Salicylic Acid Acne Treatment
The medicinal properties of salicylate (mainly for fever relief; it is the main ingredient in aspirin) have been known since ancient times. The substance occurs in the bark of willow trees; the name salicylic acid is derived from salix, the Latin name for the willow tree.
Salicylic Acid and glycolic acid can be effective on mild acne cases. They work as keratolytic agents to encourage the natural skin replacement cycle by peeling off the top layer of skin, getting rid of dead cells and unplugging plugged follicles.
Since they do not directly reduce the production of sebum or kill acne bacteria, they must be used continuously – when you stop using them, the acne will most likely return. Those with sensitive skin who cannot tolerate alpha hydroxy acids may find that they are able to use salicylic acid with good results.
Preparations containing these acids include lotions, creams and medicated pads. Salicylic acid is approved for use in concentrations of 0.5-2%. It can result in dryness and mild irritation, especially in children. If this happens, it’s a good idea to check other cosmetics or soaps you’re using to make sure they don’t also contain peeling agents like benzoyl peroxide, resorcinol, sulfur, or tretinoin.
Also, don’t use concentrations of over 1%. Use of straight salicylic solution may cause hyperpigmentation on unpretreated skin for those with darker skin types. Salicylic Acid has not been tested on pregnant women, so safety during pregnancy is not known.
Benzoyl Peroxide Acne Treatment
Benzoyl peroxide is effective in the treatment of most forms of acne. It is typically placed over the affected areas in gel or cream form, in concentrations of 2.5% increasing through the usually effective 5% to up to 10%.
Benzoyl peroxide works as a peeling agent, increasing skin turnover and clearing pores, thus reducing the bacterial count there as well as directly as an antibacterial. It is a powerful bleaching agent, and can cause burning, itching, peeling and possibly swelling in a small percentage of sensitive individuals.
Commercial preparations include a combination of ingredients to maximize effectiveness and minimize adverse reactions. One of the most successful of those that contain benzoyl peroxide is the Proactiv Combination Therapy, which uses several different medicines in one system to heal the blemishes you have now and help keep new ones from forming.
Developed by two Stanford-trained dermatologists, this unique acne fighting system combines finely milled benzoyl peroxide, sulfur, and our special formulation. These ingredients gently exfoliate your skin, unplug your pores, attack acne-causing bacteria, and soothe inflammation.
Provactiv consists of a three-step solution: Renewing Cleanser Tiny, smooth grains unclog the pore and help remove dead skin cells. Benzoyl peroxide penetrates deep to attack bacteria. Revitalizing Toner A gentle alcohol-free formula helps to balance skin tone and remove dead skin cells, while preparing the pore for the Repairing Lotion. Repairing Lotion Finely milled benzoyl peroxide penetrates deep into the pore to attack bacteria, healing existing blemishes and preventing new ones from forming.
Unlike “spot treatments,” designed primarily to get rid of existing acne, one pimple at a time, with harsh creams that can cause redness or irritation, Proactiv Solution is designed to be used on the whole face (or acne-prone area) every day. It gets rid of existing acne – and proactively helps prevent future breakouts before they even surface on the skin.
Since it’s formulated with soothing botanicals like allantoin, panthenol, aloe and chamomile, it leaves your skin feeling healthy and hydrated… instead of dry and flaky.
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