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How Does Acne Medication Work?

Acne is not a severe medical condition and can be easily managed with the help of medications and treatment options. There is a large variety of medications available for the treatment of acne. The choice of particular acne treatment option depends on various factors such as the frequency, type and severity of the acne. All the acne medications work on the causes of acne to get rid of them and prevent them from spreading.

How Does Acne Medication Work?

How Does Acne Medication Work?

Medications available for acne work in the following way:

  • Acne medication opens up the clogged skin pores. There are several factors that combine together to cause acne. One of the main factors is the clogging of pores in the skin. There are can be multiple reasons for the blocked pores but all of them lead to the same problem. Most of the medicines and ointments available for the treatment of acne consist of substances that clear off the layer of dead cells or oil that is clogging the pores.
  • Acne medication kills bacteria. Clogging of pores is just the start, the real trouble starts when the bacteria start to grow into these pores. The medications and ointments for the treatment of acne contain substances that have special antibacterial and antifungal properties. The first aim of the medicines is to spread the bacteria from spreading as it increases the severity of acne and makes it harder to control. Secondly, it kills all the bacteria responsible for causing acne to ensure that there is no reoccurrence in the near future.
  • Acne medication gets rid of the excess skin oil. People have different types of skin in terms of the presence of oil on the skin surface. Some people have dry skin with very little oil while some have oily skin with too much oil on the skin. People with oily skin are always at the higher risk of developing acne because the excess oil settles into the pores, providing favourable conditions for bacteria to grow into the pores. Some medicines that are recommended in the case of people who have oily skin have substances that reduce the amount of oil present on the skin.
  • Acne medication controls the production of hormones that lead to acne. The development of acne can also occur due to the hormonal imbalance in the body. Women who use contraceptive pills for birth control can suffer from hormonal imbalance as the side-effect of the birth control medicines. You doctor would identify the possible reasons for the acne and may prescribe certain medications that are meant to get the balance of hormones right in the body.
  • Acne medication reduces Inflammation. Inflammation is the natural response of the body to the entrance of harmful foreign chemicals or substances. In the case of acne, when the dirt and bacteria starts to settle down into the pores, immune system sends out white blood cells to fight against the situation causing inflammation. It makes the acne more severe by leading to pus formation. Acne medicines try to reduce inflammation by preventing the deposition of dirt and bacteria in the pores. They help in spreading acne and becoming painful at the end.

Benzoyl peroxide is a common substance in most of the medications for acne. It is useful in the treatment of mild acne. It comes with anti-bacterial properties that make it very useful in treating mild acne. Salicylic acid is another essential element of the medicines available for acne. It helps in opening up the ores by preventing the layer of dead cells from depositing over the skin. Both, benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid need to be used for a few days or weeks to see any significant improvement in the acne.


  1. “Acne: Diagnosis and Treatment” – This comprehensive guide from Mayo Clinic provides insights into the diagnosis and treatment of acne, including information on various medications used for acne treatment. Read more

  2. “Acne Medications: Topical and Systemic” – The American Academy of Dermatology discusses various topical and systemic acne medications, their mechanisms of action, and when they are typically prescribed. Read more

  3. “Acne Treatments” – The Cleveland Clinic provides an overview of acne treatments, including the use of benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid. Read more

  4. “Benzoyl Peroxide” – Explore the uses and effectiveness of benzoyl peroxide for acne treatment in this article from WebMD. Read more

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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 21, 2023

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