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Do Acne Creams Really Work?

Who wouldn’t want a clear, bright skin? Most of us do. However, no matter how much we care for our skin, breakouts happen. If pesky acne appears, we tend to search for the most effective way to get rid of them. There are natural remedies, over-the-counter acne medicines, and dermatological procedures available. But there is no one-shoe-fits-all when it comes to skin care. In this article, we will focus on one of them --- acne creams. But first, let us find out what causes acne.

What causes acne?

In order to treat your acne, you need to find the culprit. The first and the worst cause of acne is oil. Too much oil secretion can clog your pores and cause acne. Another cause of acne is bacteria. When dead skin cells and sebum (or oil) clump together and gets infected with bad bacteria called Propionibacterium, acne breakouts will happen. 1

Hormonal imbalance causes acne too. During puberty, a hormone called Androgen spurts causing oil glands to swell. But it is not only for teens. Hormonal acne also affects adults, especially women in their late 20s to 40s. This happens when hormones called estrogen and progesterone fluctuate and cause significant increase in sebum production. 1

Our lifestyle also affects our skin. According to some dermatologist, sleeping late, heavy drinking of alcohol, smoking, and stress can aggravate acne.

Now that we have identified some common causes of acne, let us discuss one of the famous acne remedies, acne creams.

Do Acne Cream Work?

Like what was previously discussed, there are various acne products that can be bought over the counter. Most acne products work by getting rid of the main culprits- oil and bacteria. How do we know if it’s effective for you? Knowing the key ingredients of acne creams can help us understand better its efficacy.

Here are some key ingredients of acne creams:

  • Salicylic acid- This essential ingredient works by eliminating dead skin cells and reduce excess sebum from your pores. 2 It unclogs your pores. It is also anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial.

  • Alpha hydroxy acids.- It is also known as AHAs. Like salicylic acid, AHAs exfoliates dead skin cells. It improves our skin texture, promotes firmness, and lightens the skin. 3 It is best to use AHAs if you want to reduce the appearance of unwanted acne scars. This can also make your pores appear tinier.

  • Benzoyl peroxide- As we have known earlier, bacteria cause acne. So, if you want to eliminate bad bacteria on your skin, try Benzoyl Peroxide. It kills bacteria beneath our skin and unclogs our pores. However, Benzol Peroxide is more drying than AHAs, so it is best to apply this thinly.

  • Sulfur- It has anti-microbial properties that can help diminish acne. Sulfur works best if it is combined with salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide. It is milder compared to other acne creams but it has a “rotten egg” smell that other acne fighting creams do not have.4

There are readily available acne creams in the drugstores but the product that you will choose will depend on the following factors:

  • Skin type: If you have sensitive skin, salicylic acid is a good option. It is milder and does not aggravate other skin conditions.

  • Type of acne: If you have mild acne such as blackheads or whiteheads, salicylic acid works well as it works to unclog pores. But if you have pustules, Benzoyl Peroxide is a better option for treatment.

  • Severity of acne: If you are suffering from mild to moderate acnes, AHAs, and salicylic acid are good options. For more serious pustules, Benzoyl peroxide can help.


Remember, the effectiveness of acne creams will depend on your skin type and the roots of acne. It is best to know what causes acne so you will be able to address it well.

Acne will not miraculously disappear overnight. Patience and time are also needed before you can see significant changes. Of course, coupled with acne creams is a good facial hygiene. Proper healthy diet is also essential, knowing what triggers your acne and avoiding them can lessen acne problems. Taking supplements is helpful too. Natural products such as Hale Naturals L-Glutathione capsules can make your skin glow and acne free.

If none of acne creams works for you, it is still best to consult your dermatologist so they may provide you with the needed treatment.






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