Over the counter, sometimes referred to as otc for short, products are starting to become an increasingly popular alternative to prescription medication in the treatment of acne.
These products are readily available as you don't need a prescription from your doctor to buy them and for people with mild to moderate forms of acne the best over the counter treatments will be just as effective as the more expensive prescribed ones.
Besides being cheaper, these products often have little, or no side effects, in comparison to some of the highly publicised prescribed antibiotic drugs used by doctors.
Although there are lots of over the counter acne products on sale, really there are only two kinds of treatments available - either medicated or natural. Both types utilise basically the same technique by using a drying agent to exfoliate the skin and to combat the acne and pimples.
Usually, in the case of a medicated product, this is either benzoyl peroxide, salycic acid or glycolic acid. Natural products tend to use combinations of ingredients and plant extracts like vitamin E, tea tree oil, aloe vera, witch hazel, green tea extract, cucumber etc.
There seems to be a growing number of different treatments but usually over the counter products come in the form of topical cleansers, soaps, washes, lotions, creams, gels or even pads and patches that are applied onto the skin.
When using these kind of preparations it is important, that you cover all of the area where you have acne because then you will also be treating the hidden blemishes that you can’t yet see as well as the acne breakouts that you can.
Expect some trials and errors as you experiment with the different treatments available, it may take you a while before you find the right type or combination of products that work for you. Whatever you do, don’t use more than one treatment at a time, particularly with medicated products, discontinue one before you try out another.
When you are trying a new product give it enough time to start working before discarding it to try something else. Typically you may need to use it for six to eight weeks before you notice any real progress but, of course, this depends upon the severity of your acne and your skin type, some people see improvements after only a few weeks.
After you have found the perfect skin care products that suit you and are providing good results, you may find that you will need to continue your treatments to keep your acne in check. This is because acne is a chronic (meaning long-term) skin disorder and it is possible that once you stop using your treatments the acne could reoccur.
To get the best out of any over the counter acne products you need to use them consistently and correctly. This may be common sense but do read the labels and make sure you use them in line with the instructions given! If you don’t you risk causing damage to your skin and doing more harm than good, this is especially true if you have sensitive skin.
The over the counter products that are available, whether medicated or natural, do successfully treat most forms of acne. Unfortunately, there are always exceptions to the rule and there are some types of acne that will not respond to these type of treatments. If this happens to you and nothing you try is helping your condition then seek the help of your doctor or dermatologist.
Source: Elaine Clay