Indeed many products used to clear or control acne are irritating, cause intense dryness or itching, stinging, burning or peeling! Initial skin reactions , however, do indicate that skin is responding to a repair process. Certain regimens are designed to eliminate a lot of those adverse effects and still gain the optimal results. Consulting a provider that is passionate about treating acne and who carries an up-to-date medical skin product line ( such as ZO Skin Health Care) will be a good place to start to develop a treatment plan that will combine products, peels or laser treatments to control the active acne and the residual adverse effects.
There are essentially only 3 treatments that reduce oil production: laser acne treament (photodynamic therapy), spironolactone, and Accutane. Unfortunately, all of these need to be prescribed. Other options to treat your acne exist since excess oil production is only one component of acne.
Non-prescription treatment options are limited. If you are getting irritated, make sure that you are not scrubbing too much and that you are cleansing and hydrating with basic, non-irritating products.
Most OTC medications can be drying, and also aren't strong enough for more than a small breakout here and there. If you've tried a bunch of things with no avail, it may be best to book an appointment with a dermatologist for a prescription medication.
"This answer has been solicited without seeing this patient and cannot be held as true medical advice, but only opinion. Seek in-person treatment with a trained medical professional for appropriate care."
OTC medications for acne are generally not as good for treating acne as prescription meds, but that doesn't mean they don't work. A lot of otc meds can be drying and irritating, this can usually be reduced by using moisturizers. If you're experiencing irritation even when applying moisturizers, try to decrease the number of times you apply the acne med. When your body gets used to it, you can start to increase the number of times you apply it. Bare in mind that, even with prescription meds, it can take 6 to 8 weeks before you might see results. Many OTC products contain benzoyl peroxide(BPO), which can be neutralized by some moisurizers. So ask your pharmacist for help in picking out the right moisturizer. If you haven't tried a BPO medication, I suggest you get a 5% BPO wash and use it twice a day, with or without a moisturizer. If after 2 to 3 months you don't see any improvement, you will probably need to see a Dermatologist. Explain your financial situation and you might get a break. Another way to decrease cost is to be seen at longer intervals than is usual. Hope this helps you out. jlr