Over-the-Counter Products for Acne-Prone Skin

Say goodbye to breakouts!

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February 19, 2020

Acne is Out and Confidence Is In

Whether you’re a teenager or an adult, fighting breakouts never gets easier. Sometimes they come in the face of hormonal shifts, and sometimes they are a direct result of stressors at work. Regardless, they’re a pain to deal with and bring about even more anxiety. Luckily, there are lots of over-the-counter products that fight oil and dead skin build-up that can lead to painful, cystic breakouts. We’ve rounded up some of our favorite products so that you can start fighting acne with your next trip to the drugstore.

The Ordinary Glycolic Acid Toning Solution

I discovered this stuff on a whim, and boy has it been a game-changer. If you feel a breakout coming on—or if you already have one that’s red and irritated—put this on before you go to bed and you will wake up feeling MUCH better. It’s formulated with 7 percent glycolic acid, an alpha hydroxyl acid that exfoliates and deep-cleans your pores. It’s also alcohol-free, so it’s less drying.

BUY IT: Ulta, $9

CeraVe Retinol Serum

This serum contains a retinol that is specifically formulated to reduce scars brought on by adult acne. It’s also very smoothing, and it even reduces the size and appearance of pores so that your skin looks healthier overall.

BUY IT: Amazon, $18

Onekind Pink Clay Mask

This is one of the only masks I’ve found that addresses breakouts without leaving your skin feeling dry and tight. It uses salicylic and lactic acids to resurface and prevent breakouts, as well as pink kaoline and bentonite clays to detoxify skin that’s clogged or congested. I’ve also found that it drastically reduces any redness caused by breakouts thanks to the fact that it contains barley seed extract.

BUY IT: One Kind, $22

Biossance Squalane and Tea Tree Cleansing Gel

One of the most difficult parts about having oily or acne-prone skin is that so many of the products feel like they’re designed to leave your skin dry and flaky. This mask contains both tea tree oil, which purifies and calms the skin, as well as magnesium, which has purifying effects. Luckily, it also contains squalane, which locks in moisture and leaves skin feeling super soft and supple.

BUY IT: Sephora, $29

Clinque Clincal Clearing Gel

This gel is intended to be applied after you cleanse your face—and it’s an oil-stopping savior. It contains salicylic acid and acetyl glucosamine, both of which work hard to clear dead skin cells that clog up pores. It also contains laminaria saccharina extract and witch hazel, both of which work to minimize shine and future breakouts.

BUY IT: Sephora, $27

Peace Out Acne Healing Dots

If you have that one pesky pimple on your chin that just won’t go away, these spot healing dots are the way to go. They contain salicylic acid, which will clean out the acne-causing bacteria. Meanwhile, the vitamin A wll enhances clear skin and aloe vera is there to make your pores look smaller.

BUY IT: Sephora, $19

Differin Daily Deep Cleanser

If you have cystic acne, it might be time to call in the benzoyl peroxide. This cleanser contains five percent benzoyl peroxide as opposed to 10, which will keep your skin from drying out. The cleanser also gently moisturizes your skin so that you don’t have to feel tight and dry in order to be acne-free.

BUY IT: Amazon, $11

Murad Clarifying Body Spray

If “backne” is a thing you struggle with, this spray will be a real game-changer in your life. It has a 360-degree sprayer that allows you to get to hard-to-reach areas, and it’s fast drying so that you don’t have to wait to get dressed. It contains salicylic acid, which will work to keep your pores clean and clear.

BUY IT: Sephora, $44

Mario Badescu Facial Spray with Aloe

Not only does this facial spray feel super refreshing, but it’s also the perfect solution for sensitive skin that is dried out and tired from acne products. It contains soothing cucumber and peppermint essential waters, as well as green tea—all of which work to keep your skin hydrated and bacteria-free.

BUY IT: Amazon, $7

Origins Pore Clearing Moisturizer with Salicylic Acid

Even if you’re using lots of bacteria-fighting products on your skin, it’s important to remember to moisturize—just make sure you’re doing it with a product that promotes acne-free skin. This oil-free moisturizer is here to answer that call. It contains 1 percent salicylic acid, as well as bamboo charcoal, which will keep new breakouts at bay.

BUY IT: Sephora, $34

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