Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Best Products for (adult) Acne Prone Skin

Products in this post:

This post has been sitting in my drafts for a while. But It's partially due to the fact that I wanted to try every product and research every method I could possibly get my hands on so this could be the most comprehensive article (as you can see, it's a really long post!).

I had perfect skin throughout my life up until about 23 and then I started to break out constantly. I seriously didn't even know how to handle a zit up until 23 because I had never really broken out. I kid you not... somehow I was very lucky and didn't even realize it.  For the past 3+ years, I've been perfecting my regimen and getting my acne under control as best I can.

I actually didn't realize so many people were interested in this topic until late last year when I posted some products that I use for acne on Snapchat and got an insane amount of screenshots- and after that, tons of requests for me to write about how I handle adult acne.

So today I am rounding up all of my favorite products that I have used (and these are products I have used for at least several months or more) and absolutely love. These are products that have truly worked and shown results for me.

I know skincare is a very personal thing, so I guess I should also preface this post by saying that what works for me may not work for you, but hopefully, it will help you to discover some new products. I'm also not a dermatologist or expert, so you need to take everything I say with a grain of salt and do your own research, too!

I'm about to list a lot of products. I (obviously) don't use every single product every day. I use all of these products on a 'need' basis, but I am putting **asterisks** next to products that you need to use daily for at least a while to see results.
Spot Treatments
Persa-Gel 10
This is a gel cream that you apply directly to a zit and is probably my favorite product ever for getting rid of a zit overnight... it also happens to be one of the most inexpensive. Major win. Not to be confused with this product. The packaging is very similar and it is by the same brand, however, Persa-Gel 10 has the maximum amount of benzoyl peroxide in it before you need a prescription (10%). I always have a tube of this on hand. You just dab it on at night as a spot treatment and it reduces, of not totally gets rid of a zit.

Drying Lotion
Contrary to the name, this is not a lotion. I only just discovered this product about a year ago and I'm not sure how I ever lived without it. In fact, I have loved every single Mario Badescu product I have tried (and I've tried a lot). This is a spot treatment and you dip a q-tip into the solution and put it right on your blemish. This also quickly diminishes a zit. The only drawback to this one is that it is totally visible and the smell isn't super pleasant. The pink stuff (which is what I think is the calamine lotion) dries that same pink color right on your face.. so you kind of look like a fool with spots on your face. But if you don't care about the spots, then apply away because this is legit and totally works. This is made with salicylic acid and is comparable to this drugstore version, but I truly think that the drying lotion works much better.

Buffering Lotion**
Again, this is not a lotion at all. It's a clear, low-viscosity liquid with a white chalky substance mixed in. It's salicylic acid and sulfur and is meant for cystic acne. You can get salicylic acid from high-end brands down to drugstore brands, but the difference about this one is the super low viscosity of this can be doused onto your acne cyst and then it is quickly absorbed... rather than something like a gel that sits on the surface. This product is really drying, so I definitely recommend using it when you have a true cyst. Then you apply for a few nights in a row and you can watch it shrink in size and eventually dry up and disappear.
Glycolic Acid Toner**
I used this toner before I was prescribed prescription strength glycolic acid. Glycolic acid is an AHA(alpha hydroxy acid) which is known to exfoliate the skin. So if you are needing to get rid of acne scars, this works to slowly flake away at the top layer of your skin to reveal fresh skin underneath and eventually help acne scars to face. This also helps with anti-aging in that is can lessen the appearance of lines and wrinkles. You can use this twice a day by soaking a cotton pad and wiping onto your entire face. I just used it once in the mornings. This is a great option if you don't have the access to prescription strength glycolic acid.

I'm a HUGE fan of the entire Tula brand, but their newest product, the resurfacing gel has become one of my top favorite skin care products. I've been using the product for almost 2 months now and I've noticed a huge difference in my skin. You use it in place of a toner after cleansing your skin. I skipped out on my prescription strength glycolic acid to use this to see if it was at all comparable. And guess what? It worked just as well, if not better. I use it every morning and night (after cleansing) and it very gently exfoliates your skin because of the glycolic acid, but what sets this apart, is that it also moisturizes using hyaluronic acid, too. Use code SYDNEYSPRING20 for 20% off plus free shipping.

A note about glycolic acids:
Just be sure to either use the resurfacing gel or a prescription glycolic acid or the glycolic acid toner I mentioned above and not all at the same time. If you are using the glycolic products all at the same time, it's hard to tell which one is truly working for you but it could also irritate your skin or dry it out. If you want to try multiple glycolic acid products at once, try using one in the morning and one at night. 
I use this every morning after cleansing/toning. I use it in the morning because I find it light enough to use under my makeup without making me look shiny or feeling too heavy. It is really hydrating. It feels somewhat thick but my skin really drinks it up. 

Inexpensive, lightweight, a classic. This is great for any age, any gender, any skin type. It's light and hydrating. I find this to be 'watery' compared to all of my other moisturizers, but it still works really well. I don't use this daily, but I actually will apply a ton to my face and kind of wear it as a mask when my face is really dry. I do it before bed for about 30-45 minutes and then remove it with warm water before my head hits the pillow. 

This is the holy grail of face products for me. I know I have written about this product a bunch before but that is because it's a miracle product. It's supposed to brighten and firm skin over time, and while I'm not sure about the firming part, it TOTALLY brightens my skin. It's a super thick cream and I apply it at night after cleansing and toning. I wake up and my skin is instantly brighter and smoother and just all around healthier looking. I know that sounds too good to be true, but this stuff is pure magic. 

This eye cream is amazing and the results are just like that of the face cream. However, I don't think there is any reason you need to buy both. My suggestion would be to just get the face cream and use it on your eyes as well! 

A note about the lotions:
None of these lotions are formulated to get rid of acne, but they are lotions that have never made me break out and lotions that are gentle and hydrating.

I did a whole post on these and they really are a game-changer. Check out my full post to read more about why I love them so much. 

Make sure you get the maximum strength 10% if you have stubborn acne and really want to see results. I wash my face with this every time I am in the shower. It's like medication for your face, so if you notice it drying out your face a lot, either take a break or be extra vigorous with your moisturizers until your skin starts to clear. 

This is a little more than I typically spend on a face cleanser but it is amazing. If I am feeling extra oily or maybe gross from a workout, I use this cleanser. It not only cleans my face but makes it feel so refreshed. You only need to use a pea size amount and warm water and voila, fresh skin. I also love the way this smells. It just smells clean. 

I've been using this since high school. It's just your basic, gentle face wash. It doesn't promise to anti-age or get rid of acne, but just clean your skin in the simplest, gentlest way and that is exactly what it does. It's reliable.

Like the Neutrogena cleanser, this one is simple, reliable and gentle.

Love love love this black mud mask. I use this a few times a month and after removing, it makes my skin instantly look fresher and clearer. 

My friends and I are obsessed with this one. I think the Irish Moor Mud Mask works better on my skin, but this one is fun because the mask shows you where it's pulling impurities from your skin. I use this about twice a month. My only gripe is that the product is really water (which I love) but it dries out and gets thicker in the tub as time goes on. 

This is an exfoliating mask (using AHAs and BHAs). You only leave this mask on for a few minutes because you can actually feel it tingle on your face. This is definitely one you want to use at night as once you remove it, your face is a bit red from the acid. I try to do this once a week or when my face is looking really dull. 
Retin-A **
You need a prescription but it's worth the trip to the derm. This is probably one of the only products I don't switch out and am very regimented about. I use this every single night. You just need to make sure you put sunscreen on every day since it can make your skin very sensitive to UV rays. 

People swear by this (it's alcohol-free), so I bought some and really love it. It's an astringent and most people use it like they would a toner. It's super gentle, so on days where I am not wearing makeup, if my skin needs a little refresh, I use this! Comes in one-use pads, too. 

I thought this was so dumb at first. But it is so not. Have you ever applied your makeup when your face is really dry and flakey and wondered what you can do to make it look hydrated and dewy-- and fast? Just spritz some of this all over and it will look refreshed. I also love this when I have had my makeup on all day and it is starting to look dull. I just spray some of this on top and it brightens it up in a quick pinch. Also great for flying, just spritz on your skin! It does not make me break out and I have actually found out, the more I use this product, the less I seem to break out... especially if it is a week where I have to be wearing full makeup all the time.

Bioderma Micellar Water 
This is the best micellar water out there. It's specially formulated to regulate sebum, which is what clogs pores. I use this when I have stubborn makeup that refuses to come off and love it for traveling when you need a quick cleanse before you apply your makeup.

Oxy Pads
Even though these are targeted more for teens, this is a quick (and cheap) way to give your broken out skin a quick dose of salicylic acid. I usually use these at night and they have never dried out my skin. I don't use them too often, but always glad to have these on hand.

Pore Refiner Cream
I don't think you are supposed to use it as a primer, but I do. I don't use primer, but instead, use this in place. It smooths out my skin and gets it ready for a full face of makeup. I don't do a full face of makeup every day, so I only use this when I do.

Tell me, is there anything you swear by? What are your holy grail anti-acne products?! Would love to know! 


Laura Baker Busic said...

Love this post! I'm definitely interested to try some of the spot treatments, I've been looking for a good one! Another mask I SWEAR by is the "Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay," you have to try it out if you haven't! It's super inexpensive, it's available on Amazon but I usually find it at natural grocery stores.

Unknown said...

Great post! Would you mind sharing where you got your beautiful shelf from? I'm looking for something similar for our tiny bathroom. Thanks!

Lauren said...

Definitely book marking this and trying out some of these products!


Maryn said...

Love this post! Adult acne is SO hard to battle. I swear by the Dr. Jart+ Cicapair products - both the cream in the tube (for night and day) and the color correcting balm in the jar (with SPF, for daytime only). They're the best! Just ordered the Tula Resurfacing Gel to add to my routine - thanks for the reco!

Esther said...

Thank you so much for sharing all these information.
This is so helpful. I have tried so many products already.
Since a few months, I am working with Vitamine C during the day and Retinol during the night.
I will definitely try or few of your recommendations.
Have a beautiful day. Love, Esther

Emily said...

Cetaphil is good on all kinds of skin types and gentle too. It also acts as an effective alternative to traditional soap cleansers.

BethTupas said...

As someone who has struggled with acne since a teenager, and still has acne in their mid-20s, I've tried everything. Dermalmd Blemish serum is really making a difference. I use one pump in the morning and one pump at night on the bottom half of my face where I have acne, after washing and moisturizing my face. It has cleared up my skin significantly without drying out my skin. I would highly recommend dermalmd to anyone with acne and dry skin.

Bo Yang said...

We are all so conditioned to approach our skin and skincare from the outside in, but in reality to much of it should be inside out. Diet, exercise,stress relief, removing toxins, etc., can go a long way toward calming the skincare storm.

Of course, that's not to forgo topical products because they most assuredly have there place and you've given some wonderful insight into that with this post.


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