer skin, it can be tough to know which pimple-fighting product to choose with so many options out there. Read on to find out about popular zit zappers and decide which solution is right for you.
The Acne Treatment: Proactiv
You’ve seen stars from Katy Perry to P. Diddy to Justin Bieber talking about the skin-clearing powers of <a href="http://www.proactiv.com/">Proactiv</a>. So is there some sort of zit-zapping fairy dust inside those bottles? Not according to some experts. “Proactiv is a good product with great marketing behind it,” says Jessica J. Krant, MD, MPH, FAAD, a dermatologist at the Art of Dermatology LLC in New York. “The Proactiv system contains nothing other than readily available, over-the-counter ingredients such as benzoyl peroxide, glycolic acid, and sulfur.” Proactiv can pin its success partly on celebrity endorsements, and also on the fact that the product instructions train the user to think of acne treatment as a daily system. “Daily use is the real secret key to the success of any acne regimen,” says Dr. Krant.</p>
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The Acne Treatment: Gels That Do Double Duty
Products containing retinoids are popular amongst women, as the ingredient helps erase wrinkles. The acne-fighting prescription gel Epiduo also contains a retinoid-like compound called adapalene—as well as 2.5% benzoyl peroxide. While the benzoyl peroxide kills the bacteria, the adapalene unclogs all that nastiness inside your pores. “The combination treatment resonates with men, who like to have simple regimens rather than apply multiple products,” says Joel Schlessinger, MD, FAAD, FAACS, of Skin Specialists, P.C. and LovelySkin.com. It also appears to be very effective: Studies have shown that Epiduo can reduce acne by about 18 percent in just the first week.
The Acne Treatment: Rosacea Drugs
Medicines that fight rosacea—Oracea and Finacea—are also effective acne fighters. Oracea is a low-dose version of an oral acne antibiotic doxycycline, and works by controlling inflammation. Finacea is a topical medicine made with natural azelaic acid, and works by exfoliating dead skin cells, fighting bacteria, and reducing inflammation, according to Krant.
The Acne Treatment: Tea Tree Oil
If you want to go the natural route, tea tree oil is an old natural remedy that’s becoming increasingly popular for acne. Krant recommends it for mild cases because tea tree oil has natural antiseptic qualities. It also helps fight inflammation and even offers light exfoliation to remove dead skin cells that can clog pores, she says.</p>
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The Acne Treatment: Light Therapy
It may sound futuristic, but you can actually fight acne by showing it the light. “Non-laser light therapies can be very effective for acne,” says Krant. “They’re delivered in different ways, such as blue or red light, IPL (intense pulsed light over a spectrum of several wavelengths), or photodynamic therapy (light treatments boosted by the use of a sensitizing chemical applied to the skin first). They work by killing the bacteria that causes acne in the skin, heating and shrinking the superficial blood vessels in the skin that cause redness and inflammation, or shrinking the oil glands.” For an at-home option, TRIA’s Skin Perfecting Blue Light may help you achieve clearer, brighter skin by zapping bacteria deep within the follicles. The handheld device can be used to treat mild to moderate acne without irritation. ($245; <a href="http://www.triabeauty.com/">TriaBeauty.com</a>).