Keratolytics help improve acne symptoms by preventing the formation of clogged pores and encouraging the growth of new skin. Keratolytic medications are commonly used for the treatment of mild acne symptoms (Acne Types: 1-2) and for the treatment of mild acne scars.
Many Over-The-Counter (OTC) acne products contain Keratolytic medications (eg. Benzoyl Peroxide and Salicylic Acid). There are also products with higher concentrations of active Keratolytic ingredients that are available by prescription or in medical settings.
Glycolic Acid is a Keratolytic medication that is used in the treatment of both active acne and mild acne scars. Glycolic Acid is a type of Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) and is a common ingredient in a range of skin care products.
AHAs are organic acids that are naturally produced by sugar cane and certain kinds of fruit. In addition to Glycolic Acid, other AHAs (eg. Lactic Acid, Malic Acid and Citric Acid) are included in many skin care products.
Glycolic Acid is the smallest of the AHAs and it readily penetrates into the skin. Glycolic Acid is used primarily as a chemical exfoliant that breaks up the outermost layer of the skin (epidermis).
Low concentration Glycolic Acid formulations are available as Over-The-Counter (OTC) medications, while higher strength products are available by prescription and are generally administered in a dermatology office or other medical setting.
Glycolic Acid is more commonly used as a treatment of mild acne scarring than for the treatment of active acne. Glycolic Acid face peels can do a good job of reducing minor skin irregularities and improving the overall appearance of the skin. Unfortunately, Glycolic Acid (and most other mild chemical peels) do not work well for the treatment of serious acne scars.
There is some clinical research that suggests that Glycolic Acid treatment can help improve active acne symptoms, but most patients report that Glycolic Acid is generally ineffective for the treatment of active acne symptoms. At low concentrations, Glycolic Acid has a similar effect as other Keratolytic agents, like Salicylic Acid and Benzoyl Peroxide. However, even in research studies that reported improvements after Glycolic Acid treatment, very few of these patients experience significant or complete resolution of their acne symptoms. Keratolytic medications can improve acne symptoms by helping to prevent the formation of clogged pores and pimples.
The most common side effects of topical Glycolic Acid treatment are skin irritation, peeling, redness, and scaling. Some patients experience problems with erythema (persistent redness) and hyperpigmentation. Generally, side effects of Glycolic Acid treatment resolve within 2 weeks of treatment. The improper or excessive use of Glycolic Acid can burn the skin and cause permanent skin damage.
Benzoyl Peroxide (BPO) is a Keratolytic and antibacterial medication that is widely used as an acne treatment.
Benzoyl Peroxide is an active ingredient in many different kinds of Over-The-Counter (OTC) and Pharmaceutical acne treatments. Benzoyl Peroxide is a very common ingredient in face washes and pimple creams. Benzoyl Peroxide is generally safe and can be a helpful treatment for many individuals with acne, particularly those with mild to moderate acne symptoms (Acne Types: 1-2).
Benzoyl Peroxide has two complementary mechanisms of action that make it a useful acne treatment. Benzoyl Peroxide is a Keratolytic medication that helps prevent the formation of clogged pores by breaking down the outermost layer of the skin (epidermis). Benzoyl Peroxide is also an antibacterial agent that can directly kill acne-causing bacteria, such as P. acnes. When Benzoyl Peroxide comes into contact with the skin it breaks down into benzoic acid and oxygen, which are toxic to many types of bacteria.
Extensive research has shown that Benzoyl Peroxide can be a beneficial treatment for many people suffering from mild-to moderate, non-inflammatory acne (Acne Types: 1-2). However, because of its limited penetration into the skin, Benzoyl Peroxide is largely ineffective in treating cystic and nodular forms of acne (Acne Types: 3-4). Benzoyl Peroxide is commonly combined with antibiotics (eg. Clindamycin, Erythromycin) in prescription topical medications. Topical use of Benzoyl Peroxide is often combined with complementary acne treatments (eg. Antibiotics, Retinoids, Light & Laser Treatments, Naturopathic Treatments) as part of a comprehensive acne treatment regimen.
Most people tolerate Benzoyl Peroxide treatment well with minimal side effects. Common side effects of Benzoyl Peroxide treatment include dry skin, flaking, redness and sensitivity. The risk of side effects is greater when medications that contain Benzoyl Peroxide are used excessively or at higher dosages. Benzoyl Peroxide is also a potent bleaching agent, and contact with clothes or furniture can cause permanent bleach damage.
Azelaic Acid is Keratolytic medication that also has antibacterial properties.
Azelaic Acid is a common topical treatment for mild to moderate acne symptoms. Keratolytic agents work by causing the outer layer of the skin to loosen and shed.
Azelaic Acidis also occassionally used as a treatment for mild acne scar symptoms, such as hyperpigmentation and rough skin. Azelaic Acid is frequently combined with complementary therapies as part of a holistic acne treatment plan.