What is the Best over the Counter Acne Treatment?

My skin is super sensitive and something like benzyl peroxide just doesnt work for me. Any suggestions on a mild effective acne treatment?

Doctor Answers 3

Re: Best Over the Counter Acne Treatment

Over the counter acne treatments can only affect the surface of your skin.
Benzoyl Peroxide is intended to kill bacteria.


If you are not seeing results, you may want to look for other types of active ingredients which address the shedding of dead skin cells.

Salicylic acid slows the rate that your skin cells shed inside the hair follicles.

Alpha hydroxyl acid can help combat the buildup of dead skin cells.

Sulfur can also help get rid of dead skin cells.


However, most people who have persistent forms of acne may need to see a dermatologist to address very specific physiological causes behind their condition.  Here is an example of a patient who underwent laser treatment for acne and acne scars.


Redondo Beach Dermatologic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

Over the counter products for acne

I would look for products that contain glycolic acid or retinol or salicylic acid. That said, you can also try short contact treatments with benzoyl peroxide (BP) such as applying a thin layer of BP on your problem areas, then washing off after 3 minutes with a mild cleanser, and immediately using a non-comedogenic moisturizer.

Benjamin Barankin, MD, FRCPC
Toronto Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 49 reviews

OTC acne treatments

OTC acne treatments offer minimal results because they can't contain over a certain percentage of active ingredients. There are Rx medications, orals and topicals, made that would be better for you. Seek an appointment with a dermatologist for an evaluation.

F. Victor Rueckl, MD
Las Vegas Dermatologist
4.6 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.