Acne can be a difficult thing to deal with and often over the counter washes aren't helpful at all. But there are some other things you can do to see if they will work for you:
Tea tree oil. Gels containing 5 percent tea tree oil may be as effective as are lotions containing 5 percent benzoyl peroxide, although tea tree oil might work more slowly. Tea tree oil may cause a skin reaction known as contact dermatitis. There's also some concern that topical products containing tea tree oil might cause breast development in young boys. Don't use tea tree oil if you have acne rosacea because it can worsen symptoms.
Alpha hydroxy acids. These natural acids ? found in foods such as citrus fruits, sugar cane, apples and grapes ? help remove dead skin cells and unclog pores when applied topically. Alpha hydroxy acids may also improve the appearance of acne scars. Adverse reactions to alpha hydroxy acids include redness, mild stinging and skin irritation.
Azelaic acid. This naturally occurring acid is found in whole-grain cereals and animal products and has antibacterial properties. A 20 percent azelaic acid cream seems to be as effective as many other conventional acne treatments, including 5 percent benzoyl peroxide and oral tetracycline.
Zinc supplements. The mineral zinc plays a role in wound healing and reduces inflammation, which could help improve acne. Taking a zinc supplement with food may reduce side effects, including a bad taste in your mouth and nausea. Zinc can also be added to lotions or creams and may reduce acne breakouts.
Brewer's yeast. A specific strain of brewer's yeast, called CBS 5926, seems to help decrease acne. Brewer's yeast may cause migraines in susceptible people and may cause intestinal upset.
It has also been shown that diet can aggravate acne in many people. Studies indicate that certain dietary factors, including dairy products and carbohydrate-rich foods ? such as bread, bagels and chips, which increase blood sugar ? may trigger acne.
I would suggest that you have yourself checked by a doctor to be sure that all you are dealing with is acne and not with acne rosacea. Rosacea also causes reddening of the skin, especially on the face, but the treatments are quite different. And of course if you continue to have problems with your acne even though you've tried all of the alternative treatments, you might want to see whether you need prescription medications to clear up your skin.
Medical information here is taken from the Mayo Clinic website which has some great information on the causes and treatments of acne. You can find it at http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/acne/DS00169