Many acne medications are available at drug and grocery stores without a prescription. These medications are available in cream, gel, and pad form and are put directly on the skin. The drugs contain ingredients such as salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, and resorcinol. They work by killing bacteria, drying excess oil, and forcing the skin to shed dead skin cells.
If an over-the-counter treatment doesn’t improve your acne, the physician may suggest that you use stronger prescription medications. Medications that contain vitamin A, such as tretinoin, tazarotene, and adapalene keep plugs from forming in the hair follicles and promote more rapid turnover of skin cells. These medications are applied directly to your skin.
Manual removal and microdermabrasion may also be done by trained professionals such as dermatologists specializing in skin care.