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Best Acne Skin Care Products

Best Spot Treatment: Mario Badescu Drying Lotion


Key Ingredients

Sulfur is a natural element that is an essential component for all living cells. Sulfur-based products tend to work best for mild-to-moderate acne, primarily whiteheads, blackheads, and papules.

Ask any woman whos ever struggled with acne and shell at least have heard of this cult acne-fighter. People swear that just one drop of Mario Badescus famous drying lotion can heal and dry a zit up overnight the calamine, colloidal sulfur, and salicylic acid ensure it.

What Our Testers Say

“Mario Badescu’s Drying Lotion does just what it says: stops pimples in their tracks and calms them at the same time.” Bianca Lambert, Product Tester

Key Ingredients

Aloe vera is a naturally derived ingredient known for its soothing and moisturizing properties. The aloe plant’s inner gel mucilage is made up of 99.5% water.

This clarifying serum is 100% natural and plant-based to gently calm irritated and acne-prone skin. It has aloe vera to increase skin’s elasticity and restore its optimum pH balance, and alcohol-free witch hazel to control oil production and prevent future breakouts. The real star ingredient is calendula, which promotes the fast healing and regeneration of skin.

Dermatologists Say These Are The Best Skincare Products For Acne

Dealing with acne-prone skin is complicated whether youve experienced breakouts since you were a teenager or got your first set of pimples as an adult. Its a tricky skin condition to deal with because there are so many causes that can kickstart the formation of bumps and breakouts.

Acne can be due to a variety of causes, says Dhaval Bhanusali, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist based in New York City. This includes an increase in oil production that leads to clogged pores, slow cell turnover, which causes dead skin to pile up and clog pores, and reactions to topical creams or makeup.

On top of all the different causes of acne, there are also varying types of the condition, says Joshua Zeichner, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist based in New York City. Generally speaking, acne is divided into inflammatory and non-inflammatory subtypes, he says. Non-inflammatory acne includes blackheads and whiteheads typically seen in the T-zone, inflammatory acne includes the red bumps, pus pimples, and even the deeper nodules and cysts.

If youre prone to breakouts, you probably know that theres no shortage of acne products available on the market, which is great but also intimidating if you dont know what to look for. Luckily, with the help of top dermatologists, weve gathered the best acne products. Keep reading for the best treatments, serums, cleansers, moisturizers, and more to help get rid of pimples.

Noble Formula 2% Pyrithione Zinc Original Emu Bar Soap

Available at and Walmart, $14.50

If you want your face to feel squeaky clean after just one use, try this exfoliating bar soap. It has 2% pyrithione zinc, which has anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties, so anyone who suffers from acne, eczema, and seborrheic dermatitis can benefit from using it. Other beneficial ingredients include olive oil to moisturize your skin, emu oil to combat inflammation and swelling, and calendula to heal dry, damaged skin.

I’ve been using it for over a month now and it’s always soothing to use at the end of the day when I want to really clean out the oil and dirt that has accumulated on my face. Connie Chen, former Insider Reviews senior reporter

I owe finding this in the landslide of products on Amazon to a recommendation from my dermatologist. It’s the only bar of soap I’ve finished and then subsequently replaced in recent memory. It’s unassuming, but it works exceptionally well. I use this just for my body, and the 2% pyrithione zinc clarifies while the oatmeal exfoliates, and the emu and olive oil leave my skin feeling moisturized rather than stripped. To put it simply, it does exactly what you’d want it to do.

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Should You Squeeze Your Spots

As tempting as it is, its a resounding NO from every dermatologist that we consulted. Squeezing pimples can spread the bacteria to other parts of your face as well as allowing more dirt and oil into the pore. It can also lead to scarring or push the inflammation deeper into the skin, which causes infection.

On top of sticking to a skincare routine that includes washing your face regularly, weve gathered the best products for spots and blemishes that have been tried and tested.

The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion

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Delivering a potent, deep-absorbing dose of the brands advanced retinoid active complex directly to your skin, The Ordinarys Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion supports your skins natural regeneration process and promotes cell renewal, which helps those suffering from hormonal acne by speeding up the healing time of their breakouts. It also removes dead skin cells and other pore-clogging agents from your skin.

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What Is The Difference Between Acne And Blemishes

Dr Ross Perry from the Cosmedics skin clinics explains: Fundamentally spots and acne are the same thing, but in common parlance, acne describes a more serious, ongoing condition, whereas spots could be more an occasional or localised problem.

He goes on to say, The root cause is acne bacteria Propionibacterium acnes which live on the skin. Where follicles become blocked with sebum and dead skin cells, the P. Acnes bacteria go into overdrive, causing blackheads, whiteheads and spots and redness. These can then become inflamed causing redness and more severe spots/cysts.

Best For Repairing Damaged Skin: Kiara Cbd Skin Aid Cream

  • Lab tested by third-party labs

For a skin care cream that does it all, look no further than the CBD Skin Aid Cream from Kiara. The cream contains a unique formulation of CBD and extracts from eight other medicinal plants clinically proven to promote skin repair, disinfect wounds, and minimize scarring and blemishes.

The Skin Aid Cream is multi-purpose, recommended in supporting the skin barrier and healing of burns, cuts, scars, acne scars, tattoos, C-section scars and every day first aid.

The cream is highly potent and antiseptic, so there may be slight discomfort after applying, but this should only be temporary. However, for this reason, it should be kept away from the eyes and face if you have sensitive skin.

What Customers Say:

The Skin Aid Cream from Kiara has helped users with their acne as well as improve the appearance of scars. Customers claim the natural formulations work quickly with noticeable results in just a few days.

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Best Night Cream For Oily And Acne

The original Night-a-Mins night cream was such a hit that the brand re-released it recently with alpha hydroxy acids in the mix. Like any good nighttime product, it uses these exfoliants to combat wrinkles and acne while you sleep, but also adds in a range of other good stuff like squalane, antioxidants, and hyaluronic acid to help you wake up with plump, dewy skin. See the full ingredient list here.

Bonus Points, Per the Experts: This product is oil-free, which is what our derms suggest you look for.

One Tester Said: This night cream is filled with fruit-based AHAs, and it’s evident by the sweet-smelling fragrance. The cream sunk into my skin quickly and felt calming. I’m currently using prescription Retin-A to combat acne, and I used this product to sweep away dead skin cells on a night I was skipping my Retin-A. Highly recommend it for that reason: I woke up with clean, calm, and refreshed skin. I would definitely incorporate this now into my regular routine.

Buy It: $46,

Most Innovative Skin Care Gift: Foreo Ufo 2 Set

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  • 90 uses per single charge
  • Cruelty-free and vegan
  • Clinically proven to reduce wrinkles

The UFO 2 set from Foreo features the innovative UFO 2 device and the Farm to Face mask collection. Pair the device with one of the masks for deep penetration of the skin-loving nutrients.

The facial device has been shown to increase moisture levels by 126% and keep the skin hydrated for up to 6 hours. Furthermore, the UDO 2 device is clinically proven to significantly reduce wrinkles in just 7 days.

The innovative Foreo device has numerous functions for soft, smooth, and supple skin in just 2 minutes:

  • Thermo-therapy pushes the mask ingredients deep into the skin
  • Cryo-therapy depuffs, shrinks the appearance of pores and firms skin
  • Full- spectrum LED light helps refine and revitalize complexion
  • T-Sonic massage relaxes muscle tension, reduces puffiness and smoothes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles

Each UFO-activated mask and FOREO sheet mask has its own treatment routine in the FOREO app, to make sure you get the most out of your facial. You can also use your own masks and create custom routines that are best for your skin type.

What Customers Say:

Users are full of praise for the Foreo UFO 2 Set, claiming it makes their skin feel so much smooth and brighter. The masks are an added bonus with the Green Tea mask a favorite with customers, for calming stressed skin.

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What Is The Difference Between Adolescent And Adult Acne

Acne breakouts in younger skin tend to be more persistent and consistent. Persistent acne is often caused by excess oil production and may be concentrated in the t-zone . Adult acne may be more cyclical with less frequent breakouts that are often concentrated in the u-zone . Learn more about an acne treatment product for cyclical acne.

Best Body Scrub For Oily And Acne

Charcoal was another ingredient that derms recommended for cleansing acne-prone skin of dirt and oil, and its included in this sugar scrub that gently sloughs off dead skin and dirt. Our testers raved about the vanilla scent, though they advised using just a little bit at a time for the best results. See the full ingredient list here.

Bonus Points, Per the Experts: This product contains charcoal and sugar, both of which our derms recommended you look for in a body scrub when you have oily and acne-prone skin.

Just So You Know: This product contains coconut oil, which our derms suggested you might want to avoid.

One Tester Said: I really loved the scent of this body polish. Although the polish can be a little hard and tends to clump together, it lathered very well without completely disintegrating. Once Id completely washed the scrub away, there was a bit of an oily film left in its place, which Id assumed was just a natural result of the oils in the scrub.

Buy It: $13,

The StrategistThe Cut

SELF does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Any information published on this website or by this brand is not intended as a substitute for medical advice, and you should not take any action before consulting with a healthcare professional.

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Best Serum For Oily And Acne

This Captain Blankenship serum has a lot of things you might recognize in a good toner, like witch hazel and white willow bark extract . As a bonus, it also contains a range of essential oils to keep your skin hydrated, and our testers loved that you can use its rollerball tip as a spot treatment. See the full ingredient list here.

Bonus Points, Per the Experts: This serum contains willow bark extract, which is a natural source of salicylic acid. Salicylic acid is a BHA, which our dermatologist experts noted as a good ingredient to have in a serum if you’ve got oily- or acne-prone skin.

One Tester Said: I’ve been using this as a spot treatment on trouble areas, and have seen a reduction in redness after a couple hours of application. It’s nice having a spot treatment that can be worn all day and not a pasty-white night cream situation that means you’re spending all night in your apartment. I also love that this product isn’t super dryingI’m guessing this is thanks to the aloe vera base. This one is definitely worth keeping in my arsenal.

Buy It: $15,

Best Toner: Perricone Md No: Rinse Intensive Pore Minimizing Toner

Top Skin Care Products For Acne
  • Has an immediate mattifying effect


  • Benzoyl peroxide can bleach non-white fabrics

Joshua Zeichner, M.D., is the dermatologist behind this clean collection, which is formulated specifically with adult acne in mind. In this weightless, water-gel mask, you’ll find micronized 2.5% benzoyl peroxide , alpha-linoleic acid for oil control, and saw palmetto for balance. “There’s data showing that it can help control oil, so it can be beneficial in someone who has acne,” Zeichner told mbg about the smart botanical.

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The Best Acne Treatment For Oily Skin

It goes without saying, every acne treatment won’t work for everybody. Knowing your skin type is the best way to find products that will work best for you. Oily skin can benefit from the La Roche-Posay Effaclar Medicated Gel Acne Face Wash. It removes excess oil that clogs pores and causes acne. Youtuber Your FavGoTo reviewed this product saying, “After I used it, it had a very refreshing … tingling sensation … it felt elevated, lifted.”

Best Retinoid: Differin Adapalene Gel 01% Acne Treatment

Formerly available by prescription only, Differin is now for sale over the counter, and serious skincare gurus are overjoyed. It contains a prescription-strength retinoid called Adapalene, which dermatologists recommend specifically for the treatment of acne. Long story short: Its more than worth a try. The water-based formula is free of oil, alcohol, and fragrance, and is an essential item in anyones acne-fighting arsenal.

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Best Body Wash For Oily And Acne

If you regularly get bad cases of bacne, you know that an acne-specific body wash can go the extra mile for keeping breakouts to a minimum. This clarifying body wash from botanical brand Esker does just that, with soothing aloe in it to calm down inflammation, and an assortment of gentle, clarifying oils to hydrate and cleanse without irritating skin. See the full ingredient list here.

One Tester Said: This body wash lathers up nicely and I was surprised to enjoy the scentthe floral isn’t overpowering, and it’s actually a bit refreshing. The soap works up to a nice lather and I definitely felt fresh and clean after each use, but never like my skin was drying out. Which, to me, is what a good body wash should do.

Buy It: $28,

Skinceuticals Phloretin Cf Serum

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Every hormonal acne sufferer knows that fading acne scars requires a regimen of its own. Fight stubborn discoloration and scaring with the SkinCeuticals Phloretin CF Serum, a daytime antioxidant serum that combines vitamin C and ferulic acid to brighten and correct uneven tone and texture. Its potent formula also makes it a great treatment for wrinkles, sun spots and fighting off free radical damage.

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Best Spot Treatment For Acne: Paula’s Choice 10% Azelaic Acid Booster

Azelaic acid, as weve noted before, is a wonder ingredient for acne, rosacea, and pigmentation issues. This Paulas Choice booster product uses a 10 percent concentration of it, plus some additional salicylic acid for clearing skin, but goes on like a lightweight, creamy serum. Testers reported clearer, smoother skin after using this serum, without any residual burning, which is a win-win in our book. See the full ingredient list here.

Bonus Points, Per the Experts: This product contains salicylic acid, which our derms suggested you look for.

One Tester Said: Love the texture of this one, it’s creamy and sinks in so easily. My face started to feel soft and smooth within a few days, and I love that it can be applied alone or mixed in with a cream. I would honestly use this as a serum all over as well as a spot treatment.

Buy It: $36,

Neosporin Original Antibiotic Ointment

Available at Walmart and Target, from $8.89

For any whiteheads that I pick , I try to heal it with a bit of Neosporin. At this point, that whitehead has become an open lesion, so an antibiotic ointment helps speed up the healing process. Jada Wong, former Insider Reviews senior editor

I’ve been using this trick since high school, and it’s still the fastest and most effective means I’ve found for healing blemishes I picked at. It speeds up the process, totally negates dryness, doesn’t clog pores, and keeps me from touching them and introducing more germs. Mara Leighton, Insider Reviews senior reporter

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Skinceuticals C E Ferulic With 15% L

SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic with 15% L-Ascorbic Acid is a powerhouse in anti-aging and anti-acne

This patented daytime vitamin C serum combines 15% pure vitamin C paired with 1% vitamin E and 0.5% ferulic acid. Together, these potent ingredients go to battle against skin aging. The active ingredients work to provide protection against environmental impurities by neutralizing free radicals, brightening the overall look of the complexion, and boosting firmness. The serum continues to work for at least 72 hours after application, providing long-lasting benefits.

Tonymoly I’m Real Sheet Masks

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Available at and Ulta

When I went to Seoul, Korea for the first time, I was an ignorant person who had never used a sheet mask or any face mask, for that matter . Before I left, I asked my friends what I should bring back from my trip, and they all said the same thing: Tonymoly sheet masks. So I dutifully went to the busy shopping district in Seoul and wandered through skincare shop after skincare shop, laden down with free samples until I found Tonymoly and bought three packs.

I now use these sheet masks from Tonymoly regularly to hydrate my skin. Since the ingredients are plant-based and gentle, these masks don’t irritate my skin, either. Malarie Gokey, lead training coordinator

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