If you've tried over-the-counter (nonprescription) acne products for several weeks and they haven't helped, ask your doctor about prescription-strength medications. A dermatologist can help you:
- Control your acne
- Avoid scarring or other damage to your skin
- Make scars less noticeable
Acne medications work by reducing oil production and swelling or by treating bacterial infection. With most prescription acne drugs, you may not see results for four to eight weeks. It can take many months or years for your acne to clear up completely.
The treatment regimen your doctor recommends depends on your age, the type and severity of your acne, and what you are willing to commit to. For example, you may need to wash and apply medications to the affected skin twice a day for several weeks. Topical medications and drugs you take by mouth (oral medication) are often used in combination. Treatment options for pregnant women are limited due to the risk of side effects.
Talk with your doctor about the risks and benefits of medications and other treatments you are considering. And make follow-up appointments with your doctor every three to six months until your skin improves.
How to use salicylic acid topical
Follow all directions on the product package. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
Before using this product for the first time, check if you are allergic to it. To check, put a small amount on one or two small areas of acne for three days. If you have an allergic reaction, stop using this product and get medical help right away (see the symptoms of an allergic reaction in the Side Effects section). If you don't have an allergic reaction, you can use the product.
This medication is for use on the skin only. To avoid irritation, do not let this medication come into contact with your eyes, nose, mouth, groin, or any broken skin (such as cuts, scrapes, rashes). If you do get the medication in those areas, flush the area with cool water for 15 minutes.
If you are using a cream, lotion, solution, or gel, apply a thin film of the medication to the areas of your skin affected by acne, usually 1 to 2 times a day or as directed by your doctor. Before applying each dose, gently wash the affected area with a mild cleanser, then pat dry. Apply a small amount of medicine to the affected area and rub in gently. If using the pads, wash the affected skin with a mild cleanser, then pat dry. Wipe the pad gently onto the skin to apply the medication, usually 1 to 3 times a day or as directed by your doctor. Wash hands after use.