As many dermatologists will tell you, it's much easier to ward off cystic breakouts than to treat them once they've set up shop on your skin. Neutrogena's Rapid Clear Stubborn Acne Cleanser does the trick without drying you out. "It's a full-face treatment to clear the pimples you have and prevent others you don't see yet," Joshua Zeichner, director of cosmetic and clinical research at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, previously told Allure.
Spironolactone (Aldactone) is a diuretic with anti-androgen properties. It is used often in older women for whom oral contraceptives have additional medical risks. It has been shown to help relieve acne, especially when used together with an antibiotic. If taken during pregnancy, it may cause genital problems in the male fetus and, for that reason, should not be used in someone pregnant or planning pregnancy. It is a potassium-sparing diuretic drug, so people taking this medication should take additional potassium supplementation. Hormonal therapy is not used in males as the doses needed to suppress the acne would usually cause feminization problems such as gynecomastia and possible sexual dysfunction.
Benzoyl peroxide (BPO) is a first-line treatment for mild and moderate acne due to its effectiveness and mild side-effects (mainly skin irritation). In the skin follicle, benzoyl peroxide kills P. acnes by oxidizing its proteins through the formation of oxygen free radicals and benzoic acid. These free radicals are thought to interfere with the bacterium's metabolism and ability to make proteins. Additionally, benzoyl peroxide is mildly effective at breaking down comedones and inhibiting inflammation. Benzoyl peroxide may be paired with a topical antibiotic or retinoid such as benzoyl peroxide/clindamycin and benzoyl peroxide/adapalene, respectively.
Diet. Studies indicate that certain dietary factors, including skim milk and carbohydrate-rich foods — such as bread, bagels and chips — may worsen acne. Chocolate has long been suspected of making acne worse. A small study of 14 men with acne showed that eating chocolate was related to a worsening of symptoms. Further study is needed to examine why this happens and whether people with acne would benefit from following specific dietary restrictions.