Medicine
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What is Acne Cream?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Acne cream is a skin care cream which is used in the treatment and management of acne. Some acne creams are designed to be used during an outbreak, while others are meant for routine usage to prevent the appearance of acne. Depending on the region, many creams may be available over the counter, while others may be prescription-only. Some people have to experiment with several before they find a cream which works for them.

Over the counter acne cream is sometimes referred to as pimple cream or zit cream, referencing common slang terms for acne. People should be careful about which acne cream they use, as acne products are not always effective. Creams which promise immediate results, for example, are usually stretching the truth.

A tube of acne cream.
A tube of acne cream.

This skin condition is characterized by blockages in the pores of the skin. Despite numerous studies to look into the causes of acne, researchers have had trouble pinning down the precise reasons why acne emerges. Diet, hormone levels, skin type, and infections have all been posited as possible causes for acne, and acne creams work in a number of different ways to address each of these suspected causes.

Acne creams are used to prevent or treat acne breakouts.
Acne creams are used to prevent or treat acne breakouts.

An acne cream designed for prevention may include antibacterials to discourage the growth of pore-blocking bacteria. Others may simply be designed as cleansers to remove excess buildups of oil from the skin, while others work by drying the skin. Hormone creams may be used in some cases, and it is also possible to find topical applications which are designed to change the lifecycle of the cells in the skin, reducing the potential for blockage and the development of acne.

Acne is characterized by blockages in the pores of the skin.
Acne is characterized by blockages in the pores of the skin.

When an outbreak occurs, other creams are available to reduce the size of the acne spots, and to prevent the spread of acne. Many of these creams work by drying the skin so that it does not have an oily or greasy appearance, and some are designed to reduce scarring and pitting from recurrent acne. Acne scarring can become quite severe in serious cases of acne, especially if the patient picks at the acne. Creams with acid which are designed to promote the shedding of the upper layers of the skin are also available.

Creams may not be 100 percent effective against acne.
Creams may not be 100 percent effective against acne.

It is possible to use an over the counter acne cream for home management of acne, but going to a doctor can be a good idea in severe cases of acne. Dermatologists are often informed about the latest acne research and medications, and they may be able to provide tips for managing acne. A doctor can also write prescriptions for more intense acne creams which may be necessary for people with severe cases. It is also possible to take oral medications to manage acne, and to make lifestyle changes which may reduce breakouts.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments

discographer

I think the best acne face cream is one with salicylic acid. This ingredient exfoliates dead skin and it's very effective at treating acne. I've been using this type of cream for years.

burcinc

@ZipLine-- Are you looking for a spot treatment to dry out pimples or an overall moisturizer that can reduce oil production and prevent breakouts? Most people use both but I think it's important to emphasize the distinction.

I agree with you that many acne creams are over-drying. I recommend that you try acne creams with natural ingredients in them as well as oil-free moisturizers. There are many natural ingredients that fight acne without causing excessive dryness like tea tree oil, clay, burdock extract and zinc oxide. For example, zinc oxide cream, which is mostly used for baby rashes can be used as an acne cream because of the antibacterial properties of zinc oxide. Moreover, it will not dry out your skin. It will nourish it but keep it matte.

There are many other acne creams out there that work similarly. You might have to do some research and read product reviews, but I'm sure that you will be able to find something that works for you.

ZipLine

I'm having a hard time finding a good acne treatment cream. Most of the acne creams I have tried have actually worked for me. They reduced my breakouts but the issue is that these creams make my skin extremely dry. My skin feels irritated and taut after just a few days of use. I have not been able to find an acne cream that's both mild and effective.

Does anyone have any suggestions for a good acne cream? Or does it even exist?

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    • A tube of acne cream.
      By: Tinga
      A tube of acne cream.
    • Acne creams are used to prevent or treat acne breakouts.
      By: Ocskay Bence
      Acne creams are used to prevent or treat acne breakouts.
    • Acne is characterized by blockages in the pores of the skin.
      By: Cheryl Casey
      Acne is characterized by blockages in the pores of the skin.
    • Creams may not be 100 percent effective against acne.
      By: Piotr Marcinski
      Creams may not be 100 percent effective against acne.