Common acne management approaches are problematic. At best they are inconsistent, and at worst they are harmful. Conventional methods do not satisfactorily solve this widespread problem. Topical applications like ointments and creams are popular for treating acne, however they do not actually reduce acne bacteria and may irritate the skin. Antibiotics may be effective in some cases, but they often require long-term use, and are not recommended unless absolutely necessary. Some acne medications have been linked with potentially serious side effects.