Top 4 Prescription Acne Medication Alternatives Reviewed

by Melissa R.
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best over the counter acne treatment brands

There are a number of reasons that one may be looking for alternatives to prescription acne medications, and in our case, it may be different from yours.

My daughter had used many over-the-counter acne products over the years, including Proactiv and X Out, Neutrogena, and many others.

The thing about many of the non-prescription acne products is that while they do help to clear up current acne, many of them that we had tried in the past did not resolve the problem entirely. In other words, the acne would just keep coming back.

She was eventually prescribed an acne pill, and I can tell you for certain that it was worth the $75 per month that it cost me to get the prescription filled (insurance did not cover this particular Rx). Her face had never looked so clear. Unfortunately, it was not a long-term drug, meaning the dermatologist would only prescribe it for about 6 months, and as soon as the prescription ran out, her acne came back.

This led the dermatologist to recommending over-the-counter alternatives while she worked out another prescription that my daughter could use, as we had already exhausted several options.

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differin adapalane gel review

Differin Adapalene

  • Rx Strength Retinoid
  • Reduces Inflammation
  • Prevents Breakouts
  • Dermatologist Recommended
neutrogena oil free fash wash review

Neutrogena Oil-Free Face Wash

  • Salicylic Acid
  • Cleans Pores
  • Treats Acne
  • # 1 Dermatologist Recommended Brand
proactiv acne treatment

Proactiv

  • Micro-Crystal Benzoyl Peroxide
  • Soothes Inflammation
  • Fights Redness
  • 3 Step System

Paula's Choice

  • 2% Salicylic Acid & 2.5% Benzoyl Peroxide
  • Facial Acne & Pores
  • Redness Relief
  • Thousands of great reviews

Product

differin adapalane gel review

Differin Adapalene

Details

  • Rx Strength Retinoid
  • Reduces Inflammation
  • Prevents Breakouts
  • Dermatologist Recommended

Product

neutrogena oil free fash wash review

Neutrogena Oil-Free Face Wash

Details

  • Salicylic Acid
  • Cleans Pores
  • Treats Acne
  • # 1 Dermatologist Recommended Brand

Product

proactiv acne treatment

Proactiv

Details

  • Micro-Crystal Benzoyl Peroxide
  • Soothes Inflammation
  • Fights Redness
  • 3 Step System

Product

neutrogena light therapy acne mask

Neutrogena Light Therapy Face Mask

Details

  • Clears Breakouts
  • Heals Skin
  • Gentle on Skin
  • Light Therapy Technology

Differin Adapalene Gel 0.1%

One of the prescription acne medications that was prescribed to my daughter was a gel with Adapalene, however, it was entirely too strong for her sensitive skin. Immediately after applying it, her face not only burned, but her eyelids turned bright red (no, she did not apply it to her eyelids). The dermatologist had her try it every few days hoping that her skin would gradually accept it, but that never happened.

Finally, the dermatologist recommended the Differen Gel, as it had the same ingredient as the prescription (Adapalene), just at a lower dosage. This is an over-the-counter acne medication that she described as being the same as the prescription, only with a lower dosage.

It seemed to be the perfect strength, as her skin would no longer turn fire red after applying it. It did take a week or so of slight dryness, but eventually, her face accepted the product, and it did a pretty good job of helping to clear up her acne.

With that said, it did not give the same results as the acne pill.

Neutrogena Oil-Free Face Wash For Acne

Neutrogena has come a long way over the years. They are a trusted brand with trusted products that work. This cheap drug store face wash was also recommended by a dermatologist. You can find it here on Amazon, or buy it in the drug store.

As the name states, it is oil-free. It is gentle for your face, and allows the acne fighting ingredients to work without drying out the skin. Always make sure to use a moisturizer with any product, whether for acne or not.

The moisturizer that my daughter uses, because of course, her dermatologist told her to, is also a Neutrogena product, and it is dye free, and specifically made for sensitive skin. It comes from the same line as my favorite face cleanser from Neutrogena.

Proactiv

So, you’re not living under a rock, and that means that you have heard of Proactiv. You may even know someone who has used it. This is definitely a product that everyone should try first, even before going to the dermatologist if you are trying to clear up mild acne.

I have done a complete review on the Proactiv 3-Step Acne Treatment, so I will not go on about it here. Read the post, as it discusses Proactiv as well as X Out.

Paula's Choice CLEAR Regular Strength Acne Kit

Finally! After years of trying out acne products, going to the dermatologist, washing, scrubbing, using masks, etc, my daughter finally found a product that actually cleared up her acne. 

Paula's Choice is now my #1 recommendation for anyone suffering with mild to moderate acne. Similar to Proactiv, it is a 3-step system consisting of a cleanser, exfoliate, and treatment cream. 


Until next time, Stay Happy, Stay Healthy, Stay Beautiful!

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