It may not sound glamorous, but taking care of acne patients is one of my favorite parts of my job as a dermatologist. Acne is the most common skin condition in the United States. It affects over 85% of Americans between the ages of 12-24 years of age, and also affects many throughout their 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. It can have a big impact on an individual’s quality of life and confidence. It has also been associated with a high cost in lost productivity.

We have so many great treatment options for acne these days including over-the-counter products, prescription creams, and oral medications. Each patient is unique and finding the right combination for their skin type and acne concerns can be very rewarding.

June was Acne Awareness Month, and in honor of that, I’m sharing some of my favorite over-the-counter products. These can work well for mild acne and in combination with prescription medications for more severe acne. If you suffer from acne, know that (1) you are not alone and (2) we are happy to help!


I like Panoxyl benzoyl peroxide wash for inflammatory acne. It has been shown to decrease bacterial resistance on the skin. Wash your face, chest, and back with this wash 2-3x per week (anymore and it can be too drying). Use it in the shower so you can be sure to rinse it off completely.




Neutrogena salicylic acid wash is good for patients with whiteheads and blackheads. It acts as an exfoliative wash. Again, I suggest using it 2-3x a week and alternating with a more gentle wash the other days.




I recommend using a retinol to help prevent acne, shrink pores, and improve the appearance of (acne) scars. Differin gel is a great, affordable choice that once used to be a prescription but is now available over-the-counter (manufacturer coupons are available via the link too!) . Only a small amount is needed and should only be applied at night with a moisturizer. Be sure to use a sunscreen in morning following retinol use!



EltaMD UVClear sunscreen is an oil-free, light sunscreen that is non-comedogenic, meaning it won’t clog pores. Consistent sunscreen use is important to prevent discoloration and scarring from acne. The best part? We sell it in-office and online – no extra trip necessary! Check it out here.