For a lot of us, stress is both the cause and effect of pimples and other skin blemishes. It’s a vicious cycle we seem to never get out of, especially when we’re dealing with work challenges, family conflict, or just a generally bad day. Life just happens, right? (Personally, I think a breakup that leads to a breakout is the absolute worst.) At-home acne treatments have never been limited to one category and for that I’m thankful.
Though I’m not faced with cystic acne, scarring, contact dermatitis, or other severe skin condition, I’ve tried my fair share of products for allergic reactions, hormonal acne, and eczema. Ultimately, I’ve learned that targeting blemishes—like most skin-related challenges—isn’t one size fits all. You’ve got to take the time and research to develop a regimen that suits your individual needs, including a visit to the dermatologist if you have access to one.
CeraVe Acne Foaming Cream Cleanser
Formulated with sensitive skin types in mind, this cream-to-foam cleanser’s formulation is a 4 percent blend of zit-zapping benzoyl peroxide, moisturizing hyaluronic acid and brightening niacinamide.
Dermalogica AGE Bright Clearing Serum
A two-in-one serum that diminishes and help prevent breakouts and delays aging signs (fine lines, wrinkles, etc.)
Differin Adapalene Gel (60-Day Supply)
Need proof that this drugstore classic is the real deal? Just look at how it transformed one writer’s acne-prone complexion in a couple of months.
Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum
An overnight, potent gel treatment infused with a formula that’s 12 percent alpha-hydroxy and beta-hydroxy acids for exfoliating both surface level and unseen skin layers.
Elta MD UV Clear Facial Sunscreen SPF 46
Sunscreen is a surefire way to ward off excessive sun exposure that often leads to hyperpigmentation and in some cases, breakouts. This oil-free and derm-tested option is an Amazon best-seller made specifically for those with acne-prone and/or sensitive skin.
Foreo Espada Acne Clearing Blue Light Device
Light therapy has been clinically proven to effectively treat skin blemishes by targeting acne-causing bacteria under the skin’s surface.
Kate Somerville EradiKate Acne Treatment
This award-winning and best-selling spot treatment is formulated with beta-hydroxy acids and sulfur exfoliate dead skin cells, absorb excess oil and deliver antibacterial properties to problem areas on the face.
Murad InvisiScar Resurfacing Treatment
In just two months with consistent use, this acne scar treatment minimizes the appearance of dark spots and brightens the overall complexion with beta-hydroxy acids, centella asiatica and vitamin C.
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel
An often-overlooked acne solution is simply keeping your face moisturized from day to day. This drugstore fave is supercharged with hyaluronic acid to help your skin better retain moisture.
Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant
The brand’s number one cult favorite is this leave-on salicylic acid solution that deeply penetrates the skin to unclog pores and promote a brighter complexion.
Peace Out Acne Healing Dots
The sticky side of these hydrocolloid dots is a concentrated blend of pimple-fighting salicylic acid, soothing aloe vera and vitamin A.
Pixi Glow Tonic
Highly effective, yet gentle enough for daily use, this cult favorite exfoliates, brightens and balances oil in the skin with a 5 percent glycolic acid formula, as well as soothing aloe vera and energizing red ginseng.
Proactiv Adapalene Gel
Adapalene is a derm-approved retinoid proven again and again to reduce acne and improve overall skin texture.
Skinceuticals Phyto Corrective Gel
This calming moisturizer is oil-free and infused with botanicals that help minimize discoloration, increase moisture retention and improve texture.
Sunday Riley U.F.O Ultra-Clarifying Face Oil
If traditional spot treatments or acne gels often leave your skin feeling irritated and flaky, this gentle medicated oil clarifies and brightens while also reducing redness.
The Inkey List Salicylic Acid Cleanser
A light liquid-to-foam cleanser that absorbs excess oil (zinc), exfoliates dead skin cells (salicylic acid) and stimulates the growth of new tissue (allantoin).
The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%
This best-selling and ultra-affordable serum targets blemish-prone skin by balancing sebum production, decreasing skin congestion and diminishing dark spots.
Urban Skin Rx Retinol Rapid Repair & Dark Spot Treatment
A creamy and satisfying face mask powered by a potent formula rich in retinol, niacinamide and kojic acid for maximum exfoliating and blemish-fighting benefits.
Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay
This Amazon best-seller is a head-to-toe bentonite clay solution for oily, blemish-prone skin.
Bestope Extraction Kit
And if you’re feeling the urge to pick at a blemish, definitely invest in an extraction kit that will make it less likely to spread bacteria from your hand to face.
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