Acne is a common skin condition affecting adolescents and sometimes adults too. Acne is caused due to the blockage of skin oil pores (sebum glands) which causes inflammation in the skin. This inflammation gets readily infected by bacteria present in the skin. There are many ways to treat acne. Most acne cleansers are available over the counter.
Acne cleansers are products for facial care that remove dead cells, remove oil, dust, dirt, pollutants and open up pores in the skin. They are usually used twice or thrice daily and generally in conjunction with skin toners and moisturizers. Acne cleansers are to be used with luke warm water. Acne cleansers generally contain either of the mentioned ingredients:
Antibacterials like Benzoyl peroxide, Triclosan and Chlorhexidine gluconate which work by killing the bacteria present in acne. Benzoyl peroxide is the most popular acne cleanser ingredient. Moisturizers are used with benzoyl peroxide to prevent drying of skin.
Skin exfoliants like Salicylic acid, Glycolic acid and other mild acids which act by peeling skin on a micro level to open the pores. Skin exfoliants prevent build up of dead skin on the skin which combines with skin oil to block the pores. Skin exfoliants also clear the follicle ducts in already blocked up pores. They are usually used to treat mild to moderate acne.
Retinoids like Tretinoin, Adapaline, Retinol and Isotretinoin which work by refulating the life cycle of follicle cells of sebum glands to prevent hyperkeratinization of skin cells. Retinoids can cause an initial flare up of acne before the acne cleanser takes effect.
Antibiotics like Erythromycin, Clindamycin and Tetracycline which act by killing the bacteria P.Acnes in acne. Antibiotics are usually applied in cases of severe acne in conjunction with benzoyl peroxide topical acne cleansers.
Acne cleansers for Photo therapy. Light has been known for a long time to cure acne or at least subsidize it. Intense blue light with acne cleansers containing delta-aminolevulinic acid (ALA) are considered a good combination against acne. This combination works by increasing porphyrins in the bacterium P.Acnes in Acne which when irradiated by blue light generates free radicals which kill the bacteria. It is reported that this treatment has an effective cure rate of 74%.
Less widely used Acne cleansers use ingredients like Azelaic acid, Zinc, Chromium and Sulfur. However the effect of these ingredients is not known clearly.
Most of the above mentioned acne cleansers are available over the counter, however self medication can be dangerous. Consult a doctor before using any acne cleanser.