How Does Acne Medicine Work?

For those of us who have battled, are still battling or may have daughter who will battle acne there is one question that may be on our minds: How does this medicine work? We are wondering how a specific ingredient is going to effect our skin? With names that are often hard to pronounce how am I to know what it is for?

We are filled with questions and most of us just really want the basic understanding of what these ingredients are. I talked briefly about products that are great for clear skin and I’ve talked a bit about skin care and acne. Well today I wanted to cover some of the most common ingredients and what you can expect them to do. Remember that if you have immediate and negative reactions you should stop using the product. Be sure to read the labels and learn more about beauty product expiration. If you have questions, please do not hesitate to ask and remember — when it doubt, look it up and research it. Talk to a pharmacist or dermatologist. Or better yet, talk to students in skin therapy programs – they are a wealth of knowledge too.

cosmetics and product bottles


Salicylic acid:

You are going to find Salicylic Acid in most store bought acne fighting products. Clean & Clear is a good example. If you look up Salicylic Acid on Wiki you are going to see a lot of big words that you have to click through to understand what they mean and what they are doing. Getting you lost even further in the mumble jumble of clinical words when it comes acne medication.

The entire use of this ingredient for basic purposes is:

To kill the bacteria that is often a cause of acne. To thin and dry the skin to promote the “icky” stuff to come out of the pores, giving way for the skin to clear and heal. It is a drying agent so overuse can cause sever drying of the skin.


Benzoyl peroxide:

Benzoyl Peroxide is another common ingredient in acne fighting products. Proactiv is a good example. Again you are going to find a lot of mumble jumble and clinical words that you just don’t understand with this product and the side effects of this ingredient may be very harsh.

The entire use of this ingredient for basic purposes is:

Kill bacteria. Peeling and drying agent — much like Salicylic Acid.



Sulfur is becoming more of a common ingredient in acne medications and yes it does have a gross smell. And research on the internet is sometimes hard to find regarding it’s use for acne.

The basic purpose of this ingredient:

Much like the top two it’s going to help kill the bacteria and is also a drying agent. An added benefit though is that it helps reduce swelling.


Those are the main three that you are going to come across. You will find other ingredients like alcohol, witch hazel, titanium dioxide, zinc etc. All of them are going to aid in drying the skin, killing the bacteria and promoting new and healthy skin. A fantastic resource for acne ingredients and cosmetic ingredients is if you click this link it will take you to an explanation of sulfur – scroll to the bottom and you will see a list of ingredients you can click to find our more information about them.





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  2. […] product. A quick research as to what ingredients are in these products, shows that they are your typical acne ingredients. (Benzoyl Peroxide & Salicylic Acid) So I consider that to be a pro and a con. Because you can […]