What are your best tips & recs for acne?

What are your best tips & recs for acne? Share yours! Whether you’ve conquered yours or are still fending it off… share!


I’m still dealing with mine, but Mario Badescu’s Drying Lotion and Drying Cream have been great spot treatments!

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Ive heard that the Tria Blue Light system is good, without any of the side effects of topical acne medication. I yet to bite that bullet since its so expensive ($295 for the starter kit). Has anyone tried this before?

I am using Mario Badescu’s Drying Lotion as well & it really works.

For me – I don’t use a toner that is high in alcohol. It dries out my skin and just causes my skin to react badly.

Don’t use so many new products at once…cause then when you get a zit, you don’t know which product caused it.

Try to find a good skin care routine and stick to it!! that is hard to do…for me anyway, always curious about new products


I use products that have glycolic acid, oil-free, no mineral oil, nothing that is too thick/greasy when it comes to moisturizers. I have been using the peels from MD Skincare and I’ve noticed a difference. I also use a serum morning/night…

low stress pressure, sleep well, and eat well, I find no other way with most of the products i try for acne, or those that most people say it works is too strong for me and hurts my skin really bad.

This is a great topic. I still struggle with my acne and even though it’s no where as bad as it was in my teen years and before half a round of Accutane (it didn’t go well w/my liver) it still is bad at times.

I have found that Queen Helene’s Mint Julep Masque works really well at drying my really large pimples out, like the cystic ones. I leave it on the acne overnight and wash it off in the morning and it really helps to reduce the size. I found that Skin ID worked for a good 8 months for me and then stopped working (although I was told I should switch products and be reevaluated by stopped using it.) Clinique’s stuff worked for a while too.

It really depends on the person and even then through topical stuff my body gets accustomed to it and hormones kick in and it goes haywire. I hope to get some good tips though.

Crushed aspirin with honey 2x a week in the mornings in my shower (to which I think shower steam helps). There are tons of youtube videos on this…and when I first tried it out I was skeptical…until I tried it and was amazed at how good it works and how it even makes my skin smooth. But again, this worked for me…doesn’t mean it will work for everyone. I am just glad I finally tried it and stuck it out 1 month to begin to see results 🙂

The aspirin mask is not good for your skin due to the high doses of salicylic acid. This mask makes your skin more prone to being harmed by the sun. Aspirin is medication, not a mask.

This might sound weird, but my dermatologist recommended that I wash my face with sea salt twice daily. I typically use a cleanser first (Noxzema) and then wet my face with water and gently scrub with a palmfull of sea salt. It hasn’t dried out my skin so far (I’ve been doing this for about a year now) and I have noticed that my acne has decreased about 95%! Also, my old acne scars have been fading faster than usual.

I do not like your derm’s rec. Salt is SO harsh! I personally can’t use anything that is derived from the sea, as it breaks me out.

Sea salt is fantastic! Just like going into the ocean. Notice how when you go to the beach you end up with amazing skin? Sea salt does just that, plus it is completely natural. Of course, it is not for everyone, but for me it is amazing!

I use Paula’s Choice BHA 2% liquid every night after I wash my face then I use Clean and Clear’s Persal-Gel for spot treatment on my pimples. Works great for me.

I used Kiehl’s Blue Herbal Cleanser & Moisturizer for a couple of years, and that really helped calm down my acne. It worked so well for me that I was able to switch to their ultra facial moisturizer and cleanser as my daily regimen because my acne flare ups calmed down. Now when I get my occasional pimple, I use Benefit’s Boo Boo zap. This works great, especially on painful, deep-rooted pimples. It cuts the healing time in half, if not faster! Now I just need something to get rid of my scars & even out my skintone (too much redness).

Luckily I do not suffer from acne, but for the occasional pimple (which I can’t help but squeeze out…), this worked real well for me: After squeezing, I treat the affected area with honey. Just take a bit and put it right on the spot. At first it will look worse, because the honey makes a bit of a wet mess of it (so it’s of no use when you have your make-up on), but given an hour or two, it will dry the spot up and the surrounding inflammation will recede. Two treatments usually get the job done. I really like this because it is very gentle, does not sting at all, and is also really cheap! The only disadvantage is, as mentioned, that it is not good as an ’emergency treatment’ during the day, the area gets a little sticky as well, but it’s a great treatment if you let it soak in overnight.

Wash the area in which acne occurs at least daily, better twice a day. Especially after activities where you sweat a lot.

Use a cleansing system instead of a cleanser from company A and a toner from company B and a cream from company C. In systems the products work together as a team and support each other.

Don’t touch unless you want scars.

For emergency help, try tea tree oil (melaleuca alternifolia). It has a very strong smell but it is antibacterial. Best to use one drop of tea tree oil on a cotton ball and add a few drops of water. Then pad it onto the area of destruction. Use it undiluted for worst case scenarios but keep in mind that IT IS STRONG. The smell will sting your eyes and make them watery! Don’t go too far into the eye area with it!

Otherwise, just bear it. You are not alone!

“Use a cleansing system instead of a cleanser from company A and a toner from company B and a cream from company C. In systems the products work together as a team and support each other.”

This isn’t always the case. A lot of times, one product from a system/range will be wonderful, while another will not work well. It’s better to find an individual item that works for your skin regardless of brand, and create a routine with products that work together.

Mixing up a mask of green clay and apple cider vinegar! This was magic, I would use this at night and in the morning breakouts were noticeably smaller.

clinique’s cleansers are worth a try, and anything with salicylic acid. its that or benzoyl peroxide, but BP is a temporary fix, and salicylic acid is less harsh.

I’ve had moderate to severe acne all my life and I’ve spent THOUSANDS of dollars on my face. There were tons of products that worked, temporarily ofcourse. I decided 4 months ago to take “the plunge” and now I have clear skin to the point that my skin care regimen only consists of facial wash (Cetaphil) and moisturizer (Neutrogena for sensitive skin). The solution was Claravis.
I know this is a make-up and beauty blog so I’ll also mention some of the products that helped me prior to Claravis.

Acne.org skincare regimen
Bliss Fabulous Foaming Facial Wash
Murad Acne Spot Treatment
Glytone Acne Facial Masque (sulfur based)

Thank you, Christine, for all of your awesome beauty tips. Your advise, along with the help of Claravis, have boosted my self-esteem a ton!

my tip is to see your doc to make sure it isn’t mostly hormone related. if it is – medicate!

also, don’t be too harsh on your skin – stripping it of oil it needs – it will only produce more to get back at you. 🙂

Simple – eliminate dairy.

There have been many studies which show that the high levels of hormones in dairy (which comes from cattle who are both pregnant and lactating at the same time!) increase hormone levels in consumers. The hormones increased are 5alpha-p and IGF-1, both of which stimulate increased sebum production and increased skin cell formation inside of sebaceous glands, leading to cystic acne. Skim milk, sadly is worse, because of how dairy producers play with it so it will be creamy in spite of being low fat, and even organic milk contains large quantities of naturally occurring hormones. Google acne and dairy, and if that doesn’t convince you, eliminate the dairy for a month as an experiment.

Getting the dairy out of your life is hard, but better than the alternative of harsh treatments like Accutane. I did 3 rounds of that before I found out about milk. Once your skin clears up, you can see an esthetician for a peel or dermabrasion to get rid of scarring, and you’ll be back to beautiful!

I haven’t eaten dairy in 2-3 months, and my acne is no different, even though dairy negatively affects my stomach and digestive system. I’ve also eliminated eggs, which I’m mildly allergic to, and no change has been made in my skin. I’ve also eliminated fast food, and monitor what I eat.

Food does not affect everyone. Some people break out within a day after eating something, others could eat whatever they want and never experience any excess breakouts.

It’s a good thing to try out, though. Especially if you are allergic/sensitive to something you are eating. But it’s no guarantee to acne-free skin.

I haven’t been able to eat dairy for a year now due to health reasons, and I’d say that’s a crock. Don’t cut dairy out of your diet unless you really need to, because it’s just not worth it. I haven’t noticed any side effect on my skin since I cut out dairy… and it was for a completely unrelated reason.

It really does depend on your system. Generally, when you break out due to something you ingest, it’s due to the way it’s being absorbed and digested in your system – if your body doesn’t like it, it could cause inflammation on your skin in the form of acne. Some people find that a high intake of iodine (which is what most attribute to milk-related breakouts) will break them out. Even multivitamins with iodine can break them out.

So if someone wants to try removing it from their diet, I say go ahead. If there is no improvement, then continue eating/drinking dairy. If there are improvements, then make sure you are taking supplements to get adequate calcium and vitamin D.

I’d disagree with Diana – most humans are actually lactose intolerant to a certain degree (how likely you are to be severely lactose intolerant seems to depend on ethnicity significantly), and, when you think about it, drinking the bodily juices of an animal of a completely different species to the extent that we do makes very little sense. Although it doesn’t always contribute to acne, I definitely believe it can, and it is worth a try.

It’s not milk from all animals that is said to contribute to acne. It is generally only cow’s milk that is said to be a cause of acne for some, simply due to the iodine content. Yes, if you are lactose-intolerant or simply find discomfort from dairy, it can’t hurt to remove it from your diet. But as I said, although I’m sensitive to dairy, its removal hasn’t affected my acne in any way.

If it weren’t for hormones (that time of the month) mine would be completely under control now. Such a shame. Sometimes I feel like my face *just* manages to heal and start looking really good again and then I get the inevitable breakout. I can minimize it, but I can’t stop it from happening. My mom says it was like this for her until menopause! Eeek.

Anyhow, things that help, in order of amazingness from high to low:
* Tea Tree Oil! (so cheap, but so great! I dilute with filtered water and use as a toner, or dab a little bit on straight from the bottle – don’t do the latter unless you’re sure your skin is OK with it.)
* Fresh Umbrian Clay Treatment Mask (more $$ but totally worth it, works best as an overnight spot treatment.)
* PCA Skincare Blemish Control Bar (salicylic acid and sulfur, lasts about 6 months using once or twice a day. I’ve been using it for the last 5 years, it’s a GREAT cleanser)
* Clindimycin (Rx) and Benzoyl Peroxide cream used together (learned from my dermatologist that these work synergistically. It’s a bit drying, but if spots aren’t responding, or if it’s a good time for drying (like you’re trying to draw the nasty out of the spot) this can work really well, just don’t over-do it.)
* Pre-cleansing with oil if wearing heavy-duty sunscreen or lots of makeup (I use Shu Uemura’s oil cleanser, the green one, but I think the act of oil cleansing is what makes a big difference rather than the brand of cleanser. I don’t do this every day, I do it when I’ve got a lot on my face, and I want to make sure I get off every bit. Since my skin is sensitive (espeically the cheeks) I don’t like to rely on manual scrubbing to remove everything. My normal cleaner can get it all off, but not as gently as an oil cleanser, followed by my normal cleanser to get the benefit of its acne-fighting ingredients.)

Also, things that are more general tips and not as product-oriented:
* Moisturize when/where you need it, instead of all over the face, twice a day. This is different for different people, because I know some people under-moisturize and then their skin makes more oil. My skin’s not very oily, but still acne-prone and a bit dry. If I moisturize like crazy, indiscriminately it doesn’t seem to matter what moisturizer I’m using, I will break out more. For me this means in the morning I rarely need more moisturizer than my sunscreen. In the evening, I do moisturize my whole face, but I use moisturizer very sparingly on my T-zone and much more generously on my cheeks, neck, eyes and lips. I believe in trying to give my face what it needs at that moment in general. If my face feels sensitive, I don’t exfoliate or use anything harsh. If my face feels dry, I don’t use anything drying, and I moisturize more. If my face feels oily, I moisturize less and am willing to use more drying ingredients.
* Wash your pillowcase frequently. Since your face is going to be pressed up against it for (hopefully) 8 hours a day, it matters if it’s clean. I change mine twice a week, whereas I wash the sheets once a week. This is easy, you can get some extra pillowcases for cheap, and just keep more in rotation.
* Wash your hands often – it’s hard not to touch your face. At least this way when you do touch your face, your hands will be cleaner.
* Think about if certain makeup product could be breaking you out. If you suspect they are, either discontinue use and find something else, or get scientific about it to make sure. The prettiest shade of blush in the world won’t make you look better than not having a big breakout on your cheek. Concealer that covers like magic but breaks you out is NOT helping. Some things you can get away with if you’re careful not to wear them every day.

For fading marks from past acne, I use a gentle retinol treatment (Biomedic Retinol 15) and regular, gentle exfoliation. I can’t use retinol every day, I use it more like every other day, or sometimes a week on, a week off.

Egad, that was a bit of an essay. Everything here is things that have actually actively helped improve my situation with acne.

I don’t have issueswithacne but when I feel pimples coming Iusually go for the toothpaste, if not than I use Honey. If all else fails tea tree oil always does the trick.

I have yet to find a commercial product that does the trick for me.

I had really severe cystic acne, with combination and sensitive skin. Historically, a very difficult set of characteristics. I started doing a few things that really made a difference:

1) Clarisonic Mia morning and night with a gentle cleanser. I am still trying to find a cleanser that works for the long term, but the Clarisonic is a God-send.
2) A homemade toner of 2 parts witch hazel, 1 part Lush tea tree water, and 1 part rose water. I chose these ingredients because they are known to be helpful for fighting acne; they have astringent and antimicrobial properties that make them effective against it. The rose water is also an effective anti-inflammation and balancing agent. I spritz the toner on my face morning and night, letting it sink into my skin before moisturizing.
3) A honey mask that I leave on for 20 minutes, twice a week. I just open a jar of honey and spread it over my face. Honey is antimicrobial and soothing on the skin … the results have been wonderful!
4) Around “that time” of the month, I usually feel a cyst forming on my chin. As soon as I feel it, I wash my face with Lush Fresh Farmacy, concentrating on the area of the cyst. I do that once a day for a few days.
5) After washing with Fresh Farmacy, I put Neosporin on the cyst. I do that in the morning and at night. Neosporin is actually the best acne spot treatment I have used (and I’ve tried a million of them). Since I started using the Fresh Farmacy/Neosporin combination, the cyst doesn’t fully form and goes away within a day or two.

The process is still evolving, but I’m happy with the results I’m getting right now. It’s complicated, but my skin has never been this clear 🙂

I’ve read on makeupalley and other sources that Neosporin should not be used very often on the skin. I can’t remember why, but perhaps because it thins the skin out? Similar as to why you should not use cortizone on your skin often. So you may want to remove the Neosporin from your routine unless the pimples have actually burst.

I’ve used Neosporin countless times on my face and it’s been fine. It’s just an antibiotic. My acne is comes from the fact that I am overly sensitive to bacteria. I have been using a topical antibiotic from the derm for 15 years with no problems. I use the neosporin only as a spot treatment when there’s a serious issue and its been very helpful.

As beauty/makeup addicts it’s hard to stick to one product. But I’ve found that when dealing with acne it’s best not to constantly change what you’re using. Once you’ve found something that isn’t aggravating your skin stick with it; especially with your skincare. Sometimes it’s the changing from product to product that makes the acne worse.

It wasn’t until I finally stop switching skincare products, and stuck to a regime that my acne cleared up.

First of all not to use towel. Second, proffessional exfoliation with salicid and lactic acids. Thrid, moisturiser daily. And remember, not to touch you face with hands!

I can give a lecture about it!
At first if you want to mask acne you should taping on foundation on your face using sponge.
But it is better to cure such problem. In Russia we have medicine called Roaccutan. I gues it will be difficult to get it for the most part of readers, so you should search for medicine with active substance Isotretinoin.

I’ve been battling acne for years and years and I took some medication that did help! However, you cannot forget to wash your face everyday and night and tone the face after. And of course moisturize! You need to keep the face clean and there are some really good brands out there, you just need to try them out. The rule of trial and error, until you find a routine that suits you!

Skyn Iceland’s Anti-Blemish Gel With Willow Bark is a great spot treatment. It dries to a clear protective barrier (think liquid band-aid) against bacteria getting into your blemishes. No more popping them (sometimes it’s impossible not to)feeling confident that it’s gone, and looking in the mirror an hour later to see that it’s tripled in size. This product is very expensive for the amount you get, $25, but you need so little of it to work. The ingredients are all natural so it’s ideal for people like me who are sensitive to both salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide.

thank you, thank you for this topic! i am 29 and after perfect skin as a teenager i now suffer from hormonal acne around my chin, lower cheeks and jawline. the contraceptive pill worked well, but i don’t want to be on it long term as i hate taking artificial hormones. i have tried MANY brands of skincare and the derm-prescribed stuff too. the best thing i’ve discovered is the line of products made by daniel kern of acne.org (that’s where you buy it too). not only is acne.org an incredibly friendly, informative community but the products are extremely gentle yet effective. daniel founded the site after suffering from acne himself and discovering a “regimen” involving the use of lots of low strength BP on a daily basis. i’ve been doing the regimen with the cleanser and moisturizer for three weeks and it has made a big difference. other BPs really dried me out and made the flaking almost as bad as the acne itself but this doesn’t. i am really happy with it. it’s also very inexpensive!

Girrrl, your story is identical to mine, almost. I had acne in HS, but it cleared up toward by senior year. Then my face basically exploded around 18 or 19 – so 10 years earlier than you. It started with cystic acne around my jawline and chin and within 6 months, it had migrated north and consumed my entire face. The acne cysts were so huge and hard, my face was all lumpy and distorted and it was hot to the touch b/c from all the irritation. I looked like an alien. I finally got to a derm who explained that women often go thru more hormonal changes in their 20’s and late teens that negatively impacts their body’s ability to fight bacteria in your skin – thus the acne I got. It sounds just like what you went though. My doc gave me an oral antibiotic, an RX for a cream with a very high BP percentage, and an RX for this medicine called “Akne-mycin.” That was 15 years ago, and I am STILL using the Akne-mycin today! It is a miracle drug, and surprisingly, not that popular. There have been a few times when I thought the drug company was going to discontinue it due to lack of demand. I am the only person at my pharmacy who orders it, and my current derm had never heard of it. When I asked him for it. He had to look it up in his little book thing.

Ask your doc for it. If they have not heard of it, make them look it up and make sure they spell the name of it with a “K” in the drug name or else they will never find it. It is a topical antibiotic for acne suffers. What I love about it is it has the consistency of diaper rash cream (sounds weird, I know), so it is very soothing and non-drying. I used it place of moisturizer – which is bad for people like us with acne due to bacterial sensitivity. My old derm who first prescribed it said that lotions can trap bacteria in the skin and cause more zits. I now use moisturizer on my cheeks b/c I am older now and am starting to get dryness there.

I will check out your Dr. Kem stuff, but you should try out the aknemycin. It may actually be cheaper than the acne.org stuff, if you have decent RX insurance.

Hmmm I have never heard of that. I will try it. I am usually prescribed a combo of BP and Retin-A but found it dried me out too much. And I didn’t specify, but I did actually start to get the acne same age as you roughly – about 21-22. So it’s been a long time now! The biggest problem for me is the red marks left over for months, even if I don’t touch the zit. Makes it look like I have more than I really do. Got any cures for that?

Awww, no. Sorry. I am very fortunate in that the red marks go away within a few days after the zit is gone for me. I also have very minimal scarring that you can only see if you look close from the right angle. I am not sure how I got so lucky because I was sure I was going to be covered in pock marks for life. Good luck with the Aknemycin though!

Tea tree oil as a spot treatment. works really well since i just started to work out, and im breaking out baddddly! also birth control pills help with really bad acne.

i 99% of the time get hormonal acne so i love the mario badescu’s drying cream.

my tips: drink lots of water and wash off you makeup! no matter how tired you are

Tea Tree Oil from The Body Shop work really well! You just apply with a Q-tip to your acne spots on your face ( I use this at night because it has a very strong smell!!!). Overall, it zaps zits in no time!!!!

I hope you are DILUTING it with water before using it! If you don’t, you can easily wind up burning, scarring and irritating your skin, and even cause SCABBING!

You don’t need to dilute tea tree oil if use it as a spot treatment.

I like Silk Naturals skincare. It made my skin look and feel much better.

Actually, you are. You are suppose to dilute almost every essential oil when used on your skin. The TTO should only be used at concentrations between 5 and 10 percent. The face, especially acne-prone skin, is far more sensitive.

Agreed on the tea tree oil, undiluted. I have used it with success for several issues, acne, skin infections, etc and always make sure to have it around the house. Herbal remedies are the best I’ve found, and I’ve been raised with them. There is caution of course, as with all things.

Those with sensitive skin are encouraged to test tea tree oil by applying a small amount to the inner arm. Any allergic reaction or irritation will manifest within a few minutes. Dilute tea tree oil in an equal quantity of carrier oil or mix it with alcohol and water before trying another patch test. Tea Tree oil has a hard time mixing with just water.

Allergic reactions to tea tree oil are unusual; reactions to diluted tea tree oil are rare. Discontinue use if allergic reaction occurs.

I cleanse, tone, spot treat, and moisturize twice a day. In the morning I use a cleanser with salicylic acid, and my toner is alcohol free, my spot treatment contains 10% benzoyl peroxide and my moisturizer is oil free. At night, I use a different cleanser thats much less drying but still contains salicylic acid, the same toner, the same spot treatment, and a different moisturizer that it not oil free otherwise my combination skin would be really dry in some parts. I gave up fast food two years ago, and as soon as I eat some, breakouts appear. Other then that, I do get the occasional pimple probably from stress, or something along those lines, but nothing serious anymore, thank god. Now what I really want to get rid of is acne scars, no solution for that yet.

Hand’s down…Mario Badescu’s Drying Lotion and Drying Cream! Christine, your review was a life saver for my face 🙂 kuddos!!

My normal acne is tamed with the Dermalogica Medi-Bac line.(Green label!) Cleanser, toner, lotion, mattifier (which is the best mattifier I have found), spot treatment, and night time serum. But none of this tames my stress acne… Xanax clears that up. Ha ha. (Don’t use Xanax without a doctors Prescription!)

Now that I can’t afford Dermalogica, I have found that the Neutrogena’s New Oil-Free Acne Wash Pink Grapefruit Foaming Scrub works just as good!

Cleanse, tone and moisturize twice a day. Salicid acid exfoliator or glicolic acid once a week (the latter is awesome for small acne scars). Never forget sunscreen, the sun seems to dry the spots but in the long term it is much worse. Always use very clean brushes for make up. And of course, non-comedogenic products.
I love the products from Avène, and they are absolutely inexpensive (at least in my country, I haven’t found them here in the US yet to compare).

I had the WORSE acne of all time! I pretty much had acne for 10 years, like starting in elementary school! 🙁 It was terrible.. but I never went to the dermatologist until middle school. They started me off with this medication that seriously started to clear up the acne within a month 🙂 …it targeted bacteria under the skin… I used differin for about a year and it really helped further clear it up but not quite. As for face wash, I always used the “CeraVe” one which doesn’t lather so it was very gentle for the face! When MOST of my acne cleared up I couldn’t afford the derm anymore so I stopped going and hoped for the best lol. I’ve been using the Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne CREAM cleanser for over 3 years now at night and it helps keep the acne away. In the morning I use Philosophy Purity Made Simple. THEN, I had an opportunity to try out “CELLNIQUE” and I have to say it really works when you stick to the regimen! My skin has been MOSTLY baby smooth since then <3

Steer clear of ANY cleanser, moisturizer or general skin care product designed specifically for acne. These can easily trigger more acne as they are generally quite drying. Plus, your face isn’t one big pimple – treat your skin TYPE, not your skin ISSUE. Then use whatever spot treatments you like on the individual blemishes.
Keeping the skin well hydrated also helps, both internally and externally. Washing linens on a regular basis, washing anything that touches your face on a regular basis, those are all things that will help.

I’m using the Mario Badescue Drying Cream sample that I still have from a while ago, and it seems to work nicely on all forms of acne that I have. Calamine lotion can also work as it calms the skin. I would NEVER use Mario Badescue’s Drying Lotion, simply because Isopropyl Alcohol is a main ingredient, and can definitely mess with your skin.

Of course, check out reviews and comedogenic lists before buying a product!

As for my skin care routine, I do not use any medicated products other than my spot treatment. My routine is still in the making, though!

1) Cleanse morning and night with Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micelle Cleanser (known as Crealine in Europe) along with Shiseido’s cotton pads. They are SO much softer than regular cotton pads/balls – my acne has already started to calm down after a few days of using them.
2) Moisturize morning and night with jojoba oil. I haven’t figured out the best method of use for this yet, but I think that patting a drop onto dry skin works best.
3) Spot treat at night with Mario Badescue Drying Cream, and possibly with calamine lotion layered over the drying cream. I used to use calamine lotion on its own, but my acne wasn’t healing. I stopped using it around the time I switched to Shiseido cotton, and my acne is healing now, but I’ll be trying calamine lotion again to see if it works or not!
4) Exfoliate, in theory. I don’t have an exfoliating product that works for my skin. Chemical exfoliants irritate and burn, physical scrubs cause inflammation and dryness, and microfibre cloths are too harsh. I’ll be sampling LUSH Herbalism, since I haven’t used that in months (used it as my twice-daily cleanser for two years before switching), as a nightly cleanser and exfoliant. Has to be used in the shower though, otherwise the cleanser is not properly rinsed off around my hair line.

That’s it. The simpler, the better. I don’t do any masks, but I’m hoping to sample Vichy’s Aqualia Thermal Balm to use once or twice a week as a rich nightly moisturizing treatment in place of jojoba oil. Hopefully it works well with my skin, unlike the rest of their fragranced line!

Have you ever tried a milk or yogurt mask? The lactic acid in the dairy is a terrific, gentle exfoliant. I keep a box of powdered milk in the bathroom to either whip up a thick face mask or pour in the tub.

When I have a zit, I dab Murad’s Clarifying Mask on it and leave it on overnight. It really helps to dry it up and get rid of it faster. I like Murad’s entire line of acne products. They’re pretty expensive, though, so I’d get the value sets rather than buying full-size products.

I went through acne early in high school. Thankfully my mom brought me to dermatologists quickly. The first doctor was awful. Tried tetracycline (commonly used then) which screwed up my stomach but did nothing else. He also tried something like dry ice. It did nothing either. We asked around and found a great doctor in the next town.

She started me on Retin-A and increased the dosage over time. She watched me in her office and noticed I held my chin in my hands as I sat at her desk. She instructed me to stop doing that – to stop touching my face and to clean house phones daily with Windex. We discussed the birth control pill as an option – my mom wasn’t all that thrilled with that option (I was 14 – I don’t blame her).

She said I needed to be very careful about washing my face (I was scrubbing too hard with a wash cloth) and applying products and makeup. Anything that caused a reaction or dried my face would cause the skin to over-produce oil as a response. I stopped using Oxy – I had BAD reactions to Benzoyl Peroxide (my face itched and when I removed Oxy, I had welts where it had been applied).

Regarding makeup, she said if I was too tired to remove it before bed, I should stop wearing it. I have to give her a lot of credit. I’m now 36 and I can count on one hand the number of times since then that I’ve fallen asleep with makeup on.

The Retin-A and her instructions worked absolute wonders for me. My school pictures the next year needed no touch-ups. Up until very recently, I still broke out when I was under stress or getting my period but, there just a few pimples. The real acne was gone.

I still take skin care very seriously. I used Philosophy Help Me when I turned 31 and my forehead started breaking out again. My understanding is that it has one of the highest concentrations of retinol in an OTC product.

Two other items:

1) I use water-based moisturizers for dry spots. In high school, I used the green bottle of Clinique moisturizer. I think they stopped making it or changed it to yellow and just note that it’s water-based.

2) If you’re using retinol or Retin-A – do not get frustrated if it seems you’re breaking out more the first few weeks on the regimen. It’s literally speeding up the process of skin turn over. You will likely look worse for a short period of time. Then very clear skin will emerge.

She sounds like a great doc. I am fanatical about not touching my face (if I HAVE to squeeze, I cover my fingers with a tissue). I also change pillow cases frequently.

Cut out dairy and cut down on sweets. Caffeine can cause acne as well. My derm says diet doesn’t effect acne but I think otherwise from practice. The only thing that really got rid of my acne though was Accutane.

Hands down no questions asked – Hibiclens soap worked better for me than Accutane. You can buy it at Walgreen’s. I sincerely hope this helps someone else!

my two holy grail items!! love these products.
1) neutrogena on-the-spot acne treatment. treats and prevents blemishes. i’ve been using this for years!
2) neutrogena oil-free acne stress control 3-in-1 hydrating acne treatment. the salicylic acid in the product exfoliates skin thoroughly to fade scars caused by acne.

I am a NW15 with combo skin and some red acne scarring. Nothing that can’t be covered up with a light foundation, but it does bother me.

For me, the best thing I can do is wash my face at night with a fresh washcloth and either Cerave or Cetaphil cleansing lotions. Then, I spot treat at night with a big ole blob of sulphur-based product. In the morning, I just rinse off my face (because I I strip off the night’s natural oils, I will actually get more breakouts). To speed up healing time during the day and avoid a scar, I’ll apply Neosporin cream to the blemish. Wish I would have known that 10 years ago!

Has anyone tried the new Clinique Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector for red scarring? What results have you seen?

At one point I saw a dermatologist who prescribed this and that without much luck. So I sort of gave up and dedicated myself to minimizing the problem while investing in concealer. Then years later my gynecologist recommends clindamycin gel, which her teenage sons have been using, and writes me a prescription. I wasn’t holding out much hope, and didn’t even bothering filling the prescription for some time, but it worked– it was the key. I still get an occasional pimple but my skin is completely different now.

Go to the dermatologist.
I cannot stress enough how important this is! Instead of buying products that word semi-well, going to the dermatologist gives you the acne medication you need for your skin.
Ever since I got the acne medication from my dermatologist, my skin has improve by x1000000000.

Oh also
My acne medication and this is what changed my skin. Drink LOTS AND LOTS OF WATER and the best thing is AVOID MEAT AND SUGAR. I became a vegetarian and I can totally see the difference on my skin. Sugar kills and that is the number one thing that will break people out. Only eat fruits and vegetables and guaranteed within a week your skin will be clear.

Supplements like Vitamin A and Panthothenic Acid (B-5 supplementation) have worked really well for me. It does the same thing Accutane does, (reducing sebum), but without as many of the harsh side-effects. And I have taken Accutane, so I know what those are like…

I use both Philosophy’s Microdelivery Wash and On A Clear Day Acne Foam wash in the shower! Then I use Proactiv toner, acne lotion, and Oil of Olay moisturizer for sensitive skin. (I can’t stand Proactiv’s cleanser by the way, so my Proactiv shipments are adjusted for 2 toners instead of a cleanser!)
Then I use a few other miracle items that have cleared up acne scaring! My face has NEVER looked better!

Forgot to mention, I am not breaking out anymore!!!! I had breakouts my boyfriend called “angry” that would be so painful, but no more! These items have conquered cystic breakouts and breakouts I had consistently had on my right jaw and cheeks. I hope maybe they can help others out too! 🙂

For me, switching to powder mineral foundation made a huge difference in my skin! Also, I stopped using makeup remover and switched to cold cream. I think I was stripping my skin’s moisture so it was over compensating.

Also, when you go on vacation, pack your usual regime. Last con I went to, my skin was fine till I got there and started using my mom’s stuff. So many horrible zits! As soon as I got home, they cleared up. I hope that I remember this lesson.

Cutting out Soda really helped I think. I always drank diet-soda throughout my teen years and had acne. Now that I don’t drink soda anymore, I have been acne-free for years!

The Clarisonic! I’ve found my big angry breakouts have steadily improved since I started using mine twice a day. I also found that Dermalogica has the best products for my acne-prone skin, though I do have to put the time into cleansing properly, which is where the Clarisonic comes in. Also, find the RIGHT moisturiser, one that makes you feel moisturised but not greasy. You shouldn’t settle for tight, uncomfortable or dry skin after moisturising even if you’re oily. And don’t strip your skin and mistreat it with harsh treatment because you think it’ll make a difference. You’re trying to make your skin BETTER, not worse. (I know it sounds obvious, but the number of times I’ve heard about people squeezing their skin to extremes or having it burn after their toner, etc, I just find it scary..)

Also, taking care of your insides… Remember, the cause of acne isn’t dirt or germs, or else children would get acne. Its an internal process (Usually triggered by excess toxins or hormones) that simply results in the glue-like sebum that clogs pores and creates a bacteria-friendly environment.

I have had moderate adult acne for the past 5 years, but I started using Neutrogena Acne Grapefruit Scrub and I have been acne free for 2 months!

I’m a teenager with pretty sensitive acne-prone skin. What I’ve found about painful, icky acne breakouts is:

-Skin, particularly the acne-prone kind, needs to be babied, not blasted with 3657 different acids and peroxides and whatnot. I use a foaming cleanser from Aveeno that’s designed to keep skin clear with gentle cleansing, and an alchohol-free toner from Neutrogena. I find that drugstore products don’t contain a bunch of fancy-schmancy ingredients that the higher-end brands charge you for, but hey – it’s personal preference.

– Always always ALWAYS moisturize. Yes, you, too, oily-skinned girls. I use a water-based moisturizer during the day and Olay Regenerist Micro-sculpting cream at night. Personally, I have combination skin, and even though the Olay cream has oils in it, I find that it actually helps stop overproduction of oils on my face. Oiliness, believe it or not, can actually become present when skin is dry. Your skin will produce excess oils, trying it’s hardest to moisturize the skin, but only resulting in a shininess that we, as beauty fanatics, despise. Therefore, hydration is KEY!

-Sunscreen is your best friend. Seriously. During the school year, I’m out on a tennis court at least 1 1/2 hours in the blazing Texas sun. My coach suffered with skin cancer, so he makes sure we ALWAYS wear it! Trust me, being sunburned and having an ugly breakout is neither fun nor attractive. 😛

-If you don’t need to, don’t wear face makeup. Letting your skin breathe for a day or two will benefit it, trust me. We all have imperfections; it is our flaws that make us beautiful, so don’t be afraid to be fresh-faced. We’ve all been there!

-DO NOT pop your breakouts! I, myself, am horrible at this one, I’ll admit. But really, it makes them bleed and scab, and… yeuch. Enough said!

-If your acne breakouts persist, see your dermatologist. It really IS the best investment you can make when it comes to skin. Trust me, these people KNOW what they’re talking about!

-Aestheticians (the ladies who give you facials in spas) DON’T always know what they’re talking about when it comes to your skin. In fact, the sad truth is, a lot of the time, they’re trying to sell you products. Don’t feel pressured to spend $892637 on skincare if you don’t want to!

These are a few things I’ve learned through personal experience and research I’ve done. We’ve all been there when it comes to acne, it’s nothing to stress over. Just try different things and trust your judgment. We’re all on the quest for perfect skin, and we’re all different, so trust yourself. Remember, no matter your skin problems, you are beautiful! 😀

Since I use facial soap for sensitive skin, I have not broken out. I use Olay Foaming face wash for sensitive skin. Its cheap and with my clarisonic it does the job done.

Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Peel is a very good product for people with Acne. It sounds worse than it is. If you’re not familiar with it – it’s like a glycolic treatment so it has two little canister thingys, each containing 30 saturated little pads. You use one from the “step 1” can, leave it for 2 minutes, then use 1 pad from the second can. It’s $80 at Nordstrom and worth every penny. Also, they say that is a 30 day supply but I think that is just a marketing ploy to get you to come back and buy it once a month! I use it 2-3 times a week and it works miracles.

Too funny, Christine – I was going to recommend the exact same two Mario Badescu products! The MB drying cream smells pretty bad but I swear by it. In the interest of offering an original comment on dealing with acne, I would add that it’s very important that those with oily/acneic skin use moisturizer (oil-free, of course). It sounds counter-intuitive but it helps keep your skin balanced so that it doesn’t start over-producing sebum (oil) in order to get the moisture it needs. I started doing this some years ago and my skin is much better now. The other item that I love is the Murad Acne Treatmenrt concealer. It is the only concealer I have found that actually does help dry up pimples while offering good coverage.

I’m almost used to the scent, LOL!

Yes, yes – I agree on the moisturizer. I hear a lot of people say they don’t use moisturizer because of their oily skin, but it’s so bad not to (exactly for the reasons you stated)!

I use Queen Helene Mint Julep mask when I’m breaking out. I do my whole face 1-2 per week for twenty minutes.
When I have a really big pimple, I use the mask daily for 20 minutes as a spot treatment. It drys pimples out really quickly. It’s also really cheap!

I have had acne since I was 12 and now I am 25 and still deal with it. BELIEVE ME, I have tried EVERYTHING!!! I have taken Accutane 4 different times and still have problems, Proactiv, topical tretments, benzoyl, salicilic acid, etc, etc. What worked best for me (to keep it under control) has been Accutane and birth pills. Yaz is really good. I am now doing chemical peels to improve the appearance of my scars…Lucky the girls that have nice skin!!

I have stuggled with cystic acne for eight years, and I finally have it under control.

1) Diet is so important when it comes to skincare – eat healthy and it will show on your skin. Personally, I have found that cutting out all chocolate has stopped my breakouts. Junk food and foods high in sugars and carbs can also feed bacteria that cause acne.

2)Stay hydrated – drink eight glasses of water a day (tea counts!).

3) Always wash off make up at the end of the day. Use a cleanser with benzoil peroxide or salicylic acid (personally I use one in the morning and the other at night) and a toner to clean and close pores. It is optional to use a cream with benzoil peroxide or salicylic acid, but it helps.

4) always moisturize no matter how oily your skin is. If you feel your skin gets too oily, it may be because your skin does not have enough moisture (ie: dehydration or lack of moisturizer) and produces more oil to compensate.

5) One trick I have found to help soothe acne: Crush up some Aspirin pills and put them in honey and slather on your acne for about 15 minutes. The Aspirin is basically salisylic acid, which soothes redness and irritation and helps clean skin, while honey is a natural astringent.

Great advice!!! I couldn’t agree more…I have had way worse hormonal acne later on in life than in my teens and all of your tips really help.

-Zinc vitamins help counteract inflammation and help skin heal and can stop a cyst in it’s tracks!
-An aspirin mask is a great exfoliator and cheap and definitely helps with hyperpigmentation
-Mandelic acid is both antibacterial and an exfoliant. It’s expensive, but it’s especially good at getting rid of stubborn clogged pores and keeping them clear, evening skin tones, and spot treating most blemishes.

Alpha Beta Daily Face Peel! Hands down. With immediately results, and also improved pore visibility and skin texture all around.

Neutrogena oil free acne wash (the green one), clinique clearing moisturizer, it has benzol peroxide and clean and clear spot treatment.

I had cystic acne from 15 to 22. Proactiv worked at first, but then I moved on to BenzaClin/Tetracycline, and then eventually had to do a 6-month course of Accutane, which totally fixed my acne.

Now I just use a Neutrogena oil-free face cleanser and Purpose moisturizer/sunscreen.

Warning to people considering minocycline: it can cause the medication-induced form of lupus. My doctor never warned me and it took a few month to figure out why I was feeling so achy and fatigued.

I know everyone just wants to find a “miracle” product and for the acne to instantly go away (even me) but you reallly have to be patient. I have tried almost everything on the market with no real sucess so I gave in and went to the demotologist and I am so happy I did I promise its thebest option available. The first visit he recommended me to use a face wash by the brand La Roche Posay (yes it’s french)and Im using the Toleriane- Creme Moussante Purifante (Purifying foam cleanser) for Combination to oily intolerant skin. Its AMAZING! The first time I used it I was hooked (I also got my mom and aunt using it, because its not speciffically for acne but he told me that sometimes the best cleanser for acne is not targeted for acne just get a really good cleanser that really cleans out you poors) After that in the morning I use Aczone cream(perscription) and at night I clean my face then use Epiduo(perscription cream) and take Solodyn (perscription pill). And my skin as improved so much!

Haha this kinda sounds like an advertisement or something but its not Im just basically saying that the best option is probally to see a professional so he can recomend what best for you skin(:

I went to a skin care specialist affiliated with a dermatologist and got a wonderfully simple, inexpensive routine that really cleared up my face! She recommended Purpose cleanser, and gave me the tip that in the evening I should do two washes with it–the first for only about 15 seconds or so, and then next for a full minute.

Then I used a Solvere pad (they contain both BHA and AHA). In the evening, I then just use a gentle green tea moisturizer, and in the morning, I don’t use a separate moisturizer, just Banana Boat Dri-Blok sunscreen. It REALLY cleared up my skin, and is wonderfully simple to maintain!

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