Millions of people suffer from acne in the United States alone, and many of these acne suffers use Benzoyl Peroxide as the acne treatment medication of choice.
It is generally safe, has very few side effects, and it has been proven to be the most effective over the counter acne treatment.
However, there are many more people who have more severe, or particularly resilient acne that is not susceptible to over the counter medications such as Benzoyl Peroxide.
Some of the most effective acne medications are available via prescription only. However, these are truly the "heavy guns" in the fight against acne, and are well worth looking into for anyone who has chronic or severe acne breakouts.
The most commonly prescribed acne medications are antibiotics such as Erythromycin and Trimethroprim. These are generally more effective than over the counter treatments because they work by treating the source of acne, the acne causing p.bacteria. Many acne sufferers find antibiotics work well for them in treating acne, and have fewer breakouts because of them.
However, one of the big drawbacks from using antibiotics is developing an immunity to them. This means that over time, the antibiotics are less effective in treating not only acne, but any form of bacterial infection including diseases such as strep throat and even some STD's. This should be considered before undergoing an antibiotic regime to treat acne.
Another alternative is Retin A. Retin A is a topical acne treatment, and a derivative of Vitamin A. Although the exact mechanism is unknown, Retin A has been proven to be effective in reducing fine lines and wrinkles, as well as acne and some acne scarring. Retin A is generally more effective in treating acne than antibiotics.
However, Retin A is not without side effects either. The skin becomes more sensitive to the sun, and exposure to the sun can be very damaging. Also, people with sensitive skin or a skin disorder such as eczema can experience severe redness, skin flaking, and irritation. In spite of this, most people who use Retin A find they are satisfied with the results, and don't find the side effects overwhelming.
The most effective acne treatment currently available is Accutane. Accutane is also a derivative of Vitamin A, and is taken orally. It has been referred to as the acne "wonder drug", and for good reason. The majority of people who complete a 15-20 week session experience greatly reduced acne for years, and some never again have acne.
Accutane works by stopping sebum production in the skin. With no sebum, the acne causing p.bacteria do not have any way to grow. This results in clear skin, sometimes for life.
However, Accutane is not without side effects. The most severe are birth defects and mental disorders, such as psychosis and suicide. Dry skin, severe headaches, and hair loss are also common side effects. Though accutane is the most effective acne medication, it should only be used as a last resort, under close medical supervision.
Though there are other medications that are more effective than benzoyl peroxide, these are the most commonly prescribed, and are all worth consideration if one is experiencing severe acne. As always, a medical doctor should be consulted before trying any medication.
Greg Podsakoff is a former acne sufferer, and editor of http://www.acne-treatments-guide.com