Last updated: September 8, 2020

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In our new article, we will be tackling one of our skin’s worst enemies: acne. Who likes to see pimples, spots, and other blackheads on their face? No one. This is why we want to give you an update on the most efficient treatments and the best strategies to combat this unpleasant phenomenon. We’ll even tell you what acne really is.

Today, you can find a wide variety of remedies against acne on the American market. These range from topical cleansers to intensive hormonal treatments. In this guide, we will be focusing on the former, which are applied directly to the skin. They are convenient, easy to use, and affordable. Are you ready to learn more about them?

Key Facts

  • Acne is an inflammatory skin condition.
  • It is characterized by clogged pores, an excess of fat in the skin, and bacterial overgrowth.
  • There are different types of acne (mild, moderate, and severe), depending on the lesions present on the skin.
  • Hygienic measures and topical treatments are fundamental to treat acne.

Our Selection: The Best Acne Treatments on the U.S. Market

In the following section, you will discover our very own selection of the best acne treatments currently available out there. We have also included a brief description of each product to help you make the best possible purchase. Make sure you compare them and read the rest of our guide before you decide on a specific treatment.

Best Acne Treatment for Spots & Pimples

Clean & Clear specializes in dermatology products, and 100% of testers have shown clearer skin after just one day of using this acne spot treatment. Containing salicylic acid and witch hazel, it is designed to reduce oil on the skin and effectively reduces pimples and spots. This Amazon’s Choice product is suitable for normal, oily, and combination skins.

Best Acne Treatment Kit

Are you looking for a more holistic method to tackle your acne problems? Proactiv’s 3-step acne treatment system is about as thorough as it gets. It consists of three products: a renewing cleanser, a revitalizing toner, and a repairing treatment, as well as a purifying mask and a green tea moisturizer. You won’t need anything else, and you will certainly notice the difference over the 8 weeks of treatment!

Best Face Mask for Acne

Formulated to eliminate excess oil and toxins from your face while leaving your pores cleaned, this Dead Sea mud mask is an excellent cosmetic to combat acne. You are advised to use it once to twice a week; it will leave your face feeling smooth and nourished. The natural ingredients it contains, such as jojoba oil and shea butter, are great for your skin. You can also use it on other parts of your body.

Best Natural Face Care Cosmetic

This best-selling skin-clearing serum is the perfect cosmetic to add to your daily beauty routine. Rich in vitamin C, salicylic acid, and hyaluronic acid, it will help cleanse your pores and combat blemishes that appear due to acne. It’s also a wonderful antiaging serum, and the benefits of its natural ingredients go well beyond tackling acne.

Shopping Guide: Everything You Should Know About Acne

Before you can decide on a treatment against acne, we think it is important for you to be more familiar with this pathology. In the section below, we have answered the most frequently asked questions regarding acne, as well as its main characteristics and forms of treatment.

Asian woman cleaning face skin enjoy herself with bubble cleansing foam.

Topical treatments are directly applied to the affected area and have fewer systemic side effects.
(Source: Marctran: 106607409/ 123rf.com)

What is acne exactly?

Technically, acne is a disease in which the hair follicle and oil glands in the skin are inflamed. Our skin has hair, which comes from the hair follicle. This structure is in close contact with a sebum-producing gland. Together, they form the hair follicle; it becomes when you have acne.

What do we see in the mirror? This inflammatory process, combined with the clogging of the hair follicles, results in imperfections in the skin. The basic, defining lesion of acne is the comedo or blackhead, which is the result of the obstruction of the pore. When it becomes inflamed, papules, pustules, nodules, and cysts appear.

Why does acne appear?

The etiology (cause) of acne depends on various factors. First of all, the excess of keratin clogs the hair follicles and is responsible for generating comedones in acne. In addition, the sebaceous glands also produce too much fat.

Next comes the growth of a bacterium, propionibacterium acnes, that participates in the inflammation. When the pores of the skin become clogged and inflamed, we start noticing comedones (clogged follicles). Then, they may grow to form papules, or even pustules if they have pus.

In the most severe forms of acne, these lesions can become larger and deeper, generating nodules and cysts. As they heal, all these alterations may leave scars on the skin. Acne tends to appear in the oiliest zones of the body, which is why we generally find it in the face, neck, back, and neckline area.

Cosmetic bottle containers with green herbal leaves, Blank label

Acne is a disease in which the hair follicle and oil glands in the skin are inflamed.
(Source: Artfully: 80907857/ 123rf.com)

Who can be affected by acne?

Acne most often affects teenagers and young adults, with an average age of 24. This is due to both hormonal factors and increased sebum production during this period of life. However, up to a third of patients with acne are over 25 years old. This proves that you can suffer from this condition at any age.

Acne is more common and generally more severe among African-American and Hispanic populations. It is one of the most widespread pathologies in dermatology, with around 80% of Americans suffering from it at some point in their lives. We also need to understand that acne doesn’t merely affect the skin; it can also have a significant psychological impact on our well-being.

What types of acne are there?

As we mentioned earlier, acne is generally classified according to its severity. In that regard, we identify mild, moderate, and severe acne. Mild acne is characterized by the presence of comedones and papules only. In other words, none of the lesions have pus or deep cysts. In moderate acne, you will notice papules, nodules, and cysts, which are more severe wounds.

The two types mentioned above are the most frequent among the American population. These mild-moderate forms tend to respond well to the treatments we will discuss. However, two severe forms of acne, known as acne conglobata and acne fulminans, require medical treatment.

young woman with lotion washing face at bathroom

Acne most often affects teenagers and young adults, with an average age of 24.
(Source: Dolgachov: 59260325/ 123rf.com)

What hygiene measures help deal with acne?

As we explained earlier, acne causes bacteria to grow on the skin and excess oil to build up. This is why having a good facial hygiene routine is a fundamental part of your treatment. But be careful! This doesn’t mean that you have to wash your face more often. This would actually do the opposite of curing acne.

Scientific evidence has shown that excessive washing or exfoliation of the skin is counterproductive.

By reducing skin oil too much, you stimulate the skin to produce more, worsening the problem. This is why you need to should do so in moderation.

So, what is recommended? Cleansers with antiseptic and antibacterial action have been shown to improve mild to moderate acne effectively. Note that acid-based products have demonstrated better results than alkaline cleansers. This is how facial soaps are made, so you will certainly benefit from integrating them into your beauty routine.

What topical treatments help with acne?

These products have the advantage of being directly applied to the affected area and present fewer systemic side effects. Generally speaking, we can classify them into retinoids, antibiotics, and cosmetic treatments. Retinoids and antibiotics require a medical prescription to be purchased, so we will avoid them in our article.

On a cosmetic level, there is an ever-growing array of options for treating acne. You will find keratolytic products, such as salicylic acid, or antibacterials such as benzoyl peroxide, azelaic acid, and vitamin B3. In the table below, you can compare the different alternatives available to you:

Active agent Properties Ideal for
Acid salicylic acid Keratolytic, anti-inflammatory, and bacteriostatic Unclogging of pores and reduction of skin inflammation in case of mild-moderate acne.
Chemical exfoliants: glycolic acid, salicylic acid, lactic acid, etc. They remove excess cellular detritus from the skin and stimulate its repair. Correcting blemishes and scars, rejuvenating the skin, and preventing acne.
Benzoyl peroxide Keratolytic and bactericidal Improving mild-moderate acne effectively.
Azelaic acid Bacteriostatic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and keratolytic Complementing acne treatment, preventing its appearance, and reducing its effects.
Niacinamide (derived from vitamin B3) Anti-inflammatory and sebum regulator Balancing excess oil on the skin and improving acne.

Can I wear makeup if I have acne?

This is one of the most common questions asked by patients with acne. This condition makes our face look dirty and unpleasant, which is why many of us turn to makeup to cover up these blemishes. However, a lot of cosmetics contain oils and other agents that could make acne worse.

If you apply an oily product on a skin with acne, you will clog its pores even more, favoring comedones and bacterial growth in the process. The high-fat content of certain makeup products is no good for your skin, either. So, does this mean you can’t wear makeup if you have acne? No, but you have to be smart about it.

When choosing a makeup product, make sure that it meets certain requirements to avoid worsening your acne. First of all, look for oil-free cosmetics to prevent your skin from becoming overly oily. In addition, the label should read noncomedogenic so you know they won’t increase the tendency to acne.

girl applying cream

Mild acne is characterized by the presence of comedones and papules only. In other words, none of the lesions have pus or deep cysts.
(Source: Legoshyn: 38215096/ 123rf.com)

Which beauty routine is best for acne-prone skin?

As we just discussed, hygiene measures are one of the pillars of acne treatment. This is why you need to adapt your beauty routine to this condition. To start with, you are advised to clean your face with specific cleansers with antiseptic or antibacterial properties. Always do so in moderation to avoid harming your skin.

When it comes to moisturizing, choose a product that is adapted to your skin type (dry, combination, or oily).

Dermatology experts recommend water-based creams. That way, your skin won’t become oily. You can also apply facial serums, which are particularly helpful if they contain salicylic acid or other active ingredients against acne.

Regarding makeup, it is always better not to use any to make sure that your pores are as clear as possible. However, you can use noncomedogenic and oil-free cosmetics, without forgetting to remove it thoroughly at the end of the day. If you follow these simple instructions, you will take good care of your skin and ensure that your acne doesn’t get worse.

Beauty concept. Asian pretty woman with perfect skin holding cos

The high-fat content of certain makeup products is no good for your skin.
(Source: Marctran: 84202391/ 123rf.com)

What are the advantages of acne treatments?

Now that you are more familiar with the hygiene measures to follow and the topical treatments available to you, you can certainly see how advantageous they are. However, there are still drawbacks that you need to take into consideration. In the table below, you can compare the pros and cons of acne treatments:

Advantages Disadvantages
Hygienic measures Easy to apply.

Within everyone’s reach.

Few side effects.

Integral facial care.

No prescription required.

Moderate efficacy (it won’t cure acne).

Possible rebound effect (excessive washing).

Topical treatments More effective for moderate-mild acne.

Products with multiple benefits.

Within everyone’s reach.

Simple daily use.

Provide complete skincare.

Little abrasive.

Local action.

Possible allergies.

Skin irritation.

Some require a medical prescription.

Buyer’s Guide

You will have to evaluate a series of key criteria before purchasing your own acne treatment. In the following section, we have delved into the factors that will influence your final decision. Pay attention to them, and you will be on the right track to find the most suitable product for you.

Skin Type

In the field of cosmetics, it is vital to adapt the products you use to your skin type. Every skin is different, and so are their needs. In general, dry skin will require to stay hydrated more than oily skin. In that case, creams are your best option.

If you have oily skin, on the other hand, you want to avoid increasing the sebum. You are advised to opt for gels, lotions, and toners as they are light, water-based, and, above all, noncomedogenic. For sensitive skin, you should choose hypoallergenic products with soothing compounds.

girl

Acne is classified according to its severity – mild, moderate, or severe.
(Source: Legoshyn: 93734515/ 123rf.com)

Acne Severity

Treating acne that only presents comedones is different from acne with nodules and cysts. Facial care methods like cleansers, toners, and exfoliants, are great to deal with mild forms of the condition. You can complement this strategy with topical products rich in active agents against acne.

You will need a more aggressive approach for moderate to severe forms of acne. Hygiene measures aren’t enough, and you will have to resort to topical cosmetics. Agents with keratolytic properties can unblock pores, while antibacterial and antiseptic compounds will help fight acne.

Composition

The composition of any cosmetic product is fundamental for two reasons. On the one hand, the effectiveness and, therefore, the results of the treatment are influenced by the ingredients. On the other, it will also condition the potential development and severity of side effects and allergic reactions.

How can you know if an acne treatment is really efficient?

It’s quite simple: make sure that its formulation includes some of the components we have discussed in our article. These include salicylic acid, glycolic acid, benzoyl peroxide, azelaic acid, or niacinamide. All of them are useful for combating acne.

You will also want to ensure that the product you opt for is noncomedogenic. It should contain as little oil and fat as possible. In addition, you are advised to avoid abrasive components, such as alcohols. Last but not least, make sure that you are not allergic to any ingredients.

Advertising concept. Cheerful nude natural red girl, shiny pure

In the field of cosmetics, it is vital to adapt the products you use to your skin type.
(Source: Samborskyi: 112338872/ 123rf.com)

Summary

Acne affects millions of people around the world. It is much more than a simple skin condition, given its impact on people’s quality of life. Fortunately, we now have several options available for dealing with acne. On a cosmetic level, you can combine facial care strategies and topical acne treatments.

Does acne condition your day-to-day life? If you want to put an end to this problem, you now have the solutions. Try the treatments we have discussed and wave goodbye to those annoying pimples and blackheads. Your skin can finally go back to being soft and silky. Are you ready to get rid of your acne?

Did you find our shopping guide on acne treatment helpful? Let us know what you thought in the section below, and don’t forget to share this article on your social media!

(Featured Source Image: Samborskyi: 112338938/ 123rf.com)

References (3)

1. Tuchayi S, Makrantonaki E, Ganceviciene R, Dessinioti C, Feldman S, Zouboulis C. Acne vulgaris. Nature Reviews Disease Primers. 2015;1(1).
Source

2. Williams H, Dellavalle R, Garner S. Acne vulgaris. The Lancet. 2012;379(9813):361-372.
Source

3. Fox L, Csongradi C, Aucamp M, du Plessis J, Gerber M. Treatment Modalities for Acne. Molecules. 2016;21(8):1063.
Source

Why you can trust me?

Articulo científico de Pubmed
Tuchayi S, Makrantonaki E, Ganceviciene R, Dessinioti C, Feldman S, Zouboulis C. Acne vulgaris. Nature Reviews Disease Primers. 2015;1(1).
Go to source
Articulo científico de Pubmed
Williams H, Dellavalle R, Garner S. Acne vulgaris. The Lancet. 2012;379(9813):361-372.
Go to source
Articulo científico de Pubmed
Fox L, Csongradi C, Aucamp M, du Plessis J, Gerber M. Treatment Modalities for Acne. Molecules. 2016;21(8):1063.
Go to source