The application of medications to the skin surface is very helpful for controlling active acne and for preventing acne flare-ups. Topical medications represent the most common type of acne treatment currently utilized. Commonly used topical medications include the following:
Topical antibiotics such as erythromycin, clindamycin, and sodium sulfacetamide to reduce surface bacteria
Benzoyl peroxide to reduce surface bacteria
Retinoids such as Retin-A, Retinol, and Tazorac to unplug the pores, gently exfoliate the skin, reduce inflammation, and increase cellular turnover
Azelaic acid to soothe inflammation and reduce surface bacteria
It is very important that patients follow their topical skin care treatment plan carefully, as the ultimate amount of improvement obtained depends at least in part on how well patients take care of their skin at home.