List of Over The Counter Acne Treatments

The below is a list of acne treatments that can be readily bought without a prescription at your local drug store or online. There are hundreds of different brands, but almost all of them can be broken down into one of these three catogories. These treatments usually come with very little to no side effects.

Benzoyl Peroxide:

The most effective over the counter treatment for acne and can be found in lotions, creams, kits and washes. It works by directly killing the germs that cause acne. Products typically use 2.5%-10% benzoyl peroxide.

Some products that contain Benzoyl Peroxide:

EMC2 Acne
Benzoderm Gel
Neutrogena On-the-Spot
Clear by Design 


Salicylic Acid:

Salicylic acid works by disolving oil off the skin and causing it to shed at a faster rate. This reduces blockage of the pores and reduces acne. It is generally a milder treatment and is effective for small whiteheads and blackheads. It products typically use .5%-2% salicylic acid.

Some products that contain Salicylic Acid:

Noxzema Anti-Acne Gel
Most anti-acne cleansing pads
Oxy Night Watch
Clearasil Clear Stick


Sulfur and Resorcinol:

These two ingredients are usually found together in acne treatments. Sulfur prevents acne, while Resorcinol cleanses the skin and prevents blockage. Although sulfur is one of the oldest forms of acne treatment, it is one of the less used ingredients.

Sulfur and Resorcinol acne treatments:

Clearasil Adult Care
Glytone Acne Lotion
Rezamid lotion