The Best Ingredients To Treat Acne:
From oral antibiotics to over-the-counter creams, gels and face washes, there are so many different options available to treat acne. Most mild, non-hormonal cases of acne can be cleared using OTC products, according to Angela Lamb, a dermatologist at Mount Sinai. These typically include acne-busting ingredients such as:
Best Budget: The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Solution
Reviewers note it doesn’t absorb fast
As cheap as this is, its also effective and gentle on skinnowhere near a clumsily formulated acid bath. The Ordinarys solution contains acne-fighting salicylic acid as well as a milder form of witch hazel, an anti-inflammatory botanical extract that doesn’t over-dry skin. Thanks to its exfoliating and soothing properties, the solution clears closed comedones, blackheads, and whiteheads while reducing redness, even balancing oily skin.
Type: Serum | Active Ingredients: Salicylic acid | Size: 1.01 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Yes
Don’t Believe The Myths
There are many myths about what causes acne. Yet contrary to what you may have heard, acne is not caused by the following:
- A dirty face
- Foods like chocolate or French fries
- Masturbating, having sex, or the lack of either
It’s tough when you’re breaking out and your friends have clear skin, but it’s not your fault that you have acne. Acne is triggered by hormonal fluctuations during puberty, not by outside influences. Thanks to genetics, some people are just naturally more prone to developing pimples.
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Body Acne Can Be Treated Too
The face isn’t the only place that acne can pop up. It also commonly appears on the following areas:
Many of the same medications that are used on your face can also be used for other body parts. Benzoyl peroxide soaps and body washes are often used to treat body breakouts.
Your healthcare provider might also prescribe other medications, like oral antibiotics or even isotretinoin. This will depend on how serious your breakouts are.
What Is The Best Acne Treatment For Teens
Teenagers are the group most commonly affected by acne. This is because puberty causes hormonal changes that can in turn cause changes in the skin. The best acne treatment will be dependent of the individual and symptoms. The GP or pharmacist would be able to advise further according to the individuals needs.
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Best Classic: Kate Somerville Eradikate Salicylic Acid Acne Treatment
Pricier than other options
Zinc is an essential mineral that is needed for numerous healthy bodily functions, including boosting the immune system, healing wounds, and assisting in DNA/protein synthesis and growth. Applied topically, it’s shown to aid in wound healing and regeneration, as well as protect the skin by deflecting UV rays.
Youve probably seen this products characteristic pink formula dotted all over peoples faces on Instagram. Housed in a vaguely medical-looking glass bottle, the EradiKate Acne Treatment uses sulfur and AHAs to reduce existing pimples while preventing new ones. As the treatment shrinks pimples overnight, zinc oxide absorbs excess sebum to control oil, which helps keep the area clear. Even hormonal acne disappears faster. Without shaking the bottle, dip a Q-Tip into the bottle, pick up the thick pink solution, and apply it to your blemish.
Type: Lotion | Active Ingredients: Salicylic acid, retinyl propionate | Size: 1 fluid ounce | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Yes
You May Need A Prescription Treatment
If you’ve tried a ton of OTC products and you’re still breaking out, it’s time to call for backup. Your healthcare provider has plenty of prescription acne treatment options that will help get your acne under control.
You don’t necessarily have to see a dermatologist, either. It’s likely that your family healthcare provider has helped many teenagers with acne. Your regular healthcare provider can refer you to a dermatologist if they think it’s necessary.
The advantage here is that prescription medications are going to be stronger and they usually work faster. Also, they can work even when OTC products haven’t.
If your acne is severe, inflamed, or leaving scars, you should skip the OTC products and start with prescription medications right away.
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Cleanse Topical Moisturize Repeat
As fun as those 10-step K-beauty routines sound, its prob best to avoid an extensive routine if you have cystic acne. Too many ingredients at once can worsen symptoms.
Pssst: Always do a patch test to ensure products jibe with your skin.
How We Chose These Products:
On this list, we only selected treatments that were:
- Dermatologist or aesthetician recommended
- Tested and reviewed by members of the Good Housekeeping Beauty Lab and/or Beauty editorial team
- Had solid customer reviews
Since many acne treatments can cause your skin to be more vulnerable to sunburn, we also added expert recommended sunscreens that wont clog your skin.
Ross loves Supergoop CC Screen, because not only does it protect your skin from the sun, it “has 20% zinc which is very high quality,” he says. Zinc, as we’ve mentioned above, is great for calming irritated skin. This sunscreen is also a concealer, so if you’re looking for a moisturizing sunscreen that doubles as makeup, this product might be something you’ll want to try.
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The 17 Best Acne Treatments According To Dermatologists
There are so many different ways to treat acne breakouts that it can be hard to figure out exactly which might be the best acne treatment for your skin. Even if you’ve had some type of acne all your life, the pimples we have as adults can be different from the acne we had as teens and can be difficult to clear up, depending on things like hormones, changes in skin type and texture, and scarring.
Since life is hard enough without worrying endlessly about the state of our skin, SELF spoke to dermatologists to find out which acne treatments are the most effective on all types of pimples. Keep reading to learn what causes acne in the first place, plus the best acne treatments and acne medications worth spending your hard-earned dollars on.
Its worth noting that whether youre looking to simply minimize some pesky blackheads or dealing with something more serious like cystic or inflammatory acne, your best bet is always to speak to a dermatologist. Theyve got the training to identify acne types by sight and access to way more treatment options than your local Target or Ulta.
Best Spot Treatment: Mario Badescu Drying Lotion
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
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.
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What Is The Best Treatment For Acne
Having acne as an adult can sometimes cause low self-esteem or anxiety. Cystic acne can also be painful and uncomfortable. In adults, acne is caused by stress, hormones, and genetic factors. Luckily, there are several treatments for acne available that can help restore your healthy skin.
What Are The Symptoms Of Hormonal Acne
For teenagers, hormonal acne breakouts will often appear in the same places as typical teen acne: the forehead, cheeks, around the mouth, and the chin. Unlike teenage acne which is predominantly on the upper parts of the face, hormonal acne appears mostly on the lower parts of the face around the mouth, chin, and lower jawline. Though the chin and jawline are the most common locations for adult hormonal acne, the face and sides of the neck may also be affected.
Like teenage acne, hormonal acne will include comedones . Many women with hormonal acne will also have “under-the-skin bumps”, cysts that are not red or visible on the skin’s surface.
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The Best Acne Spot Treatments
We include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Heres our process.
The range of acne spot treatments is huge, encompassing many prescription and over-the-counter options. The right choice depends on the type, severity, and cause of a persons acne.
In this article, we describe six of the best acne spot treatments, looking at the most effective ingredients and how they work.
Please note, however, that the statements below are based only on research. No one at Medical News Today, including the writer, has tried these products.
Best Among The Ordinary: The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%
Among the different acne treatments out there, this acne cream is very beneficial in soothing inflamed skin, decreasing congestion and redness, and preventing the stinging and burning that you typically associate with other acids.
Azelaic acid is a dicarboxylic acid derived from barley and wheat, although most brands utilize a lab-engineered version for stability and efficacy.
It is a mild exfoliator that helps to unclog pores and improve the texture of the skin. Azelaic acid is a great component for reducing inflammation, particularly in individuals with rosacea.
It is gentler on the skin than direct acids and retinol and is deemed pregnancy safe. It also battles acne, aids in the whitening of post-acne patches, and provides an even skin tone.
How does it work?
It brightens the skin tone while dramatically enhancing skin texture evenness and decreasing the appearance of blemishes.
It is a multi-functional skin support component that also functions as an antioxidant.
It contains antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects, making it useful in treating acne and skin problems such as acne and rosacea. The acid may help prevent future breakouts by cleaning the germs that cause acne from your pores. Unclogging pores is what it do best.
Azelaic acid is applied to the skin in the form of gel, foam, or cream.
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What Is Hormonal Acne
Acne is caused by a combination of changes in your skin such as enlargement and clogging of your sebaceous glands, bacterial proliferation, inflammation, and hormonal factors. Hormonal acne occurs when there is an imblance in your hormone levels.
If you’re dealing with hormonal acne, you should know that you’re not alone! Hormonal acne is very common and affects 50% of women between 20 – 29 and 25% of women between 40 – 49. While not as prevalent, hormonal acne is also seen in teenagers, peri-menopausal and menopausal women.
Good Skin Care Habits
Finally, although theyre not a treatment in the typical sense, good skin care habits play a key role in getting rid of acne and preventing it from coming back.
These include washing acne-prone skin regularly , avoiding touching your face throughout the day, washing your hair regularly to prevent excess sebum buildup, using gentle skin care products and protecting your healthy skin from bright sunlight.
Its also important not to pop your pimples by yourself, as this can push debris deeper into your skin and make your breakouts worse.
Weve covered the lifestyle factors that can contribute to acne, as well as the steps that you can take to prevent them from affecting you, in our guide to taking care of your skin.
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Innbeauty Project Pimple Paste
- Price: $
- Prescription: No
- Type of acne: Inflammatory acne
This spot treatment for acne comes recommended by Zeichner, who emphasizes the effectiveness of sulfur in acne products: Sulfur-based products are available both over the counter and by prescription. They have anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties to help lower inflammation in the skin.
Instead of drying out acne with toothpaste, which can contain ingredients that are too harsh for skin, this paste contains active ingredients proven to combat breakouts, including sulfur, azelaic acid, and tea tree oil.
Apply overnight as a spot treatment and rinse away in the morning. This paste should not be used as an all-over treatment, but it can be applied in a thin layer to larger clusters of lesions.
How Can You Determine Which Treatment Is Best For You
Determining the best acne treatment for you depends on the type of acne and severity.
The best way to determine the right acne treatment plan is to see a dermatology provider, explains , MD, a board certified dermatologist and clinical associate professor of dermatology at the University of Alabama-Birmingham. There are many different types of acne, and treatment regimens vary from person to person.
A dermatologist will closely examine your skin to see which of the different types of lesions appear:
- Mildnoninflammatory acne includes whiteheads and blackheads.
- Moderateinflammatory acne includes papules and pustules.
- Severe inflammatory acne includes nodules and cysts.
Noninflammatory acne can usually be cleared up with OTC products containing active ingredients like salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide, or prescription-strength topical retinoids.
Inflammatory acne requires topical or oral prescriptions from a dermatologist to effectively treat.
Though papules and pustules may clear up with OTC products alone, inflammatory acne is more likely to lead to scarring, so seeing a dermatologist is the best way to clear acne and prevent acne scars.
The acne treatments on this list are based on:
- recommendations from board certified dermatologists
- ingredients proven to be effective in treating acne
- customer reviews
- Product type: Topical cream or gel
- Prescription: Yes
- Type of acne: Noninflammatory acne
- Prescription: Yes
- Type of acne: Noninflammatory acne
- Ortho Tri-Cyclen
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How To Make A Scrub At Home
Exfoliation is the process of removing the top layer of dead skin cells. It may reduce the appearance of scars and discoloration, but more research needs to be done on its ability to treat acne.
The relationship between diet and acne has been debated for years.
Research suggests that dietary factors, such as insulin and glycemic index, may be associated with acne .
A foods glycemic index is a measure of how quickly it raises your blood sugar.
Eating high GI foods causes a spike in insulin, which likely increases sebum production. As a result, high GI foods may directly affect the development and severity of acne.
Foods with a high glycemic index include processed foods, such as:
- white bread
- whole or minimally processed grains
In one study, 66 people followed either a normal or low glycemic diet. After 2 weeks, the individuals consuming a low glycemic diet had lower levels of insulin-like growth factor-1 , a hormone involved in acne development .
Another study in 64 people found that those with moderate or severe acne ate diets with more carbohydrates and a higher glycemic load than those without acne .
These small studies suggest that a low glycemic diet may help those with acne-prone skin. Additional larger, longer studies are needed.
The relationship between dairy and acne is highly controversial.
The 7 Best Acne Treatments For Men
Stubborn, slow healing acne.
If theres one thing to be said about Tiege Hanley, its that it has you covered for all of your facial skin needs, and this treatment is no different: Its part of the Acne System which you need to buy in full this includes a wash, scrub and two types of moisturizer.
The first moisturizer is great, but the second moisturizer may surprise you its the one dedicated to acne treatment. Were used to acne formulations coming as a wash or cleanse, but Tiege has changed the formula around and used their moisturizer to deliver the anti-acne solution.
The genius here is making you apply the moisturizer at night although it absorbs well into the skin, there is an invisible face mask of salicylic acid that rests on your face. Despite not feeling any different from the usual moisturizer they provide, it does the heavy lifting of managing your acne while you sleep.
Ingredients like Salix Alba bark extract ensure that your skin stays hydrated whilst the gentle salicylic acid gets to work.
Tiege Hanley employs a chemist known only as The Chemist who formulates all of its products.
According to TH, The Chemist is a firm believer that diet and excessive face-washing dont clear up acne but that a topical treatment makes all the difference.
Tiege Hanleys acne cream is infused with salicylic acid, which helps shed the top layer of skin cells.
It even helps reduce the appearance of acne scars while preventing future breakouts.
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