You have over the counter drugs and ointments that help. Acne lotions may dry up the oil, kill bacteria and promote sloughing of dead skin cells. Over-the-counter (OTC) lotions are generally mild and contain benzoyl peroxide, sulfur, resorcinol, salicylic acid or sulfur as their active ingredient. If your acne doesn't respond to Over the counter treatments, consider seeing a doctor or dermatologist to get a stronger prescription lotion. For moderate to severe acne, you may need a short course of prescription oral antibiotics to reduce bacteria and fight inflammation.