Benzoyl Peroxide, Accutane or Salicylic Acid—Which is Best for Acne? (Updated March 2020)
Understanding the differences between Benzoyl Peroxide, Accutane and Salicylic Acid can be very confusing. But thanks to Tiege Hanley, choosing the right acne solution may be simpler than you think.
Shopping and finding the right product to treat your acne can be tough.
There are so many options out there, it can sometimes feel like an impossible task!
Don’t worry, we get it and we’re here to help.
The main options you’ll find after doing some research are products that use Salicylic Acid or Benzoyl Peroxide. And for very severe acne, you’ll often hear the name Accutane.
To help you make a well-informed decision, we’ve done all of the research for you, so all you have to do is read the below to aid your decision-making process.
As one of the most common compounds used for treating acne, benzoyl peroxide can be found in countless over-the-counter acne medications.
It’s often used in creams, gels or serums where it can be easily applied to affected areas.
It has numerous beneficial properties when used as a spot-treatment due to its antibacterial nature and mild bleaching effect.
It primarily helps bring pimples to a head, minimize redness, reduce swelling and shorten the duration of active pimples.
The Benefits of Benzoyl Peroxide
As an overnight treatment, benzoyl peroxide works fairly well by quickly reducing the size and overall redness of a pimple.
It works best with whiteheads and smaller pimples, but it may also prove useful with cysts and blackheads.
Benzoyl peroxide may not be ideal as a full-scale treatment due to its abrasive nature, but it can be worth keeping around for stubborn pimples that you want to get rid of on short notice.
The Risks of Benzoyl Peroxide
Benzoyl peroxide has very few risks, but some users may have a stronger reaction that includes a burning sensation, excessive dryness, and redness for around a week after application.
It’s important for new users to try a spot-test before applying it further on the face or elsewhere.
Simply apply a small amount to your arm or face and wait a day to see if you have a negative reaction.
Users should be careful to avoid excessive sunlight without sunscreen since benzoyl peroxide can significantly increase your risk of a sunburn.
Since it’s also a mild bleaching agent, it may stain clothing, pillowcases or other fabrics.
Although it may be effective in some cases, Benzoyl Peroxide is not the ideal overall choice for people with acne.
The best use would be to spot treat a pimple here or there.
Accutane is the brand name of the anti-acne prescription medicine Isotretinoin.
Due to both its documented benefits and growing list of side effects, Accutane is an often-controversial drug that is mostly prescribed for very severe cases of cystic acne.
For people suffering from painful, persistent and debilitating acne, Accutane does work as an effective treatment.
The pill-based drug acts similarly to a high dose of vitamin A, which disrupts the sebaceous glands under the skin.
This reduces the body’s ability to produce oils and helps to minimize the size and occurrence of cystic acne.
The Benefits of Accutane
For those with excessive acne, Accutane may be of a great assistance since it generally eliminates acne within 1-4 months of starting treatment.
Many users report an abrupt improvement in their acne, self-confidence and appearance.
Accutane works on nearly all types of acne, and since it’s taken as a daily pill, users can rid their entire body of acne without having to manually apply creams on areas that are difficult to reach.
The Risks of Accutane
Even though it’s likely to get rid of acne, people should think carefully before starting an Accutane treatment.
Some of the most common side effects of Accutane include:
1. Cracked and severely dried lips
2. Cracked skin
3. Lowered libido
There have been studies relating Accutane to an increased risk of depression and suicide in certain individuals.
It has also been linked to psychosis, permanent eye damage and a reduction in liver and kidney functions.
Due to these very serious side effects, it’s crucial that you speak at length with your doctor before starting an Accutane treatment.
It’s also important to monitor your mental and physical health while on the drug to prevent any major side effects from getting worse.
Overall, although the results can be positive in terms of the drug’s ability to reduce your acne, the potential side effects are too risky for us to recommend.
If you are considering this option, we strongly recommend speaking to your dermatologist and primary care physician first.
Salicylic acid is a very common and beneficial ingredient that’s used in many acne creams, facial wipes and similar products.
It works by gently removing the outermost layer of skin to minimize redness, reduce the lifespan of a pimple and act as an antibacterial agent.
Where benzoyl peroxide is harsher and more useful for spot-treatments, salicylic acid is a gentle yet powerful daily ingredient that can be used all over the face and body with few reported side effects.
The Benefits of Salicylic Acid
Salicylic acid can be used as a stand-alone product or in conjunction with other ingredients.
The ingredient does its job by gently removing the skin’s top layer, which is effective for preventing pimples and reducing the size of existing pimples.
It’s also useful as an antiseptic agent which can prevent popped pimples from swelling or becoming infected.
Since it’s a gentle treatment, it can be used daily without side effects.Take the skin care quiz
The Risks of Salicylic Acid
At very high levels, salicylic acid could penetrate deeper beyond the top layer of the skin and cause painful burns, which is why the Tiege Hanley acne cream contains 1.6% salicylic acid.
If you want to avoid damaging your skin, we would recommend using a product containing no more than 2% salicylic acid.
Some wart removal products have much higher levels and should be used with caution.
Some people may also have a slight allergic reaction to salicylic acid, and therefore you should always spot-test a new treatment on your arm or chin before applying it elsewhere.
Overall, salicylic acid has the most benefits and the fewest risks in comparison to Benzoyl Peroxide products and Accutane.
Why is the Tiege Hanley acne cream the best on the market? Well, unlike the majority of other products on the market using salicylic acid in their cleanser, we also include it in our moisturizer.
Think about it—why would you want to include it in a cleanser that is immediately washed off after application? You wouldn’t.
For anyone who is worried about their skin drying out from leaving on our acne cream for an extended period of time, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
We include ingredients like KuKui Nut Oil which has a long history of use in Hawaii for moisturizing and protecting the skin, as well as Plantain Extract which has anti-bacterial properties to promote wound healing and help your skin regenerate.
Actual Tiege Hanley customer testimonial:
“Over a 3 year period, I probably spent over two grand in skin care and still had acne. I decided to reach out and request to be a part of the Tiege Hanley Acne trial and I have been blown away. After two weeks, my skin was clear. It’s not the acne cream alone that cleared it up, but how all of the products work together as a whole.” Kyle B., NJ.