Top 6 FDA-Approved Acne Treatments You Should Try


Acne is one of the most annoying skin problems people can develop throughout their lifetime. It basically consists of small lesions, pimples, irritation, redness, and other skin imperfections. Acne can spread over the forehead, neck, face, shoulders and chest area.

Although it’s commonly believed that teenagers get the most acne problems, this skin condition can be prevalent in people of all ages. Acne can also develop as a side effect of taking exogenous testosterone, so even if you’re well into your forties or fifties, you might still get acne at some point in your life.

What Causes Acne? And How to Prevent It?

Acne develops when subcutaneous sebaceous glands on the skin get blocked or filled with excessive amounts of sebum. Sebum is a waxy-like substance that protects the skin. When too much sebum is secreted, the sebaceous glands can get infected which leads to acne.

Contrary to popular belief, acne isn’t really caused by a poor diet consisting of fatty foods. Acne might develop as a result of reaching puberty or when a person is getting through a great deal of stress. Taking advantage of testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) can also trigger acne as a side effect. This might be caused by an excessive amount of estradiol present in the bloodstream.

Preventing acne is also quite difficult, but you can manage it much better thanks to a few products recently approved by the FDA. These creams and gels are designed to reduce the effects of acne and prevent it from ruining your image and the aesthetics of your skin.

Let’s take a closer look at some of these products and see what are their benefits! They can be used by TRT patients to mitigate the effects of acne on their face, chest, and shoulders.

Top Products Designed To Treat Acne Problems

As a rule of thumb, keep in mind that not everyone who goes through TRT gets acne as a side effect. A plethora of patients don’t experience skin problems at all, ever. Others might get mild acne on their faces and shoulders which can go away on its own. In some rare cases, the acne might be more severe and that’s when you need to take advantage of these FDA-approved creams and gels.

  1. Sarecycline

Sarecycline is also known as Seysara and it’s a product derived from tetracycline. It can be used to effectively treat acne in people aged 11-30 years. Sarecycline is available in tablet form with dosages of 60mg, 100mg or 150mg. The dosages are given depending on the weight of the patient.

For example, if the patient weighs less than 54kg (119lbs) then the recommended dosage is 60mg. If the patient weighs between 85kg (187lbs) and 136kg (299lbs) then the recommended dosage is 150mg. Patients weighing more than 54kg but less than 85kg should take the 100mg tablet.

Sarecycline is used to treat moderate to severe acne in patients of all ages. Its efficiency was based on studies performed on more than 2,000 patients. The research involved a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial over a period of 12 weeks. Most of the patients experienced improvements after just 3 weeks of treatment and their acne and other skin lesions were significantly healed.

The recommended dosage is to take one tablet per day with or without food. The FDA approves the use of this product, but its safety hasn’t yet been established after a period of 12 months, so more research trials need to be conducted in the future. Still, sarecycline is an ideal acne product if you want to get rid of acne caused by TRT.

  1. Altreno

Another great acne product you can try is Altreno, also known as tretinoin 0.05%. This topical treatment can be used on patients who are 9 years of age or older. It consists of a lotion that is applied directly to the damaged skin. The active ingredient is absorbed very quickly by the skin and it can significantly reduce moderate to severe acne in patients.

The FDA approved this treatment option based on studies performed on identical research centers. These were double-blind, vehicle-controlled studies involving more than 1,600 patients. These patients were treated with Altreno for a period of 12 weeks and more than 90% of them were satisfied with the results.

The lotion managed to significantly reduce inflammatory lesions and prevent the spreading of the acne to other body parts. As side effects, these were rare and involved skin exfoliation, mild pain, skin dryness, and dizziness. However, approximately 1% of the patients reported these side effects, so Altreno can be considered a pretty safe acne product to use.

On top of being efficient in fighting acne, this retinoid can also moisturize the skin and prevent other types of infections or skin scarring. Patients should apply a small dose of Altreno on the affected skin and experience the first positive results in just a few weeks.

  1. Onextron

Onextron has been approved by the FDA in 2014 to be an efficient and safe treatment for acne. It’s also known as clindamycin phosphate and benzoyl peroxide and it can be applied as a gel on the affected skin. This treatment is suitable for patients aged 12 or older and the gel should be applied once a day for best results.

This revolutionary cream has been approved by the FDA as a result of multiple studies involving almost 500 patients. These were vehicle-controlled studies performed by experienced researchers. The results of the study were impressive as more than 50% of the patients experienced significant improvements in their skin lesions.

The studies lasted for 12 weeks and most of the patients were happy with the results they got after using Onextron. Approximately 1% of these patients experienced side effects such as burning sensations, allergic reactions or rashes. Such side effects were minor and they went away after a couple of days. That’s why Onextron can be successfully and safely used as an acne treatment by people over 12 years of age.

  1. Differin Gel

Differing Gel 0.1% is also known as adapalene and it has been approved to be used as an acne treatment since 1996. This lotion contains powerful active ingredients which are quickly absorbed by the skin. Differin Gel can be applied on the neck, shoulders, face or other body parts which contain skin lesions and imperfections. It is safe to be used by people over 12 years of age, according to the FDA.

This over-the-counter medicine has been approved as a result of multiple clinical studies and trials done on hundreds of people with severe acne. Most of the patients experienced marked improvements in their skin condition. Side effects were minor and only encountered by a fraction of the people who tested this lotion. Some of these side effects include rashes, minor burning sensations, and mild allergic reactions.

With that being said, Differin Gel shouldn’t be applied to damaged skin which suffered cuts or scratches. This OTC medicine can be applied daily and its efficiency lasts for at least 12 months.

  1. Aczone Gel

This is another useful acne cream that can be used by people over 12 years of age. Aczone Gel 7.5% is a safe and efficient lotion that can be applied daily on the affected skin. It can be used to treat minor and severe acne as well as other skin lesions from face, neck, shoulders, and chest.

The FDA approved this medicine as a result of numerous multi-center, double-blind studies. More than 4,300 patients participated in these studies and almost all of them had severe acne. Aczone Gel was applied daily for a period of 12 weeks and more than half of the patients involved reported a successful outcome.

The gel was effective in treating skin lesions and reducing the spreading of acne. When it comes to side effects, these are minor and only experienced by a few patients. For example, some side effects include itching or dryness of the skin.

However, patients must be careful not to combine other medications they might use such as benzoyl peroxide with Aczone Gel. These 2 products can provoke serious side effects including the yellowing of the skin and the reduction of blood flow in the lips and other body parts. Aczone Gel should be used as a standalone medication and not in conjunction with other drugs.

  1. Trifarotene Cream

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved trifarotene cream 0.005% (Aklief, Galderma) in October 2019, the first new retinoid molecule to be approved in the United States in over 20 years for the once-daily topical treatment of acne vulgaris.

Trifarotene is the only topical retinoid that selectively targets retinoic acid receptor (RAR) gamma, the most common RAR found in the skin. It’s also the first topical treatment specifically studied and proven to treat both facial (forehead, cheeks, nose, and chin) and truncal (chest, shoulders, and back) acne. It is approved for patients aged 9 years or older.

Picking the Best Acne Treatment

As you can see, there are a lot of great acne treatments and products you can try to get rid of your skin imperfections. Some of them are available by prescription while others are over-the-counter medicine which can be taken as pills or applied as lotions.

As a rule of thumb, make sure that you always speak with your doctor or healthcare provider before beginning treatment with any of these acne products. It’s ideal to be monitored by a healthcare professional who can provide recommendations when it comes to dosages or potential side effects.

if you’re currently on testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) and experience minor or severe acne, these products might be helpful for you. Talk with your TRT doctor and ask him which one is more appropriate for you.

More information on TRT related acne.