Dermatologists recommend over-the-counter treatments such as benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, sulfur and retinol, explains the American Academy of Dermatology. In some cases, dermatologists prescribe topical and oral antibiotic treatments such as clindamycin, doxycycline or erythromycin. Dermatologists also sometimes recommend low-dose estrogen birth control pills or androgen blockers.
Most cases of acne need only be treated with over-the-counter medications, which are safe and inexpensive. Benzoyl peroxide eliminates acne-causing bacteria on the skin. Salicylic acid removes the layer of dead skin that can clog pores, and sulfur suppresses acne-causing bacteria and unclogs pores, according to the American Academy of Dermatology
Dermatologists may also prescribe antibiotics, although patients must use these sparingly to avoid antibiotic resistance, explains WebMD. Oral medications tend to me more effective; however, topical treatments have fewer and less serious side effects.