I had terrible acne around the ages of eleven to fifteen, and nothing I did seemed to help. I'd like to offer to you what I wish I'd known earlier.
Over the counter acne treatment drying lotions can cause great harm to your skin. They always cause irritation, and can cause more acne, or scarring.
However, they do have their uses.
Use over the counter drying lotions on new pimples which do not have broken skin. Apply the lotion only right on the pimple, not on any unblemished skin.
One of the most underrated aids in fighting acne is moisterizer. Especially if you have been putting your skin under a barrage of medications. Use a soothing moisterizer on broken skin, irritated skin, and pimples which are scabbed or broken. Apply as often as needed.
Pimples are caused by a combination of sweat and dead skin cells. Drying lotions can cause dead skin cells to accumulate. Use drying lotions with great reserve.
Perscription lotions differ. Differen is a highly effective lotion only when used correctly. DO NOT spread Differen willynilly over your skin. It will cause huge irritation and may harm your skin. Instead, choose several problem areas. When first using Differen, choose discreet areas as you do not know how differen will affect you. The medication will worsen your skin for several weeks. It will bring all pimples to the surface. As they appear, treat them with a little drying lotion, and use moisterizer. After a few weeks, that area of your skin will become clear, and will stay that way for weeks. The reason I don't recommend treating your whole face at once is that it can be so hard to deal with; redness, very bad acne, all over. So just pick an area and treat it; after treatment you may not have anothe pimple there for a year. Nice, huh?
If you have any specific questions please feel free to ask me.