Options for treating your
acne

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over-the-counter

For mild forms of acne, over-the-counter (OTC) products may be suitable.

These include

  • Gentle cleansers
  • Benzoyl peroxide
  • Products containing sulfur, resorcinol, or salicylic acid

Many people with acne try various OTC products. If they don’t work, the best course of action is to see your dermatology health care provider.

prescription medication

In less severe cases, a dermatology health care provider may prescribe a topical retinoid, which is a liquid that you can put on your skin. This is often used in combination with an oral antibiotic and an antimicrobial agent, such as benzoyl peroxide.

For severe recalcitrant nodular acne, however, your dermatology health care provider may prescribe a retinoid called isotretinoin, which is taken by mouth. Isotretinoin is a commonly prescribed, effective treatment for severe recalcitrant nodular acne. Because of a high risk of severe birth defects, isotretinoin is only available under a special distribution program called iPLEDGE.


Talk to your dermatology health care provider about your diet and treatment options that may be available to you.

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Understanding Acne

Consequences of Acne >

Learn about physical and emotional consequences of severe acne and scarring

Understanding Acne

Understanding Acne >

Learn about who gets acne, what causes acne, and the different types of acne.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked
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Get the answers to questions you may have about acne and scarring.

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