DANVILLE - Household, hygiene and cooking products have long been rumored to help clear up troublesome acne, but much of what acne sufferers have heard may be making matters worse.
"When searching for acne remedies at home, people have resorted to countless strategies such as toothpaste, masking tape, vinegar solutions and many more," said Christen Mowad, M.D., FAAD, dermatologist, Geisinger Medical Center. "But what those with acne need to remember is that tactics requiring heavy scrubbing, harsh chemicals or other irritants actually make acne worse rather than help it."
Dr. Mowad adds that most home remedies have been found to provide little to no benefit in clearing up acne. Methods such as ripping masking tape off the skin or homemade topical treatments made of household cleaners or chemicals are typically harmful to the skin because they can cause irritation from the ripping and scrubbing motions as well as the chemical reactions with the skin.
"If patients with acne are attempting to treat acne at home, a good option would be over-the-counter acne creams or washes as opposed to scrubs, masks and astringents" said Mowad. Over-the counter applications with benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid in a topical cream or wash can help treat mild acne."
Most importantly, Dr. Mowad noted that before trying to treat acne at home, patients should visit a dermatologist to determine the best course of treatment. Over-the-counter treatments may be best for some, but others may benefit more from a prescription medication or antibiotics.
"If the wrong treatment is administered at home, the risk of added irritation is compounded by an elevated risk of scarring," Dr. Mowad said. "Consulting with a dermatologist will result in a course of treatment that can clear up acne and reduce scarring to avoid further treatment down the road."