What Is The Best Acne Cream For Your Face?
Before we start, let’s discuss how hydration differs from moisturization. People often use these words interchangeably, but they don’t mean the same thing. The amount of water in our skin is called hydration. Most of the time, rough skin is a sign that your skin is dry and needs water. The water on the surface of our skin evaporates as the day goes on. There are chemicals, like the lipids in our bodies, that help keep moisture in. These are skin lotions. If your skin is dry or flaky, you need a moisturizer to help it hold on to water.
What is a Face moisturizer?
Moisturizer is a general term that can be used for both lotions and creams. The lotion is mostly water with a little bit of oil, some actives, and wax. It goes on easily, gets absorbed quickly, and feels light on the skin. Because of how it is made, the molecules in the lotion are bigger than those in facial oils. This means that lotion can only get to the top layers of the skin. The wax makes a barrier between our skin and the outside world that helps keep water in.
Even though a moisturizer’s main benefit is to lock in moisture, the active ingredients that manufacturers can add to moisturizers are also beneficial. Hyaluronic acid, which is a great moisturizer, is found in many moisturizers. If you want to get rid of dark spots, slow the aging process, or clear up acne, you can easily find a moisturizer with the right ingredients. What does skin type have to do with it? Using a moisturizer can help lock in moisture if your skin is dry. Moisturizers are also suitable for people with oily skin because they are light and don’t make the skin produce more oil.
What is a Face cream?
Creams mix oil, water, waxes, and other good things. They are also a type of moisturizer. Creams, on the other hand, are thicker than lotions because they are usually about half oil and half water (and more powerful). The cream is a better moisturizer than lotion, so you only need to use it once a day instead of twice. People with dehydrated skin are told to use a cream during the colder months. It is still easy to spread over large areas and feels light, like a lotion.
Hyaluronic acid is also a common ingredient in most creams. This is because it can hold up to a thousand times its weight in water, making it the best hydrating ingredient. So, creams can both hydrate and moisturize. If you have dry or normal skin, this is something to think about as the cold weather sets in.
OTC Creams for Acne
You can only buy most acne face creams with a doctor’s prescription, but some over-the-counter (OTC) acne creams can help with mild acne.
Some over-the-counter creams are:
There are many brands and types of benzoyl peroxide, such as Persa-Gel, Clearasil, Neutrogena, and OXY.
Salicylic acid is usually used to treat mild comedonal acne (blackheads and whiteheads), especially if other treatments are too harsh on the skin. Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash Cream Cleanser and ZAPZYT Pore Treatment Gel are two examples of what you can use.
Differin (adapalene): This is one of the ingredients in Epiduo, a prescription cream, and you can buy a low-strength version without a prescription.
Acne Face Creams by Prescription
Most over-the-counter acne face creams work well to treat mild acne. If you have moderate to severe acne, you will probably need a prescription acne cream, either on its own or along with an antibiotic or another acne treatment.
Most of the time, acne creams are less irritating than gels.
Some of the most common prescription acne creams are:
- Retin-A (tretinoin)
- Retin-A Micro is a type of skin cream (tretinoin)
- Differin (adapalene)
- Tazorac (tazarotene)
- Azelex (azelaic acid)
- Epiduo (adapalene-benzoyl peroxide)
- Benzaclin (clindamycin-benzoyl peroxide)
- Duac (clindamycin-benzoyl peroxide)
- Acanya (clindamycin-benzoyl peroxide)
- Benzamycin (erythromycin-benzoyl peroxide)
- Ziana (tretinoin-benzoyl peroxide)
- Sulfur-sulfacetamide sodium
- Aczone (dapsone)
Most people with mild acne are given retinoid acne face creams like Retin-A, Retin-A Micro, Differin, or Tazorac as their first prescription acne cream. People with moderate acne might add an oral antibiotic to their acne cream.
If the first treatment doesn’t work after a few months, you might want to try a face cream with two ingredients.
Other things to think about:
Cost can be a big factor, especially since some new acne creams are expensive and insurance doesn’t always cover them well. That could lead to a prescription for older versions of Retin-A and Benzamycin, both now available as generics.
The other big factor is side effects since some acne face creams irritate the skin more than others.
What You Need to Know About Acne Creams
Most of the time, the best acne face creams are the ones that work well and don’t irritate the skin too much. Finding the best acne face cream is usually a matter of trial and error, so don’t be surprised if your pediatrician starts with one medicine and then has to switch to a milder or stronger one based on how your skin reacts.
How to Use
For people with sensitive skin, using an acne face cream every other day or night may stop the initial burning and irritation. Using more than a pea-sized amount of acne face cream for the whole face can also worsen things and won’t take the medicine work any better.
During the first few weeks of using acne creams, it might even help to wash them off after 15 to 30 minutes.
When starting a new acne cream, like an astringent or scrub, it’s best not to use other medicines that may irritate the skin.
For severe acne, you can take oral isotretinoin (Accutane). Girls with moderate acne can use hormonal therapy, such as spironolactone with oral contraceptives.
The best creams and spot treatments for acne on the market right now
The acne face cream is the most helpful way to fight acne, and it comes in two main types: preventative measures and spot treatments. If you get pimples often, a preventative face cream can stop them before they start. Then, if they do, use a spot treatment to help get rid of them quickly and effectively.
Traditional acne spot treatments work by drying up the oil and sucking the life out of the pimple. However, this may not be the best way to treat a pimple if you have sensitive skin or if you have acne problems often. You may have to try a few different acne face creams before you find the one that works best for you, but these five creams are the best place to start.
1. Treatment for acne with Differin Adapalene Gel 0.1 percent
Nearly every dermatologist we talked to suggested Differin Gel, available only with a prescription but now sold without a prescription. Dermatologist Dendy Engelman, MD, says that this easy-to-use retinol gel is the best because it targets a few things that can cause acne, such as inflammation and a slow turnover of skin cells. It can even help eliminate dark marks left by old pimples and stop blackheads from returning. It can be a game changer if you have mild acne that keeps coming back, but remember that it’s not a spot treatment and should be used daily.
2. Retinol 0.5% in Squalane from The Ordinary
Retinol has always been one of the first things experts tell people to use to fight acne. Dermatologist Steve Xu, MD, recommends this inexpensive retinol because “it puts active ingredients first at an affordable price.” If you have sensitive skin, start with a low concentration and see how your skin reacts.
3. Salicylic acid is used in the Kamedis acne spot treatment (2%)
Salicylic acid is another ingredient shown to help get rid of pimples quickly and well. The beta hydroxy acid goes deep into pores to clean out the oil and dirt that have built up. Dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, MD, recommends this powerful spot treatment because it “helps dry out pimples and exfoliate dead cells to keep pores clear. It is also full of Chinese herbs that help soothe skin irritation.”
4. Clean & Clear Advantage Spot Treatment for Acne
It would be hard to find a better salicylic acid treatment at a better price. This spot treatment goes on clear and works quickly and well to dry up angry pimples. There’s a reason why it’s a classic.
5. Neutrogena Acne Treatment for Spots
Zeichner says benzoyl peroxide is a classic ingredient for treating pimples because it “helps lower levels of acne-causing bacteria and calms inflammation in the skin.” Benzoyl peroxide can irritate the skin, but “studies have shown that 2.5 percent is just as effective as five or ten percent, but the lower concentration is linked to less skin irritation,” he says.
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