Are Your Over-the-Counter Acne Products Safe?

Are Your Over-the-Counter Acne Products Safe?

Health and Fitness September 26, 2014

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Acne is one of the most common skin conditions in the world: nearly 85% of people suffer from acne at some point in their lifetime, which most often develops on the face, chest, and back. Some people choose to have the disorder treated by an acne dermatologist, who can often prescribe an effective regimen of acne treatment products and procedures to clear a patient’s skin. However, many other people choose to simply use over-the-counter medications and practice good skin care, such as avoiding picking at the skin, to reduce the condition. Unfortunately, a significant number of these people may end up scheduling appointments at their local dermatologist clinic in the near future: the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently reported that an ingredient in over-the-counter acne treatments is causing adverse reactions in many users.

In the beginning of September, the FDA released a new warning that some popular acne treatment products are causing serious allergic reactions and irritations in patients who use them. While these adverse reactions are rare, the cases have had extremely serious repercussions, including throat tightness, difficulty breathing, faintness, swelling of the eyes, lips, tongue, or face, and hives or itching where the product was used. The most troubling fact, however, is that the FDA is currently unsure which ingredient is causing the irritation: benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid, both common components, have been considered as the potentially problematic ingredient.

In response to the FDA’s warning, many dermatologists are reminding patients to avoid trying out too many new products at once and consider using treatments that do not include benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid. Others have instructed anyone who experience a potential allergic reaction to stop using the product and immediately seek medical attention.

One of the main problems behind the warning is the perceived safety of over-the-counter products: many people assume that because the medication does not require a prescription, it is safe to use. In reality, most people could very well be allergic or adverse to many commonly-used ingredients, regardless of whether or not they require a prescription. Ideally, every person with persistent or recurring acne would not only be careful about the treatments they chose, but would also consult with an acne dermatologist to find the best approach for clearing their skin. If more allergic reactions occur, this might be exactly what happens. More like this blog: