Ask the experts
Topical (external) applications: Antibacterial cleansers come in the form of gels, creams, and lotions that are applied to the affected area. The active ingredients that kill surface bacteria include benzoyl peroxide, sulfur, and resorcinol. Some brands promoted on the Internet and cable TV (such as ProActiv) are much more costly than identical and sometimes more potent products one can buy in the drugstore.
Benzoyl peroxide causes red and scaly skin irritation in a small number of people, which goes away as soon as one stops using the product. Keep in mind that benzoyl peroxide is a bleach, so do not let products containing benzoyl peroxide come into contact with fabrics, leaving unsightly white spots on colored clothes, shirts, towels, and carpets.
Reduce the oil
One cannot stop oil glands from producing oil. Even isotretinoin (Accutane, see below) only slows down oil glands for a while; they resume normal activity later. It is possible to get rid of oil on the surface of the skin and reduce the appearance of shine.
Use a gentle astringent/toner to wipe away oil. (There are many brands available in pharmacies, as well as from manufacturers of cosmetic lines.)
Products containing glycolic acid or one of the other alpha hydroxy acids are also helpful in clearing the skin by causing the superficial layer of the skin to peel (exfoliate).
Masks containing sulfur and other ingredients draw out facial oil.
Antibacterial pads containing benzoyl peroxide have the additional benefit of helping to wipe away oil.
Learn more in our comprehensive article on acne symptoms, causes, and treatment
“Treatment of acne vulgaris”