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Top 10 Acne Medications Sold in Stores

author image Andrea Cooley
Based in Florida, Andrea Cooley has been writing professionally since 1990. Her work has appeared in "Imago" magazine, and in 2007, she wrote a manuscript on healthy aging that resulted in the publication of a book. Cooley holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of South Florida.
Top 10 Acne Medications Sold in Stores
Acne treatment must be ongoing, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Photo Credit Pixland/Pixland/Getty Images

If you are one of the 40 to 50 million Americans with mild to moderate acne, you most likely spot-treat your blemishes with benzoyl peroxide cream and hope your pimples disappear overnight. According to the American Association of Dermatology, there's no such thing as an overnight cure. The only effective acne treatment is a continuous regime to prevent future breakouts. When looking for an acne treatment, choose a product containing a dermatologist-recommended medication, such as benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid, and use it daily.

Bioré Blemish Fighting Ice Cleanser

This blemish-fighter won "Allure" magazine's Editors' Choice award in 2008 and 2009. Bioré is an oil-free liquid cleanser containing 2 percent salicylic acid, a beta hydroxyl acid that helps clear pores.

Clean & Clear Persa-Gel 10, Maximum Strength

The manufacturer markets Persa-Gel as the No. 1 pharmacist-recommended acne treatment, but "Women's Health" magazine also named Persa-Gel as the best over-the-counter acne treatment. This product contains a 10 percent solution of benzoyl peroxide--the maximum strength available without a prescription.

Clean & Clear Advantage Acne Control Kit

The Clean & Clear Advantage Acne Control Kit advertises that 100 percent of clinical trial participants saw clearer skin after only one day. This kit contains three separate products--a cleanser, moisturizer and spot treatment--using both benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid. "InStyle" magazine named the kit as "Best Acne Regimen."

Clearasil Ultra Rapid Action Treatment Cream

Clearasil Ultra claims to reduce redness and the size of your blemishes in as little as four hours. This product contains 10 percent benzoyl peroxide. To avoid irritation and over-drying, start with a small amount and slowly increase your application. This gives your skin time to adjust to the maximum strength

Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Anti-Blemish Scrub

Neutrogena Healthy Skin is an oil-free acne treatment containing 2 percent salicylic acid. According to Acne.org, salicylic acid acts as an anti-inflammatory to reduce redness and swelling. It also acts as an exfoliant to lift dirt and oil out of your clogged pores while removing dead skin cells from your skin's surface.

Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash

Neutrogena says that dermatologists rated its Oil-Free Acne Wash as the No. 1 acne-fighting cleanser. This liquid face wash contains a 2 percent solution of salicylic acid and other ingredients, such as aloe vera and flower extracts, to help soothe and calm your skin.

Neutrogena On-the-Spot Acne Treatment

Neutrogena On-the-Spot Acne Treatment is "Allure" magazine's Editor's Choice for acne treatment. It contains 2.5 percent benzoyl peroxide, which may be appropriate of you have sensitive skin or if 10 percent benzoyl peroxide dries and irritates your skin. Your-best-acne-treatment.com states that 2.5 percent benzoyl peroxide is just as effective at killing acne bacteria as higher concentrations.

Olay Total Effects Cream Cleanser plus Blemish Control

Olay Blemish Control is a daily facial cleanser with 2 percent salicylic acid and retinol, a form of vitamin A. If you not only experience breakouts, but your skin shows signs of aging and sun damage, this combination can improve the look and feel of your skin, according to the Acne Resource Center.

Oxy Deep Pore Acne Medicated Cleansing Pads, Maximum Strength

Oxy Deep Pore pads contains 2 percent salicylic acid in a disposable medicated cleansing pad. The pads remove oil from your skin and unclog your pores to prevent new pimples from forming.


ZAPZYT is an oil-free, odorless acne gel that contains 10 percent benzoyl peroxide and is designed to prevent mild to moderate acne. It receives top marks among over-the-counter benzoyl peroxide products from visitors to Acne.org.

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