Do you have a teenager or pre-teen who is worried about acne? Is he or she asking for medicine to make pimples go away? Before you decide to buy an over-the-counter (OTC) topical medicine, check with your doctor. Then be sure to monitor your child for some possible, but uncommon, side effects.
Many popular OTC acne medicines applied to the skin contain salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. Personal care products brands with these ingredients include Neutrogena, Proactiv, Clean & Clear, Aveeno, Ambi, Oxy, and MaxClarity. The ingredients can be in lotions, face washes, cleansing pads, face scrubs, and toners. The labels already warn of some minor skin reactions, however, some more serious reactions have occurred within minutes to 24 hours after use. These symptoms include allergic reactions like hives, itchy body or face, throat tightness, swelling eyes, face or lips, and shortness of breath. Of reported cases, 44% required hospitalization.
- Don’t use the product if you’ve had earlier hypersensitivity or allergic reactions.
- Stop using the product if you develop hives or itching of the face or body.
- Stop using the product and seek immediate medical attention if you develop throat tightness or swelling of the eyes, face, lips or tongue; feel faint; or have difficulty breathing.
Source: U.S. Food and Drug Administration, “Topical Acne Products Can Cause Dangerous Side Effects,” June 25, 2014 (viewed 10/24/2014).
— Janell Mayo Duncan
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