Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date


Publication Title

J Invest Dermatol


Introduction: Given the convenience of the over-the-counter (OTC) market, many individuals trial OTC products as a means to combat their acne. Within the OTC acne market, there is great heterogeneity in ingredients and price. Herein, we analyze the distribution of ingredients and price among OTC acne products in top Google searches, which the public may encounter when performing an online search.

Methods: Google searches for key terms “acne”, “acne treatment”, “top acne treatment”, and “best acne regimen” were performed. Unique acne products for the first 100 websites for each term were collected. Summary statistics for median, range, mean, and standard deviation for price per topical therapy were analyzed. A factorial ANOVA was performed assessing effect of ingredient on price.

Results: A total of 272 unique products were collected out of the 400 websites analyzed. The mean price per ounce of all products was $24.79 (standard deviation of $31.84) and median[range] was $10.40 [

Conclusion: Providers play an important role in educating and helping patients to navigate the OTC market. Based on efficacy and affordability, benzoyl peroxide and adapalene should remain the active ingredient of choice when turning to the OTC market. Given the heterogeneity of the OTC market, patients should carefully evaluate OTC products and be aware that not all products will have ingredients containing a grade A strength of recommendation and know that products with the same topical therapy can vary dramatically in price.





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