OTC Medications for Acne Treatment – Dr. William Paronish


Come on, it’s just acne… Right!!? Acne is one of the toughest things we daily treat — plain and simple.

Mild early acne can be treated however you want, and usually is. Nearly every acne patient I see in consultation has tried nearly every OTC medication there is out there. I hear daily: ‘It worked for a while, and I spent a whole lot of money on it, but it just ain’t workin’ no more.’

Acne is very, very common, and for the most part just runs its course in adolescence, but, unfortunately, this is critical time in the patient’s life when they are so self-conscious about nearly every little thing and trying so hard to adapt to the physical and emotional changes happening in their world that threaten to keep them from ‘just fitting in’.

We have so much to offer acne patients these days with so many prescription topical medications, oral antibiotic therapies, physical cleansing options, organic topical therapies, hormonal therapies, augmenting therapies such as aldactone, chemical peels, and Intense Pulse Light therapies with modalities such as the Isolaz (which we use in our practice) that I just can’t wait to get started when a new acne patient comes in.

Then there’s adult acne with all its unique challenges that OTC treatments can’t even begin to touch, in my experience. My recommendation without a doubt is: ‘When you want to get serious about treating your acne, see a Doctor who specializes in skin care!’

Visit Dr. Paronish’s website¬† Evolution Medical Spa.

About Over-the-Counter Medications for Acne

A recent Los Angeles Times article, “Come on, it’s just acne” by Dr. Valerie Ulene covered her experience seeking acne treatment for her teenage daughter.

First she described their efforts with at-home and over-the-counter (OTC) acne treatments and pointed out that Americans spend $330 million a year on nonprescription acne remedies.

The article stated that most dermatologists think that non-prescription topical acne medications might be advised for the first line treatment of mild acne, but that only benzoyl peroxide has sufficient evidence to support its claims as an acne treatment. (Others, such as sulfur, resorcinol or “natural” remedies, are lacking this evidence).

Dr. Ulene concluded that in order to combat acne, her daughter needed a dermatologist. Her acne had progressed beyond what over-the-counter products (even good ones) could manage, and that a combination of prescription medications was required to clear up her skin.

“When it comes to anything beyond mild acne, doctors hold the cards. The most effective medications all require a prescription.”