Best Carrier Oil For Acne-Prone Skin

If you’re just dipping your toes — or rather, fingers — into the magical world of facial oils, there is one thing you should know. Even though it’s tempting to slather on all of the essential oils you have in your possession as soon as you purchase them, you might want to hit the breaks. Some of those tiny bottles hold liquids that are much too potent to be used on their own. Instead of applying them directly to your face, you’ll need to dilute them in water, moisturizing cream, or a carrier oil.

That’s why we’ve decided to find the best carrier oil for acne. These oils won’t irritate or clog your pores, as the ones we’ve found are non-comedogenic. If you don’t know what that means, we’ll get into it right after we talk about why you wouldn’t want to put most essential oils directly onto your face.

The dermatologists at the American Acne Foundation put 27 carrier oils to the test. Below are our top picks for the best carrier oils for acne, available on Amazon.

  1. Cliganic Jojoba Oil
  2. Handcraft Blends Grapeseed Oil
  3. LIFE-FLO Safflower Oil
  4. Maple Holistics Sunflower Oil
  5. PURA D’OR Moroccan Argan Oil

#1: Best Carrier Oil for Acne on Oily Skin: Cliganic Jojoba Oil

Really, Jojoba oil works on most skin types — it even works for oily skin.

Why we like it:

  • Anti-inflammatory — reduces redness and eczema
  • Vitamins E and B help repair skin
  • Very nutritious and hydrating
  • 2 on the comedogenic scale, won’t clog your pores
  • Amber glass bottle with a dropper

You might want to choose Cliganic Jojoba Oil if:

You need something that won’t leave your skin looking greasy. Well, jojoba oil is the perfect thing for you. Its watery consistency will make it easy to spread on your skin without clogging your pores. In fact, jojoba oil is similar enough to the consistency of our natural skin oils that it can help balance sebum production as well.

Jojoba oil is also anti-microbial, which makes it kind of like a natural preservative. It may even extend the shelf life of whichever essential oil you mix it with. You can get this oil in 2 sizes — 4 and 16 ounces.

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#2: Best Carrier Oil for Acne on Damaged Skin: Handcraft Blends Grapeseed Oil

Grapeseed oil is great for dealing with imperfections such as acne scars. If you use it as a carrier for tamanu oil, you’ll see sun spots and stretch marks start to fade.

Why we like it:

  • Cleanses and repairs skin
  • Protects against UV rays
  • Non-comedogenic, won’t clog your pores
  • Dark 16-ounce bottle with a pump

You might want to choose Handcraft Blends Grapeseed Oil if:

You have a lot of acne scars, or you often pick at your face. Grapeseed oil is very gentle on the skin, but it’s very hydrating as well, so you’ll also be able to use it on its own. It has anti-inflammatory properties, which means that it should clear away any redness you may be experiencing. Due to the presence of vitamins A, E, and K, this oil can be highly rejuvenating as well. Best of all, you can use it all over your face and body — and you’ll smell divine!

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#3: Best Carrier Oil for Acne on Sensitive Skin: LIFE-FLO Safflower Oil

Not many people know about safflower oil, but we’re here to change that. This non-greasy, gentle carrier could be just what you’re looking for.

Why we like it:

  • Anti-inflammatory and soothing
  • Gentle and hydrating
  • 0 on the comedogenic scale, high in linoleic acid
  • Food grade oil with an easy-pour cap

You might want to choose LIFE-FLO Safflower Oil if:

You have sensitive acne-prone skin. Like all of the best carrier oils, safflower oil has anti-inflammatory properties. Not only is it an ideal carrier for facial oils, but the 16-ounce bottle is also large enough for massages and hair treatments as well. Safflower oil will restore and refresh your skin while preventing your sebum from thickening to the point of blocking your pores and causing acne.

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#4: Best Carrier Oil for Acne on Aging Skin: Maple Holistics Sunflower Oil

Sunflower oil has a stellar reputation for moisturizing dry skin and preventing and slowing down signs of aging.

Why we like it:

  • Deeply moisturizing, rich in fatty acids
  • Vitamins E and B prevent wrinkles and heal stretch marks
  • Light texture, high linoleic acid content
  • 0–2 on the comedogenic scale

You might want to choose Maple Holistics Sunflower Oil if:

You want to lessen signs of aging. The Maple Holistics Sunflower Oil is rich in both oleic and linoleic acids, which gives it a nice light texture while also making it deeply hydrating. Sunflower oil also has vitamins B1, B3, B6, and E, as well as vitamins A, C, and D. Basically, it’s a surefire way to take care of acne and heal any imperfections. Like many of the other oils on this list, you’ll also be able to put it on your hair and all over your body — especially since it comes in such a huge bottle.

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#5: Best Carrier Oil for Acne on Dry Skin: PURA D’OR Moroccan Argan Oil

Everyone knows how nutritious argan oil is for the hair — but did you know that it’s also an ideal carrier oil?

Why we like it:

  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Very nutritious, high in oleic and linoleic acid
  • 0 on the comedogenic scale
  • 4-ounce bottle with a pump

You might want to choose PURA D’OR Moroccan Argan Oil if:

You have acne breakouts despite having very dry skin. Argan oil is perfect for dry skin because it’s so deeply moisturizing. Most people know it as a bit of a miracle ingredient for hair care. However, organic argan oil is also a fantastic carrier for other oils. The PURA D’OR oil comes in a 4-ounce bottle — so you’d get less of it overall. Still, because of its high fatty acid content, just a drop of it will go a long way.

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Essential Oils and Acne

Acne-prone skin is usually very sensitive to irritants, which is what many essential oils are. Most of the ones you’d use to treat acne have powerful antibacterial properties, which may cause skin irritations. For example, citrus oils may have a powerful effect when applied directly to the skin.

However, that’s not to say that essential oils are dangerous. In fact, using them is often the best way to stabilize and water down, so to speak, the goopy sebum that’s blocking your pores and causing your breakouts. So essential oils can definitely help clear up your acne — and although some of them can be used directly on the skin, it’s best not to risk negative effects.

Do You Really Need a Carrier Oil?

When it comes to choosing the perfect oil for acne-prone skin, there are certain features you ought to consider. The first is the comedogenic rating of said oil. Every oil is rated on a scale of 0 to 5, with 0 being the least and 5 being the most likely to cause sebum blockages.

Aside from looking at the oil’s rating, you’ll also want to pay attention to the balance of oleic and linoleic acids. The first of those is how you can be sure that the oil of your choice is deeply hydrating, while the second is how you’ll know that it will absorb quickly into the skin. Acne-prone skin is typically lacking in linoleic acid, which is why we often gravitate to those kinds of carrier oils. That way, even if the essential oil you’re using is on the thicker side, your carrier oil will allow it to spread out and penetrate the skin barrier.

Even though some people believe that carrier oils make essential oils lose their potency, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, carrier oils make essential oils more effective.

People who don’t have skin problems other than the occasional dry patch can freely use coconut and olive oil as carriers. However, those of us who have to be a bit more careful with their skin should opt for gentler alternatives. Rosehip oil is already a wildly popular essential oil, but it can also be used as a carrier. People who are acne-prone can also use lightweight oils like the ones we’re about to talk about.

But whatever you do, do not use mineral oils, baby oil, or petroleum jelly as carrier oils if you have acne. Now that we know the basics, let’s talk about application.

How to Apply Your Essential Oil With a Carrier

If you decide to incorporate a carrier oil into your skincare routine, you’ll have to adjust the way you apply your essential oil. Usually, there are several ways to apply your facial oils:

  • Put a few drops in a bit of water and apply the mixture with a cotton pad
  • Apply the essential oil directly to your acne with a cotton swab
  • Put the oil into a diffuser machine
  • Add a few drops into a steaming bowl of water and create an enclosure by covering your head with a towel as you hold your face over the bowl

However, if you choose to use a carrier oil, there are a few ways to go about it. The first would be to pour a bit of it directly into your palm and add a few drops of the essential oil, then gently rub or pat into the skin. Of course, you should make sure that both your face and your hands are thoroughly clean before you do your routine.

You can also keep your oils pre-mixed in a separate dish or bottle. We recommend reusing old glass bottles from other essential oils.

Carrier oils can help you apply essential facial oils

Even though we’ve tried to find carrier oils that would suit different acne-prone skin types, the truth is: all of these oils are very gentle. That’s what makes them such great carrier oils. They can penetrate deep into your skin, moisturize, and heal even as they’re carrying other, more potent oils.

In fact, you can always use these oils for their own properties, which is precisely why we chose to feature them. However, if you decide that you’d like a boost, there are plenty of essential oils that can help you combat cystic acne, redness, and oily skin.

Best Clay Masks For Acne-Prone Skin

We can all agree that clear, acne-free skin is the most sought-after ideal of the 21st century. When there’s no acne, everything we put on our skin sits just right, especially makeup. However, the road to clear skin is filled with all sorts of obstacles — unless you can find the best clay mask for acne!

Luckily, that’s just what we have done. Today, we’re going to talk about all the amazing benefits of clay and how it can provide us with a dreamy, smooth complexion. On top of that, we have five masks that will surely help you get the results you’re after and keep your skin in top-notch condition. Let’s start, shall we?

Top 5 Best Clay Masks for Acne

Best Clay Mask for Acne Overall: Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay

Loved by influencers and hailed as the secret ingredient for a blemish-free complexion, the Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay is one of those masks you’ll adore for the rest of your life.

Why we like it:

  • 100% calcium bentonite clay
  • No additives or fragrances
  • Extreme pore-cleansing properties
  • Great for acne-prone and oily skin

You might want to choose the Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay if:

You’re a die-hard fan of DIY masks and at-home spa days. You’ll only need to mix about one tablespoon of this mask with some apple cider vinegar or water. Then, just apply it on the skin and leave on for 10 to 15 minutes.

The main ingredient is bentonite clay, which is known for its many acne-fighting properties. This type of clay also tightens the skin and reduces oiliness. What’s more, the mask itself has a variety of uses. It can even be used in a foot soak and for treating body acne!

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Best Clay Mask for Acne at the Drugstore: L’Oréal Paris Skincare Pure-Clay Seaweed Clay Mask

Out of the whole pure-clay range by L’Oréal, the best clay mask for acne is definitely their seaweed mask.

Why we like it:

  • Clears and soothes the skin in just 10 minutes
  • Mineral and vitamin-rich seaweed formula
  • Evens out the skin tone
  • Reduces redness and the appearance of imperfections

You might want to choose L’Oréal Paris Seaweed Clay Mask if:

You’re interested in clay masks and would like to use a gentle drugstore product first. Many users claim this mask draws out blackheads, reduces redness, and smoothes out the skin without leaving it all red afterward. Of course, even if your skin ends up red — don’t worry. That’s just clay doing its job!

One of the main ingredients of this mask is kaolin clay, which is perfect for unclogging pores and dealing with breakouts. It’s especially recommended for oily skin, as it also naturally reduces shine and balances out the oil production.

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Best Clay Mask for Acne — French Green Clay: Rainbow Research Green Clay Mask Powder

Sensitive and reactive skin would benefit greatly from green clay. Luckily, Rainbow Research has the perfect product that has just one but powerful ingredient: 100% pure French green montmorillonite clay.

Why we like it:

  • Detoxifying properties
  • Great for skin prone to breakouts
  • Tightens the pores
  • Fragrance-free

You might want to choose Rainbow Research Green Clay Mask Powder if:

You have sensitive skin. French green clay has anti-inflammatory properties and is perfect for both reactive and sensitive skin. Some other types of clay, like bentonite, might be a bit too harsh, so green clay gets you the best of both worlds: clean pores and a smooth complexion without any post-masking redness.

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Best Clay Mask for Acne — Red Clay: First Aid Beauty Skin Rescue Purifying Mask with Red Clay

Just like white kaolin clay, red clay is amazing at treating acne-prone skin and dealing with pesky pimples and other blemishes.

Why we like it:

  • Reduces shine and combats oiliness
  • Contains rosemary leaf oil, which efficiently unclogs pores
  • No artificial fragrances, colors, phthalates, parabens or alcohol
  • Allergy-tested

You might want to choose First Aid Beauty Red Clay Mask if:

You prefer peel-off masks. The only issue with most clay masks is that they’re a bit difficult to take off and may clog the drain. However, with this mask, you won’t have such a problem. All it takes is to leave it on for 20 minutes and then gently peel it off.

The red clay will purify the skin and purge your complexion. It will essentially remove all the impurities that have clogged your pores and led to blemishes. What’s more, it can also reduce congestive pigmentation, so acne scars will be less visible too.

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Best Clay Mask for Acne — Pink Clay: Alya Skin Australian Pink Clay Mask

With an eye-pleasing color and a wonderful rose scent, Alya Skin Australian Pink Clay Mask is the perfect addition to your acne-fighting skincare regimen.

Why we like it:

  • Great for sensitive, acne-prone, dry and dehydrated skin
  • Anti-aging effects
  • Tightens the pores and clears the skin
  • Can also help with eczema

You might want to choose Alya Skin Australian Pink Clay Mask if:

You have dry, acne-prone skin. Make no mistake — those with oily skin aren’t the only ones suffering from acne-induced headaches. Dry skin can also lead to breakouts, which is exactly where pink clay comes into play.

As a mild combination of both red and white clay, pink clay is able to gently remove impurities without stripping the skin of its natural oils. What’s more, this particular mask has witch hazel and aloe vera too, which will reduce inflammation and heal acne fast.

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Is clay really magical?

Of course, we cannot say for sure that clay will solve all your skin issues. However, if you’ve been paying attention, you’ve probably noticed that it has crept into all sorts of skincare products. Experts are ready to sing clay praises, and not just because it can help us get rid of acne. Most notably, clay, especially clay masks, can also:

Make our face less shiny — but not dehydrated

In general, acne-prone skin tends to be quite shiny, so the clay is a welcome companion if you’re faced with a similar problem. What’s more, even those with dry skin and an oily T-zone can use clay masks. These can absorb the oil and bacteria, eliminate dead skin cells, and minimize the shine WITHOUT disrupting our skin completely, i.e., leaving it dehydrated. In essence, with the right clay mask, we can prep our skin for makeup and even prevent breakouts.

Clean out the pores

Of course, one of the main selling points of any clay mask is its ability to both shrink and clean out the pores. Clay works like a magnet of sorts that can bind itself to impurities and take them out, leaving our pores completely clean. But that’s not all! While cleaning out the pores, clay also shrinks them, so in most cases, we’re left with almost photoshopped, blurred complexion.

Nourish our skin

Apart from dealing with breakouts and pesky blemishes that just won’t go away, clay also helps nourish our skin. It’s full of all sorts of minerals, such as copper, iron, magnesium, calcium, and potassium. It also contains silica, which is a plumping agent that will make our skin firm and elastic. Additionally, it will minimize the appearance of acne scars and essentially transform our skin.

Are you ready to make clay your new best friend?

Is clay a must in our skincare routine? It appears it is! Not only is clay able to purify our skin and help us get rid of acne, but it can also eliminate the very things that lead to breakouts in the first place. Oils, dead skin cells, and bacteria are no match to the best clay masks for acne, especially if you make it a point to use them at least once or twice a week.

The Best Acne Treatment For 2020

There’s something universally cringe-inducing about noticing a pimple on the way to a job interview or a first date. If only there were a special word in the dictionary for that miserable moment!

Things get even worse when you try to cover up the pimple and end up adding to the redness instead.

What is it about one little blemish that can make years of self-confidence vanish in an instant?

Don’t despair: no matter your skin type, there’s a cure for the pimples that ail you. Here’s a low-down on how to find the best acne treatment for your skin, and a little 101 on how acne works.

What causes acne?

Before we dig into the best acne treatments, let’s start with a refresher course on what causes acne in the first place. Below are a few reasons those pimples, blackheads, and whiteheads keep popping up.

Excess Oil In Skin

Generally, oil in your skin (also known as sebum) is a good thing, because it keeps your skin healthy and safe from pollutants. When your skin produces oil in excess, however, it can lead to acne.

Dermatologists categorize each person’s skin as a “dry,” “oily,” or “combination” type. While having an oily skin type doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have tons of acne, you might be more prone to it than your peers.

Pore Clogging

If your skin suddenly starts to produce more oil than before, it can change the process of your skin cells’ maturation cycle. This makes your pores more likely to be clogged with dead skin cells or oil, and that clogging can start the process of a blemish forming. As the clogged pore gets bigger, it can take on that pimple-like appearance we’ve all come to dread.

Bacteria In The Skin

If you’ve got an inflamed pore or a pore that’s growing in size, the pore wall becomes weaker and prone to irritation. When this happens, bacteria can make its way deeper into the skin at the pimple point. That equates to redness and irritation.

Hormonal Changes

Hormones are a major culprit when it comes to acne. During puberty, hormones like androgens increase in your system, which can cause your skin to produce more oil.

You can also experience hormonal changes (and in turn, a change in your skin’s oil production) during pregnancy or other life phases that cause hormonal shifts. (You might find that acne caused by hormonal changes is especially common around your chin or jaw.)

What types of acne treatment are out there?

If overflowing drugstore aisles are any indication, there are more acne treatments on the market than you can count.

Fortunately, most treatments come down to a few core methods, which makes it easier to narrow down your options.

Topical Creams

Topical creams are usually applied as spot treatment when individual pimples appear. If you’ve ever noticed a blemish and applied product directly to the pimple overnight, you’ve used a topical cream.

Topical Face Washes, Scrubs, And Exfoliators

These treatments usually involve daily use, even when you’re not breaking out, and are part of your regular skincare routine. They often have more of a focus on prevention. Acne scrubs, acne-focused face washes, and even Clarisonic exfoliators fit into this category.

Medications

If you’ve tried over-the-counter acne options and aren’t seeing the results you want, doctors will sometimes prescribe medications to help prevent your acne. These are usually pills you’ll take every day.

Lifestyle Changes

Some people can reduce acne by making changes to their lifestyle, like managing their diet and stress levels. (Research points to the fact that stress and foods like chocolate might contribute to acne.)

Obviously, these types of lifestyle treatments are more about trial and error, and they can take patience.

Dermatology Treatments

Your dermatologist might help manage your acne with laser treatments or other procedures that can be done in their office.

Best Acne Treatment Ingredients

The most important thing when choosing an acne treatment is knowing which ingredients you’re looking for. A leading best acne treatment will usually incorporate at least one of the effective ingredients below.

Benzoyl Peroxide

Benzoyl peroxide is one of the most popular ingredients out there, and for good reason. It can be very effective in removing extra oil and eliminating bacteria.

Alpha Hydroxy Acids

Also known as AHAs (and adored by many skincare addicts), alpha hydroxy acids help remove dead skin cells that clog your pores. Many people who use AHAs find themselves with softer skin on top of seeing an acne reduction.

Clay

Clay can help slow your skin’s oil production temporarily. It can also be a soothing contrast to some of the more acidic ingredients in other acne treatments.

Salicylic Acid

This popular ingredient can exfoliate within your pores, which can help keep them free of acne-causing clogs. It can also have an anti-inflammatory effect, which can ease redness.

Tea Tree Oil

This is a great natural ingredient option, as it combines antibacterial capabilities and anti-inflammation properties. Natural ingredients can have a reputation for being gentle, so be aware that tea tree oil is actually a bit harsh for people with sensitive skin. Start with small quantities and be sure to moisturize while using it.

Retinol

Retinol is usually recognized for its anti-aging power, but it can also be used to treat acne. This powerful vitamin A ingredient can increase the speed at which your skin cells turn over and reduce inflammation. Retinol can also aid in exfoliation and help reduce your skin’s oil production.

Sulfur

Sulfur is a great option for removing oil from your pimples and drying them out. (That said, be aware that sulfur may also dry out the skin surrounding the pimple.)

The Top 5 Best Acne Treatments

Best Overall Acne Treatment: Exposed Skincare Ultimate Kit

This kit covers all the bases to clear your skin in 30 days with the combined power of science and natural ingredients.

Why we like it:

  • 9 Pieces In One
  • Uses Natural Extracts
  • Targets All Acne Causes At Once
  • Responsibly Sourced Ingredients

You might want to choose this one if:

You want something comprehensive, and are looking for the best of the best.

The Exposed Skincare Ultimate Kit provides all the products and skincare steps you need to effectively treat your acne, so you don’t have to worry about anything except applying each step as instructed. This kit combines natural extracts fueled by the power of advanced science, so you’re getting the best of both the natural and medicinal skincare worlds.

After 30 days of use, you’ll see unclogged pores, less oil production, and soothed redness. In addition to a decrease in acne, you’ll also experience an overall improvement in other aspects of your skin, like smoothness. Another fantastic perk of the kit is that Exposed never tests on animals and ethically sources their ingredients.

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Best Natural Acne Treatment: Keeva’s Original Tea Tree Oil Acne Treatment Cream

Keeva’s cream keeps things all-natural, with tea tree oil as the central ingredient.

Why we like it:

  • Lightweight
  • All-Natural
  • Extremely Powerful

You might want to choose this one if:

You like to keep your skincare all-natural without sacrificing effectiveness.

This cream utilizes tea tree oil’s anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties to zap acne. You’ll feel a tingly sensation when using it, so you’ll know right away that you’re getting results. The cream helps smooth out excess oil production while also moisturizing, which is a key step when using drying ingredients like tea tree oil.

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Best Acne Treatment for Individual Pimples: Mario Badescu Drying Lotion

This spot treatment packs a powerful punch on individual pimples while you sleep.

Why we like it:

  • Treats Pimples Overnight
  • Soothes And Cools While Treating

You might want to choose this one if:

You get a few isolated stubborn pimples at a time.

This popular treatment works by drying out pimples and blemishes while you sleep. You can simply dab it on the pimple, head to bed, and wake up to find that it’s vanished. The product uses salicylic acid, sulfur, zinc oxide, and calamine lotion for a one-two punch effect of acne treatment and skin soothing.

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Best Acne Treatment For Dry Skin: Paula’s Choice CLEAR Acne Treatment

CLEAR uses the ever-effective benzoyl peroxide with a gentle formula to protect dry skin while using powerful acne-crushing ingredients.

Why we like it:

  • Treats Acne While Keeping Skin Hydrated
  • Uses Benzoyl Peroxide, A Top Acne Fighting Ingredient

You might want to choose this one if:

You have dry, sensitive skin in addition to acne.

CLEAR can be used daily (even under makeup or other grooming products) and helps soothe redness while reducing oil production. It stands out for its ability to keep skin hydrated and minimize any flaking with gentle ingredients.

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Best Acne Treatment For Oily Skin: Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare One Step Acne Eliminating Pads

These easy-to-use pads treat acne at all stages, and are great for soothing oily skin.

Why we like it:

  • Anti-Inflammatory
  • Uses Salicylic Acid, A Powerful Acne Fighting Ingredient

You might want to choose this one if:

You have oily skin and stubborn, deep-rooted acne that won’t budge.

This treatment combats excess oil and uses two leading ingredients: salicylic acid and L-carnitine. It helps prevent pore blockage, clear any clogging that already exists, and soothe the skin after treatment. It’s also known to reduce redness.

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An acne-free future is closer than you think

Acne can be emotionally debilitating, but it is not a life sentence. As powerless as acne can feel, one of the most important factors in treating it is not giving up.

It can take time to find the treatment plan that does the trick for you. Stick with it and keep your eyes on the prize. Before you know it, the word “zit” won’t even be a blip on your radar anymore.

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Top 5 Best Acne Face Washes In 2020

They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and that’s especially true when washing your face. If you maintain a daily face washing routine, you’re much less likely to experience sudden breakouts.

Of course, not all acne face wash products are equal. The types of ingredients and products you choose depends on your individual skin type and acne situation.

Let’s take a look at the finer details of what causes acne, and how to choose the perfect acne face wash.

What is acne?

Most of us recognize acne as pesky raised bumps and red spots that appear on our skin. (Bonus points if they show up at the most inconvenient possible time – pimples have a knack for that.)

In scientific terms, acne has a more complex definition. Experts describe acne as a chronic inflammatory skin issue that causes pimples, blackheads, whiteheads, cysts, and other blemishes. Many acne sufferers experience blemishes on their face, but acne also strikes on the back, shoulders, neck, and arms.

What causes acne?

The exact cause of your breakout will vary based on age, skin type, and other factors. That said, in general, most acne is caused by oil and bacteria in the skin.

When your skin releases too much oil, acne forms thanks to dead skin cells and bacteria caught in your pores. Luckily, acne face wash is our first line of defense against that process.

How acne face wash works

When you use an acne face wash, your face will look clean and your skin will feel tingly fresh. Below the surface, however, much more powerful things are happening. For starters, that acne face wash is working in overdrive to remove bacteria from pores. It’s also removing dead skin cells and gently exfoliating so your skin is more receptive to any acne treatment products you apply after washing.

What makes acne face wash different from other treatments?

While acne face wash helps treat and prevent acne, it also – of course – cleanses your face. Because of its dual purpose, acne face wash is best viewed as a complementary product to more direct acne treatments.

Spot treatments and acne exfoliators wouldn’t be nearly as powerful without a quality acne face wash to prep the skin before they’re applied.

Other acne products work better when paired with face wash

Below are a few popular types of acne treatments you might want to consider applying after using your acne face wash, so you can set the stage for maximum effectiveness.

  • Topical Spot Treatments

These creams are applied directly onto pimples. They’re usually intended to be applied only onto the blemish itself, not the rest of your face, and most of them work overnight.

Spot treatments are only used when you feel a pimple immediately coming on or when the pimple has already formed.

  • Scrubs And Exfoliators

Acne scrubs pack a one-two punch by applying powerful acne-crushing ingredients to your skin while exfoliating.

Exfoliation fights acne by sloughing off dead skin cells and paving the way for treatment products to seep in more effectively.

  • Oral Medications

Your doctor can prescribe pills that help your body fight off acne.

Popular Acne Face Wash Ingredients

There are several top ingredients that make an acne face wash effective. One thing most experts agree on is that when choosing a face wash, you should avoid harsh soaps that strip your skin of natural oils. Beyond that, there’s a wide variety of different face washes on the market that most dermatologists would approve of.

Below are a few ingredients you’ll want to keep in mind. You don’t need all of these ingredients in your face wash at once, but they’re worth being aware of.

  • Salicylic Acid

This acid cleanses deep within your pores to remove dead skin cells, dirt, and oil – all of which cause acne.

  • Benzoyl Peroxide

This ingredient is excellent for removing painful blemishes under the surface of your skin, as well as prominent pimples.

  • Tea Tree Oil

This natural ingredient reduces inflammation while banishing bacteria. As far as natural ingredients go, it’s a strong one, so it should be used sparingly at first.

The Top 5 Best Acne Face Wash Products

Best Overall Acne Face Wash: Exposed Skincare Facial Cleanser

This face wash is everything you need in one bottle. It has the double impact of zapping existing pimples while simultaneously preventing future ones. Exposed Skincare’s science-backed, all natural formula is the driving force behind their signature face wash.

Why we like it:

  • Effective enough to get the job done well, but gentle enough for sensitive skin.
  • Uses salicylic acid, an unstoppable acne-fighting ingredient.
  • Incorporates sage extract and vitamin B5 for maximum natural soothing.
  • Formula uses ethically sourced ingredients.

You might want to choose Exposed Skincare Facial Cleanser if:

You want a one-stop shop that ranks as the best.

Exposed Skincare Facial Cleanser combines top-notch acne-fighting and soothing ingredients. The cleanser implements the power of salicylic acid, one of the top dermatologist-recommended acne treatment ingredients, to deeply cleanse pores and banish acne-causing bacteria. Then, it replenishes your skin with gentle ingredients like vitamin B5 and sage extract. It’s free of harsh soap, so your skin is able to maintain its natural moisture. With regular use of this dynamite cleanser, your skin will radically transform. You’ll see smaller and clearer pores, less oily skin, and less dryness.

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Best Acne Face Wash For Oily Skin: Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash

This iconic face wash has been around for decades, and it’s still as effective as ever.

Why we like it:

  • It has a lengthy track record of success.
  • Uses salicylic acid, a powerful acne-fighting ingredient.

You might want to choose Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash if:

You have an oily skin type and are looking for a powerful and affordable option.

This famous cleanser is beloved by teens and adults alike. The face wash is strong enough to pack a powerful punch, but gentle enough to stave off irritation. It combines salicylic acid, a coveted acne-fighting ingredient, with moisturizers that keep your skin from drying out. It’s a classic, and for good reason. It’s one of the most frequently recommended face washes by dermatologists.

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Best Acne Face Wash For Dry Skin: Era Organics Tea Tree Oil Face Cleanser

This gentle cleanser uses a series of natural ingredients to soothe dry skin while it treats acne.

Why we like it:

  • Uses organic ingredients.
  • Uses tea tree oil, a popular natural ingredient for fighting acne.
  • Great for sensitive skin.

You might want to choose Era Organics Tea Tree Oil Face Cleanser if:

You want to soothe your chronic dry skin or rosacea (a condition that causes redness on the face) while also treating acne.

This cleanser uses ingredients like tea tree oil, aloe vera, burdock root, and dandelion root to heal your acne with the help of mother nature. The cleanser also aids in reducing redness and reducing buildup of dead skin cells. It works on both the face and body.

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Best Acne Face Wash For Fans Of Korean Beauty: Sulwhasoo Gentle Cleansing Foam EX

As many skincare addicts know, the South Korean beauty scene is a top producer of face washes and acne products. This face wash was formulated in South Korea and works wonders on gentle skin.

Why we like it:

  • Gentle and hydrating for all skin types.
  • Uses natural ingredients.

You might want to choose Sulwhasoo Gentle Cleansing Foam EX if:

You’re looking for a unique product that feels luxurious without breaking the bank.

This cleansing foam removes dead skin cells while moisturizing. After using the product, you’ll be left with soft and hydrated skin. The product is formulated with natural ingredients like inner chestnut shells and duckweed. It’s certainly effective, but what makes the product extra fun is the satisfying fresh-faced feeling you’ll get after using it.

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Best Acne Face Wash For Sensitive Skin: Differin Daily Deep Cleanser

This cleanser packs tough acne-fighting ingredients into a gentle product.

Why we like it:

  • Contains benzoyl peroxide, a powerful acne-fighting ingredient.
  • Uses smaller, gentle doses of harsh ingredients.

You might want to choose Differin Daily Deep Cleanser if:

You have sensitive skin but still want to use the most powerful acne-fighting ingredients you can find.

While most acne face wash products that use Benzoyl Peroxide use a 10% concentration of the product, this Differin cleanser only uses 5%. That means less irritation and dryness while still serving a powerful dosage. The face wash is infused with moisturizer, so it’s a good option for sensitive skin.

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Face wash is your secret weapon in the fight against acne.

At first, acne face wash seems like an afterthought compared to powerful spot treatment. However, at the end of the day, face wash is one of the most important tools in your arsenal.

Acne face wash does the daily heavy lifting of keeping your skin acne-free and primed for treatment. Washing your face is one of the first things you do in the morning and the last thing you do at night, so why not take it more seriously?

You have nothing to lose by pumping up your routine with the most effective acne face washes on the market.

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Best Acne Scar Treatment For 2020

Acne scars are the mischievous troublemakers of the skincare world. Scars tend to creep in and wreak havoc just as your pimples have started to heal. Talk about bad timing!

While acne scars are definitely a pain, there is a way to get rid of them. Most acne scars respond well to treatment, and there are all kinds of fantastic products on the market that can help make those scars disappear faster. Here’s everything you need to know to make acne scars fade away as quickly as possible.

Acne Scars 101

Acne scars are created in the healing process of a breakout. The deeper your acne penetrates into your skin, the more likely you are to develop a scar when the breakout is over.

There are two main types of acne scars – raised scars and depressed scars – and each type is created a bit differently.

Raised acne scars, also called hypertrophic scars, develop when your body produces too much collagen as your acne is healing. Collagen generally makes your skin look plump and bouncy, so extra collagen can be a great thing when it’s used as part of an anti-aging treatment.

Unfortunately, when collagen is part of an acne scar, it piles up only in the area surrounding the scar. That configuration doesn’t exactly make for the glowing, youthful vibe most of us hope for.

Depressed acne scars, also called atrophic scars, develop when your skin loses tissue during the acne healing process. This can create a crater-like gap in the surface of your skin.

Different Types Of Acne Scars

Not all acne scars are equal. Some acne scars can be removed at home, while others are more advanced and require in-office treatment by a dermatologist. Below are some of the most common types of acne scars.

  • Skin Discoloration

Acne can sometimes leave purple, brown, or red discolorations in their wake. Not all dermatologists technically consider these marks to be acne scars, but they often have the same visual and emotional effect as a full-on scar. These discolorations fade on their own over time, but that process can take months or even years. Acne scar treatment products can help speed up that fading process.

  • Ice Pick Scars

These depressed scars take the form of deep indentations in the skin. The indentations can take the shape of a V, a circle, or an oval.

  • Rolling Scars

These indented scars have rounded edges, and their shapes are usually more unpredictable than other types of scars.

  • Boxcar Scars

Boxcar scars tend to be wider than they are indented. If you notice a pimple-shaped crater on your face in the spot where a blemish used to be, you probably have a boxcar scar.

Top Ingredients For Acne Scar Treatments

The ingredients below are frequent dermatologist picks when fighting acne scars.

  • Alpha hydroxy acids

Alpha hydroxy acids, also known as AHAs, remove dead skin cells and prevent pores from clogging. The exfoliating power of AHAs can help decrease the visibility of scars. AHAs can also help remove discoloration and smooth out rough skin.

  • Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a favorite ingredient for treating a whole host of skin dilemmas. The potent vitamin is often used in serums to achieve a more youthful look. Vitamin C can help reduce the appearance of dark spots, so it’s a great option when dealing with acne scars that involve discoloration.

  • Vitamin E

Vitamin E is excellent for repairing all types of skin damage. It can aid in healing acne scars over time and make them more subtle.

  • Salicylic Acid

Salicylic acid is one of the strongest lines of defense when fighting acne, so perhaps it comes as no surprise that it’s also great for the resulting scars. This powerful ingredient exfoliates, clears out pores, and reduces the redness of scars.

  • Lactic Acid

Lactic acid can help lighten acne scars and improve your skin’s overall texture. It’s heavily concentrated, so consider diluting it or using it sparingly!

  • Retinoids

Most skincare lovers have heard of retinoids, because they’re one of the most popular anti-aging ingredients on the market. Retinoids increase cell turnover, which can help diminish imperfections more quickly and smooth out acne scars. Retinoids can make your skin especially sensitive to sun, so be sure to wear lots of sunscreen while using them.

What about in-office acne scar treatments?

If your acne scars are more severe – or if you’re looking for ultra speedy results – you might want to consider an in-office treatment by a dermatologist. Below are some of the most popular office treatments.

  • Fillers

Fillers are injected directly into your skin to help smooth acne scars. Fillers can be made up of collagen, commercial ingredients, or even your body’s own fat. The results are often immediate, with scars improving before you even leave your dermatologist’s office. While some fillers can be permanent, most only last between 6 months and 1.5 years.

  • Dermabrasion

This procedure involves using a wire wheel (that’s exactly what it sounds like) to exfoliate your top layer of skin. It’s an excellent choice for scars closer to the surface of your skin.

  • Chemical Peel

This hardcore face mask procedure uses acid to remove your top layer of skin. (It’s a harsh treatment, but your dermatologist can make sure you’re treated safely and gently.) Chemical peels can help decrease the appearance of deep scars, and can sometimes even fully eliminate them.

  • Microneedling

During a microneedling procedure, your dermatologist will treat your skin using a roller studded with tiny needles. This creates small punctures in the skin. (Don’t worry, your skin will be numbed.) This process creates “wounds” on the surface of the skin, which stimulates the production of more collagen to help indented scars rise and fill out. Results can take several months to surface after the procedure, so bring your patience with you to your appointment.

Best Acne Scar Treatment For Hyperpigmentation: Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Extra Strength Daily Peel

This product decreases hyperpigmentation, also known as discoloration, created by acne scars.

Why we like it:

  • Uses Glycolic Acid, A Powerful Ingredient In Fighting Discoloration
  • Easy To Use Daily Pads

You might want to choose this one if:

You have red, brown, or purple skin spots caused by past acne.

These daily peel pads increase your skin’s cell turnover, which means they help your discoloration spots heal and regrow more quickly. When you use these pads, your acne scars will fade faster and your skin will look younger. This product can also help brighten your complexion and boost collagen, which keeps your skin youthful without creating redness.

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Best Acne Scar Treatment For Dry Skin: PCA Skin Pigment Gel

This scar reducing spot treatment prevents dryness as it helps you heal.

Why we like it:

  • Great For Sensitive Skin
  • Uses Hydroquinone, A Top Ingredient For Managing Dark Spots

You might want to choose this one if:

You have sensitive skin, but also have heavy duty scars that require extra-strength products.

This spot treatment serum is ideal for treating discoloration in sensitive skin. It can also help brighten the skin overall and reduce age spots. You’ll see best results if you exfoliate your skin before using the product. You’ll also want to use sunscreen at the same time as the product, because the formula might make your skin extra sensitive to the sun. Just a small amount can pack a powerful punch!

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Best Acne Scar Treatment For Nighttime Healing: Mederma PM Intensive Overnight Scar Cream

Mederma works overnight so you can wake up to great results each morning.

Why we like it:

  • Works While You Sleep
  • Works On Both Older And Newer Scars

You might want to choose this one if:

You have stubborn acne scars that you don’t want to worry about during the day.

Mederma is a well-known brand name in scar reduction treatment, and it’s easy to see why. This beloved night cream will initiate the healing process each evening while you snooze. The cream uses antioxidants and other beneficial ingredients and can help you start seeing results in about two weeks.

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Best Acne Scar Treatment For Fans Of Natural Ingredients: Era Organics Microdermabrasion Face Scrub & Facial Mask

This scrub uses soothing natural ingredients like aloe vera, citrus, and honey to help your acne scars heal.

Why we like it:

  • Uses Manuka Honey, A Medicinal Variation Of Honey
  • Great For Sensitive Skin

You might want to choose this one if:

You’re looking for a more natural option to heal your scars.

Fans of this scrub have reported a “glowing” effect on their skin after use. The product scrubs away dead skin cells and dirt while providing a natural exfoliation treatment. It’s a great alternative for anyone who has acne scars and would like to try a less invasive process before opting for chemical peels and other intensive procedures. The scrub can also help remove blackheads and other blemishes.

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Best Acne Scar Treatment for Sun Protection: CeraVe Sunscreen Face Lotion SPF 50

This sunscreen will keep your acne scars from worsening while protecting you from future skin damage.

Why we like it:

  • Protects Against UVA And UVB Rays, Two Different Types Of Harmful Sun Rays
  • Dries Clear
  • Water Resistant

You might want to choose this one if:

You’re working on treating your acne scars and want to protect them during the process.

While sunscreen is important for preventing skin damage, it’s also important to the healing process of existing acne scars. Acne scars are sensitive to direct sunlight, and become even more sensitive when being treated with potent treatment products. This sunscreen is specially formulated to avoid clogging your pores as it strengthens your skin’s natural sun barrier.

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Acne scars don’t have to last forever

Acne scars feel like a gut punch, especially in the aftermath of finally knocking out a bad breakout. It’s so important to remember that there are so many effective procedures that can help. Even without procedures or products, lots of acne scars simply heal on their own over the years.

Don’t be afraid to keep trying products and consult with a dermatologist about what will work best for you. Your past acne does not have to dictate the way your face looks for the rest of your life! Time heals all wounds – even acne scars.

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Best Acne Treatment For Teens In 2020

If there were ever a major design flaw in the universe, it’s the fact that acne hits hardest during our teen years. High school and middle school are already such an emotional roller coaster ride, and throwing acne into the mix just adds to the chaos.

If you’re a teenager and experiencing acne, you’re not alone. Nearly 8 in 10 teens deal with acne, and it’s totally common to feel anxious about your skin during these years.

Why Teens Get Acne So Often

Most teens develop a type of acne called acne vulgaris, which is the most common variety of the condition. This acne gets the most attention when it shows up on your face, but it can also surface on the neck, shoulders, back, or chest. Below are a few common causes.

  • Excess Oil In The Skin

The top cause of teen acne has to do with the hormonal changes you experience during your teen years. When you’re a teen, your body is likely to produce an excess amount of hormones called androgens.

This hormonal shift is normal during your teen years, so it’s nothing to worry about health-wise. The frustrating part, though, is that these hormones can wreak havoc on your complexion. The influx of androgens can cause your skin to produce too much oil, which can clog your pores and lead to pimples.

  • Genetics

If your parents had acne when they were teenagers, you’re more likely to experience it as a teen as well. The good news is that even when acne is genetic, it’s not a life sentence. There are plenty of products from the drugstore or from a dermatologist that can help you manage your acne.

  • Stress

Spoiler alert: stress can contribute to breakouts. When you’re stressed out, your body releases a hormone called cortisol, and that can cause your skin to produce more oil.

Reducing stress in your life probably won’t be as effective as a powerful acne product, but it can certainly help. There’s no doubt that high school is overwhelming, so it’s not like your stress will just melt away overnight. Still, every little bit helps.

Try to find little slices of relaxation wherever you can. Try calming activities like yoga and meditation, and get regular exercise. If you’re able to squeeze more sleep into your schedule, make sure you do!

How Acne Impacts Teens

While the immediate impact of acne is physical, the changes to your daily life can go far deeper than the surface. Researchers have found that acne can make you feel sad, anxious, shy, lonely, or afraid of meeting new people.

It’s true that other students might be mean or even bully classmates with acne, and you might feel tempted to skip trying out for new opportunities because of your skin. Don’t!

Even if you have to force yourself, get out there and try new things in spite of acne. The condition doesn’t have to inhibit your life.

If you start to experience symptoms of depression – sleeping more or less than you used to, changes in appetite, feelings of hopelessness, and lack of joy over activities you used to love – make sure to talk to a doctor.

How Teen Acne Is Different Than Acne In Other Stages Of Life

While teen acne is mainly caused by excess oil, adult acne is usually caused by slowing cell turnover in the skin. Adult acne is usually isolated to a few distinct parts of the face, like the jaw and chin, while teen acne can show up just about anywhere.

The toughest thing about teen acne is that it shows up during such a vulnerable time in life. Puberty is no picnic, so it feels especially unfair to be hit with acne in the middle of it.

Fortunately, there are plenty of trusty products that can swoop in to save the day. Instead of wading through your local drugstore’s overloaded skin care aisle, skip straight ahead to the tried-and-true treatments listed below.

Best Acne Treatment For Teens Who Want Comprehensive Care: Exposed Skincare Ultimate Kit

This nine-piece kit provides every step necessary to both eliminate acne and keep your skin healthy on every level.

Why we like it:

  • Combines Science And Natural Ingredients
  • Includes An Exfoliating Scrub To Help Prevent Future Breakouts
  • Provides Easy-To-Follow Steps With No Guesswork

You might want to choose this one if:

You want to make sure your skincare routine will manage both acne treatment and acne prevention.

This kit includes every aspect of teen skincare – from clarity, to moisturizing, to reducing redness, to acne prevention – in one complete set. All the products work together, and they come with a pre-set application routine so you never have to wonder which order to apply them in. This kit goes beyond the basics with added “extras” for your skin’s overall health, like probiotics and scrubs.

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Best Acne Treatment For Beginner Teens: Kidskin Three-Step Acne Starter Kit

This kit is a great intro to the basics for teens, tweens, and kids who want to start tackling acne prevention early.

Why we like it:

  • Uses Tea Tree Oil, A Powerful Natural Ingredient
  • Uses Salicylic Acid, A Top Acne-Fighting Ingredient

You might want to choose this one if:

You don’t have a daily skincare routine and want to start one from scratch.

This kit includes a foaming cleanser, a serum, and a moisturizer. The cleanser can help remove any acne-causing oil or bacteria, and the serum is designed to work as a spot treatment to manage existing pimples. The treatment utilizes the bacteria-crushing power of tea tree oil and the acne-blasting effects of salicylic acid to clear up stubborn blemishes. It’s the perfect starter kit to lay the foundation for a lifelong healthy skincare routine.

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Best Acne Treatment For Teens With Oily Skin: Neutrogena Rapid Clear Stubborn Acne Facial Cleanser

This cleanser uses some of the most powerful active ingredients available to blast acne in oily skin.

Why we like it:

  • Uses Benzoyl Peroxide, A Powerful Acne Fighting Ingredient
  • Especially Effective On Oily Skin

You might want to choose this one if:

You have oily skin and stubborn pimples.

There’s a reason Neutrogena has remained such a popular skincare brand over the years. This powerful cleanser uses benzoyl peroxide, one of the most common ingredients recommended by dermatologists to help fight acne. The cleanser simultaneously utilizes soothing ingredients to keep the formula gentle enough for most users to apply twice per day. (But be sure to still conduct a small spot test first before using!) This cleanser is a great option for both fighting existing acne and thwarting future breakouts.

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Best Acne Treatment For Teens Who Prefer Natural Ingredients: BPT3.1 by Create Cosmetics

This product combines powerful natural ingredients to effectively crush acne with a little help from Mother Nature.

Why we like it:

  • Uses Tea Tree Oil, A Powerful Natural Acne Fighter
  • Uses Benzoyl Peroxide, A Top Acne Fighting Ingredient

You might want to choose this one if:

You’re looking for a nature-based product but don’t want to compromise effectiveness.

This treatment counters the drying effects of benzoyl peroxide with several plant-based ingredients, including tea tree oil, jojoba oil, and macadamia oil. The product also uses shea butter as a non-comedogenic (read: it won’t clog your pores) moisturizer rich in vitamin A and E. It’s a win-win.

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Best Acne Treatment For Teens With Sensitive Skin: TreeActiv Acne Eliminating Face Cream

This trendy cream uses natural ingredients to soothe sensitivity while warding off pimples.

Why we like it:

  • Gentle Enough For Sensitive Skin
  • Uses Tea Tree Oil, A Powerful Natural Ingredient

You might want to choose this one if:

You have sensitive skin that doesn’t always mesh well with harsh ingredients.

One of the most powerful ingredients in this cream is tea tree essential oil, which destroys bacteria while cleansing your skin. It’s a great option for banishing acne while keeping your treatment natural. The cream also uses grapeseed essential oil and jojoba oil to soften the skin. Peppermint, spearmint, and lemongrass are mixed in for an extra kick of antibacterial and vitamin infusions. This one is important to spot test before full-on use, as it includes many herbal add-ins that could inflame allergies.

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Don’t Forget: You Are More Powerful Than Your Acne

When you’re staring down chronic acne, remember that patience is your most valuable friend. While some treatments can literally make pimples disappear overnight, the reality is that fully managing your breakouts can take some time. That’s okay!

Stay consistent with your treatment and don’t give up. Each day that you follow your treatment routine is one day closer to completely clear skin.

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Best Acne Spot Treatment In 2020

Think of acne spot treatment as a skincare 9-1-1. You won’t need it every day, or even most days, but you’ll sleep better knowing it’s always there in case of emergency.

Acne spot treatment is the product you’ll whip out to save the day when you need to squash a pimple ASAP. If you notice a zit the night before a wedding or job interview, your trusty spot treatment will make it disappear.

So what’s the secret behind behind this powerful product? Here’s everything you need to know about how it works.

What causes unexpected acne flare-ups?

Acne spot treatment is usually meant to eliminate occasional pimples or flare-ups rather than be used for daily prevention. So what causes those sudden influxes of acne in the first place? There are some especially common culprits.

  • Hormonal Changes

During puberty, certain hormones in your system increase. This can lead to an increase in your skin’s oil production and a resulting acne flare-up. You might also experience hormonal changes that cause acne if you become pregnant or stop taking birth control pills.

  • Beauty Products

Some types of foundation, lotion, or makeup can clog your pores. Be sure to shop for beauty products that are labeled as “non-comedogenic.” This means they’re formulated not to clog your pores, which is a much better bet for staying acne-free.

  • Stress

There’s nothing like good old-fashioned stress to provoke a breakout. Cortisol, also known as the “stress hormone,” can have all kinds of ill effects on the body – and acne is one of them.

  • Medication

If you’ve recently switched the dosage of any of your medications, there’s a chance it could be causing unexpected breakouts. If you think this might be the case for you, give your doctor a call.

  • Touching Your Pimples

Why is it so darn tempting to touch or pick at pimples? Touching can spread bacteria from the pimples to other parts of your face and cause even more breakouts. Even if you really want to pop a pimple, it’s just not worth it.

  • Hair Maintenance Habits

If you have bangs, sleeping with them pressed to your face can cause forehead acne. Excess hair gel and spray can also cause acne along your hairline.

  • Fluoride Toothpaste

If you’re seeing breakouts around your mouth or lips, fluoride toothpaste might be to blame. Try switching to a fluoride-free toothpaste.

  • Food

If you eat lots of greasy foods (hey, we’ve all been there), be sure to enjoy them in the most tidy way possible. Don’t touch your face after holding greasy food in your hands, and wash your face soon after eating. Otherwise, the grease from those tasty french fries could spend a little too much time on your face and cause a breakout.

When do you need an acne spot treatment?

There are some skincare dilemmas that can only be solved by an acne spot treatment.

When you have one stubborn, bright red pimple.

Acne spot treatments are excellent for targeting raised or red blemishes. These types of pimples don’t always respond to your typical skincare routine, which means it’s time to apply spot treatment.

When you notice the beginnings of a pimple just starting to surface.

Most acne sufferers recognize the uncomfortable feeling of a pimple starting to form under the skin. You might want to apply a spot treatment to that early-stage zit before it even breaks the surface. The spot treatment will help pull the pimple out faster so it can be zapped at a speedier pace.

When you get breakouts at the same time each month or year.

If you experience breakouts related to stress, hormonal changes, or other situations you can predict, a spot treatment can be your best defense. Keep the treatment on hand when you know a breakout is coming, and apply spot treatment the second you see the beginnings of pimples.

What makes acne spot treatments so powerful?

There’s a reason acne spot treatments are meant to be applied to a small patch of skin rather than to your entire face: the stuff is really concentrated. Below are some of the toughest ingredients in typical acne spot treatments:

  • Benzoyl Peroxide

This ingredient works as an antiseptic to crush acne-causing bacteria in your skin. It also reduces inflammation and redness.

  • Salicylic Acid

This acne zapping ingredient acts as an exfoliator. It digs deep into your pores to remove bacteria, smooth out skin, and clear out pimple-causing gunk.

  • Sulfur

Sulfur is a good option for drying out fluid-filled pimples while simultaneously decreasing inflammation.

The Top 5 Best Acne Spot Treatment Products

Best Acne Spot Treatment For Overnight Healing: Clean & Clear Advantage Spot Treatment

This potent gel works overnight to banish your pimples while you sleep.

Why we like it:

  • Uses salicylic acid, a top acne-fighting ingredient.
  • Suitable for all skin types.

You might want to choose Clean & Clear Advantage Spot Treatment if:

You want to zap your zits overnight with little fuss.

This spot treatment uses a high concentration of salicylic acid, an ingredient recognized by dermatologists for its ability to dramatically clear up breakouts. It also uses witch hazel, an ingredient known to sooth skin. While getting rid of your pimple, the treatment also dissolves excess oil to decrease the likelihood of the breakout spreading.

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Best Acne Spot Treatment For Cystic Acne: TreeActiv Cystic Acne Spot Treatment

This treatment is ideal for cystic acne, a severe type of acne caused by bacteria-filled cysts beneath the surface of the skin.

Why we like it:

  • Uses natural ingredients.
  • Works on cystic acne, the toughest variety of acne.
  • Great for oily skin.

You might want to choose TreeActiv Cystic Acne Spot Treatment if:

You have severe acne and want to try a more natural product.

One of the main ingredients in this spot treatment is bentonite clay, a compound known to draw out toxins while soothing irritation. The treatment also includes grapefruit essential oil to reduce inflammation, peppermint to remove bacteria, and lemon essential oil to exfoliate dead skin cells. It also smells fantastic, which, based on the treatment’s fragrant ingredients, is no big surprise.

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Best Acne Spot Treatment For Real-Time Results: Mighty Patch Hydrocolloid Acne Absorbing Spot Dots

These nifty patches apply directly to your pimple and zap it right before your eyes.

Why we like it:

  • It’s portable.
  • Works overnight.
  • It’s fun to use. (Yes, really!)

You might want to choose Mighty Patch if:

You need to treat your acne on the go, or simply want treatment to be as convenient as possible.

These tiny dot stickers work by removing excess oil and bacteria from your pimple while you watch. The stickers also protect your blemishes from bacteria and touching, both of which can slow down the healing process. Their main ingredient is hydrocolloid, a compound that absorbs fluid. The patches are vegan friendly, and they’re subtle enough that you can wear them out in public if you need to.

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Best Acne Spot Treatment For Oily Skin: Murad Acne Control Rapid Relief Acne Spot Treatment

This treatment removes excess oil and delivers results in just a few hours.

Why we like it:

  • Uses salicylic acid, a powerful ingredient for fighting acne.
  • Works quickly.
  • Excellent for oily skin.

You might want to choose Murad Acne Control Rapid Relief if:

You need a fast-acting formula that won’t inflame oily skin.

This spot treatment can deliver results in just four hours. It uses salicylic acid, a hardcore ingredient that can exfoliate, clear pores, and smooth out your skin. The product is clear and non-peeling, so if you wear makeup, it will blend well underneath it.

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Best Acne Spot Treatment For Dry Skin: La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo Dual Action Acne Treatment Cream

This spot treatment offers a double whammy of exfoliation and treatment with benzoyl peroxide, an effective acne-fighting ingredient.

Why we like it:

  • Uses benzoyl peroxide, a powerful acne-fighting ingredient.
  • Micro-exfoliates for maximum smoothness.

You might want to choose La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo Dual Action if:

You have dry, sensitive skin but don’t want to sacrifice strong ingredients.

This popular treatment is known for its ability to work quickly and deliver strong results within a few days. The treatment uses benzoyl peroxide, a powerful pore-penetrating acne fighter. It also includes an ingredient called LHA, which micro-exfoliates for a more even skin texture. It’s oil-free and non-comedogenic, which means that it won’t clog your pores while it helps you heal.

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The best acne spot treatment is one you always have on hand.

There’s a famous episode of the series Sex And The City in which Carrie, the show’s star character, develops a monstrous pimple en route to meet her ex-boyfriend. Carrie panics, then wastes the entire rest of the episode trying in vain to banish her zit. When you have a trusty acne spot treatment that works, this is the exact kind of scenario that will never happen to you.

Instead, your spot treatment will banish trouble-making zits in what feels like an instant. Even if you rarely use it, the peace of mind that comes with having an acne spot treatment on hand is worth its weight in gold. Stock up, because once you do, you’ll never have to worry about surprise pimples again.

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Best Acne Concealer In 2020

The concealer aisle at the drugstore is the most overwhelming place in the world. Where do you start when you’re surrounded by three million different tone options and more types of formulas than you can count?

Take a deep breath. Back away from the store. We’ve got you covered!

Living with acne is hard enough, so finding a concealer that helps hide it should be simple. Let’s take a look at what you need to know to choose the perfect concealer for your acne.

The ideal skincare routine for managing acne

Concealer is about masking your acne, but wouldn’t it be easier if you also developed less acne to begin with? A consistent skincare routine can help with prevention so you’ll be reaching for concealer less often.

While specifics vary based on your needs, most basic skincare routines are done twice per day. The average routine involves cleanser, spot treatment, and moisturizer.

Cleanser removes acne-causing dirt and oil, spot treatment helps eliminate any existing acne, and moisturizer keeps skin hydrated.

If you’re looking to level up beyond the basics, you can add more products to your routine, like toners, exfoliators, and serums. A toner can balance out your skin’s pH, an exfoliator can prime skin for better cleansing, and a serum can focus on any specific issue you want to target.

What is concealer?

Lots of people confuse concealer, foundation, and primer. Baffling as it may seem, these similar-looking products are actually very different.

All three products are applied after you finish your morning skincare routine, but that’s where similarities end. It’s important to distinguish between them to prevent further irritating broken out skin.

  • Primer

A primer prepares your skin for makeup. It’s great for filling in fine lines and pores so you’ll have a smoother surface for your foundation, concealer, and blush.

Primers are often specialized. Some are for covering redness, some are for drying oily skin, and others are for prepping your eyelids for shadow.

  • Foundation

Foundation, which goes all over your face, is intended to create an even skin tone and create a smooth canvas for more flawless makeup application.

  • Concealer

Concealer is the third step of the process, and in many ways the most important. Most concealer connoisseurs have two different types of concealer: one for covering dark circles under their eyes, and one for combatting blemishes.

Concealer is applied as a spot cosmetic directly onto problem areas, rather than evenly across the face like foundation.

Some days, you might not need concealer at all, but when you’re experiencing a breakout, you’ll need a lot of it. On days when you have visible acne, you can apply the concealer directly onto pimples.

How to properly apply concealer to blemishes

Applying concealer requires proper technique, but you can become a pro with a little practice.

Step 1: If you wear foundation, apply it first. If you use cream foundation, you’ll want to apply it fully and evenly before moving onto concealer.

Step 2: Dab on the concealer. Only apply concealer to the area surrounding your pimple, not your entire face. Dab it on in small dollops around the pimple.

You can use a makeup sponge, brush, or finger to do the dabbing. (If you use your finger, make sure you’ve just washed your hands, and keep in mind that your body heat might smooth the concealer for more flexible application.)

Step 3: Blend it in. Don’t be afraid to take your time on this step, as it will make a big difference in how the concealer looks throughout your day. This process takes a few extra minutes, but it’s worth it for proper coverage.

Step 4: Set it with powder. Apply a light layer of loose or pressed powder over your concealer once it dries. This will help it stay intact all day long.

Concealer Mistakes To Keep In Mind

Concealer is easy once you get the hang of it, but it’s important to avoid the common mistakes below.

  • Don’t use the same concealer for blemishes and dark circles. Not all concealers work the same way. Some are formulated to handle discoloration, while others are better at disguising acne.
  • Don’t apply your concealer before foundation. Some days, your foundation will do such a great job smoothing out the area around your pimple that you won’t need concealer at all.
  • Don’t forget to set your concealer with powder. This step is tempting to skip, but it makes a big difference in how long your coverage lasts.

The Top 5 Best Concealers For Acne

Best Concealer For Acne That’s Extra Stubborn: Benefit Cosmetics Boi-ing Industrial Strength Concealer

This heavy duty concealer will cover even the most stubborn blemishes.

Why we like it:

  • Goes on smooth.
  • Provides full, long-lasting coverage.

You might want to choose Boi-ing if:

You have pimples that every other concealer you’ve tried has failed to cover.

Boi-ing provides full coverage of the blemishes that are nearly impossible to conceal. The creamy formula goes on smooth and is extremely blendable. It has a matte finish, which enables it to blend with your skin tone more easily. Fans of the product report a “glowing” effect after application, which makes it that much more fun to wear.

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Best Concealer For Acne When You Have Oily Skin: It Cosmetics Bye Bye Breakout

This concealer does double duty as a concealer and a drying lotion to tame oily skin.

Why we like it:

  • Includes peptides and collagen, which are great anti-aging ingredients.
  • Works great on oily skin.
  • Blends well under other makeup.

You might want to choose Bye Bye Breakout if:

Your skin has both acne and excess oil.

This innovative concealer blends pimple coverage and oil-zapping capabilities in one. In addition to covering your acne, the concealer helps prevent future pimples. With Bye Bye Breakout, you won’t have to worry about greasiness shining through your concealer, which is a dilemma that just about everyone with oily skin can relate to. This concealer doesn’t dip into creases, and it uses powerful natural ingredients like witch hazel and tea tree oil to cleanse and zap your pimples while disguising them.

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Best Concealer For Acne When You Have Sensitive Skin: W3ll People Bio Correct Correct Multi-Action Concealer

This gentle concealer covers pimples without irritating sensitive skin.

Why we like it:

  • Great for sensitive skin.
  • Has a smooth, mousse-like texture that’s easy to apply.
  • Stays put for up to eight hours.

You might want to choose W3ll People concealer if:

You have sensitive skin and prefer a product with a light texture.

This W3ll People concealer has a fun, mousse-like texture that makes applying it feel more like a hobby than a chore. It includes ingredients that are ideal for sensitive skin, like aloe, chamomile, and pomegranate. This concealer also includes advanced peptide complex, which is known for smoothing out fine lines.

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Best Concealer For Acne That’s Raised And Prominent: Physicians Formula Conceal RX Physicians Strength Concealer

This affordable and effective concealer blasts prominent, raised zits.

Why we like it:

  • Applies smooth.
  • Lasts for up to 12 hours.
  • Works on both dry and oily skin.

You might want to choose Physicians Formula Conceal RX if:

You have a variety of different types of blemishes you want to cover.

This concealer can do it all. It covers everything from dark circles, to pimples, to scars and bruising. The formula is highly pigmented, meaning it delivers intense color to help those zits fade into the background beneath your natural skin tone. It’s oil-free and non-comedogenic, meaning that it won’t clog your pores. The finish is semi-matte, so you might want to set it with powder when you’re finished applying. It comes in an easy-apply tube for more direct coverage.

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Best Concealer For Acne With Natural Ingredients: Alima Pure Pressed Foundation

This foundation uses natural ingredients like rosehip oil, and it applies in seconds.

Why we like it:

  • Uses natural ingredients.
  • Moisturizes while concealing.

You might want to choose Alima Pure Pressed Foundation if:

You prefer a concealer made only of natural ingredients.

This concealer comes with a handy sponge for a unique and easy application process, and it has a satisfyingly smooth matte finish. Fans of natural products will love Alima Pure’s use of rosehip oil, primrose oil, aloe, chamomile, and argan oil. These natural ingredients were specially chosen to moisturize, soothe, and reduce inflammation.

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Concealer is way more fun than it looks

At the outset, concealer seems like one more chore needed to manage your acne. Instead, try to see it for the fun makeup product that it is.

Concealer might not be as flashy as a bright-colored eyeshadow or lipstick, but it makes an equally big impact on how you look.

When your acne is front and center for everyone to see, it feels like those pimples have all the power. With concealer, you can zap them into the background. Go ahead, show those zits who’s really boss.

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