Discover the best acne products to clear skin, reduce hyperpigmentation, fight blackheads, and more.
In a sea of a million skincare products, which ones are really the best acne treatments? It can be expensive, time-consuming, and frustrating trying to figure it out, which is why we’ve rounded up the 33 most effective acne products. This is your go-to guide, covering all the products that we’d recommend for acne-prone skin in a heartbeat.
When selecting products to include on this list, we rely on the advice of expert dermatologists and aestheticians, as well as Teen Vogue staffers who have used these products firsthand. We intentionally narrowed our list to 33 products: It was important for us to keep in mind that part of the problem with finding the best acne treatments is feeling like you have way too many options to choose from. Our list includes solutions for every skincare concern, including blackheads, whiteheads, cystic acne, discolored skins, hormonal acne, and more. Keep scrolling to discover the very best acne products!
All products featured on Teen Vogue are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Best Serum: The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%
There’s nothing like being out having the time of your life and pausing to look in the mirror just to see your face looking shinier than the disco ball on the dance floor. We’re kissing oily skin good bye with The Ordinary Niacinamide. Whether your oily skin promotes breakouts or keeps your pores clogged, this vitamin B3, a holy grail skin care ingredient, and mineral serum is the game changer to your routine. Apply a few drops in the morning and the night to reward your skin. And, it’s less than $20 so you’re saving your coins and helping your skin. Issa winner!
Best Body Lotion: Nécessaire Body Lotion
Get ready to lather up and give your skin the radiant and healthy glow it’s always wanted. Ideal for moisturizing, toning, and strengthening the skin, Nécessaire’s Body Lotion is jam packed with all the best ingredients including antioxidants, Vitamin A, Vitamin B, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Omega-6, and Omega-9. Providing lots of hydration while still soaking in quickly, this fragrance-free product is our new go-to body lotion. It also contains Niacinamide, which is seriously the holy grail when it comes to skincare ingredients, known to help with uneven skin tone, dull skin and repair irritated and damaged skin. Is there anything it can’t do? And, did we mention that it also contains luxe oils but won’t leave an oily residue? It’s simply perfect. Plus, we get enough of its minimal packaging design.
Best Clean Product: Circumference Green Clay Detox Mask
This year, we’re eating our greens and wearing them, too—on our faces. Clay masks can be a hit or miss, with some leaving your skin dry. The French green clay in Circumference’s Green Clay Detox Mask isn’t heavy on your skin and moisturizes your face, while pulling the dirt out of your pores. Read: your face won’t be feel stripped after using it and your complexion will look great. Plus, it’s all natural and full of plant-based botanical oils like blackcurrant seed and evening primose.
Best Acne Treatment Under $30: Corsrx Triple C Lightning Liquid
Lightening at lightning fast speeds! This serum is made from 20.5% pure vitamin C aka your dark spot attacker and acne scar fixer-upper. Radiance might usually come at a price, but this serum balances out the vitamin C with black chokeberry, an antioxidant that stabilizes the vitamin C for extra hydration. Fresh Vitamin C is key so these are practically straight squeezed from an orange and air shipped from Korea.
Best Acne Treatment Under $10: Cosrx Acne Pimple Master Patch
Yes, there are many pimple patches in the beauty game, but Cosrx’s Acne Pimple Master Patch is one of our favorites. Tried and true by 1000+ Amazon and Ulta reviewers combined, it’s safe to say that the number one spot is theirs. Their waterproof patches help protect acne from infection (a pimple popper’s BFF, basically) and help extract impurities overnight. Alas, all hail Cosrx pimple patches!
Best Mask: Higher Education Study Buddy
Sometimes you just want a product that tackles your T-zone and truly delivers. That’s where Higher Education’s Study Buddy Clarifying and Brightening Mask comes into the picture. Don’t worry you don’t actually have to be studying to apply this mask. You can do so while binge-watching your favorite series or while treating yourself to some take out—or both. Simply apply on your T-zone, or all over your face depending on your skin situation, when you’re feeling extra dry, massage it in, and rinse off with lukewarm water. Not only will you see an improvement in your skin (think: brighter and clearer), but you’re also supporting a cruelty-free, vegan brand.
Best for Redness: Jart Re:Pair Tiger grass Serum
This highly concentrated product soothes the skin while also helping with redness and irritation. What is tiger grass you ask? The Asian herbal plant has been used for centuries thanks to its skin healing properties. Plus, customers have claimed this product helps with everything from rosacea to rashes from Lupus and of course, your more basic acne breakouts.
Best Under $20: Differin Oil Absorbing Moisturizer with SPF
Moisturizer! With! Sunscreen! Absorbs! Oil! What else does your face skin need? Finding the perfect moisturizer for oily skin is basically the hunt for the last missing piece in your skincare puzzle. A glowing complexion is the goal here and this moisturizer does the trick without making your face feel greased up.
Best Pillowcase: GoTo Skincare Face Case
A silk pillowcase could very well be the smartest beauty product you ever invest in. Sounds crazy, I know. But this 100% Mulberry silk pillowcase avoids the friction a cotton pillowcase can cause between your skin and the pillow (who knew?!). This means it prevents sleep creases that can eventually turn into permanent wrinkles (ah!). AND will not absorb your skin’s moisture or whatever cream you apply before bed. Did we mention it’s hypoallergenic?
Best Product for Hormonal Acne: HUM Moody Bird
Hormonal acne, which is due to fluctuations in our hormones, is one of those things that many people think you can’t stop from happening, but it’s actually preventable. Most dermatologists recommend taking up birth control or getting on isotretinoin, which are shoe-in methods that are, more or less, guaranteed to work. For those of us who aren’t on birth control or a prescription acne treatment, we tried Hum’s Moody Bird with contains a natural ingredient called chasteberry which claims to help balance your hormones. While you should definitely consult your doctor before taking any sort of supplements, we liked it, and saw a decrease in hormonal breakouts. Though, dermatologist Shari Marchbein says this would be a more “holistic approach” to treating acne as “there isn’t enough good evidence to recommend chasteberry for acne” and as a caution “this supplement may decrease the efficacy of birth control pills/increase the chance of pregnancy.”
Best for Sensitive Skin: First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser
It can be hard to find a acne cleanser that isn’t drying, or worse is way too strong for your sensitive skin, causing even more breakouts. Well, bless aloe vera, that’s all. That’s the review. No, but really. With its aloe leaf extract, First Aid Beauty’s Pure Skin Face Cleanser gently cools your face while cleansing.
Best for Oily Skin: Manyo Pure Cleansing Oil, Oily Skin
Oil as a face cleanser is super weird. We approached the product with the same amount of skepticism as we approached oil pulling for dental hygiene. As unintuitive as it may feel, oil does fight oil in this case. Obviously over-drying won’t be a concern here, the cleansing oil also targets grime and build-up.
Best Color Corrector: Urban Decay Cosmetics Naked Skin Color Correcting Fluid
Bid adieu to your dark spots and redness with Urban Decay’s Naked Skin Color Correcting Fluid. Its liquid formula is lightweight and easy to blend. So no need to worry about looking too cakey. Plus, it also contains vitamin C and E to condition and protect. Who doesn’t love a good double duty product?
Best Body Wash: Murad Acne Body Wash
When you deal with body acne, particularly bacne, it can be challenging to figure out how to stay clean while also care for your skin. Luckily, we’ve found the perfect antidote: Murad’s Acne Body Wash. For $44, this gentle exfoliator is ideal for oily and combination skin, with a refreshing formula that treats and prevents body breakouts on not only the back, but also the chest and shoulders. Plus, this product doesn’t dry out the skin while salicylic acid helps to clear active breakouts and prevent new ones from forming. Did we mention it has biodegradable beads (yay planet earth!) and contains green tea and licorice root extracts that calm irritated skin? It’s a winner in our book and worth every penny.
Bamboo and charcoal is known for their purifying qualities, so what is it doing in our toner? Absorbing all of the oil in our skin, of course! It’s like purifying your face instead of the air. When used in conjunction with African black soap (which some research suggests may help various skin conditions), it clarifies blemish-prone skin. It’s a gentle extra lil cleanse for after your heavy-duty cleanser.
If you are someone like me who has spent hours on YouTube looking for the best natural acne treatments, then you know that pumpkin is a common ingredient that people try in at-home face masks because the beta-carotene-rich vegetables convert into Vitamin A, which is where retinoids come from. But instead of slathering pumpkin on my face, I use this three times a week and see amazing results, but definitely start slow and see what suits your skin. It’s a self warming mask and scrub ((that’s also vegan and paraben-free), so I like to put it on before I get in the shower and massage for 30 seconds then let it soak in with the steam. Once you wash it off, you can visibly see the appearance of your pores minimized and skin tone evened out over time. No you cannot ‘shrink’ your pores, but this does make a huge difference in hyperpigmentation and in getting rid of bacteria and congestion that cause those huge, under the skin, painful pimples. – Lindsay Peoples Wagner, Teen Vogue Editor-in-Chief
This product is the holy grail of facial oils. First off, it’s 100% organic. It works for all skin types, and it costs less than $20. It’s also vegan, cruelty-free, cold-pressed, and formulated without water, alcohol, silicone, fragrance, or nuts. Rose Hip Oil is another holy grail skin care product that does a multitude of things. From it’s anti-inflammatory properties to being a great alternative to retinol, it’s basically pure magic and could very well be the salve to all of your (skincare) problems!
Best Foundation: Tarte Face Tape Foundation
After last year’s Shape Tape foundation controversy had customers criticizing Tarte for its lack of diversity in shade ranges, the brand really stepped up its game and introduced a new foundation, Face Tape. Now, it checks off all the boxes, including shade range. There are 50 shades with five undertones. It’s also hypoallergenic and delivers full coverage. Take note though: A little goes a long way.
One of the best skin care tips we’ve read was from Frank Ocean’s mom, she said: “don’t let guys put their dirty hands on your face.” But, now we’re thinking maybe we shouldn’t either? Our hands are full of bacteria, and picking at our face with them can even make our acne worse. But, pores and blemishes don’t stand a chance with Clarisonic’s Mia Smart 3-in-1 beauty device — emphasis in the word, smart. Washing your face with your hands will become a thing of the past thanks to technology. This waterproof device is way more meticulous at cleansing your skin than your dirty little hands, even removing long-wear makeup. Start with a wet face or brush to cleanse your face one or two times per day, and voila!
Best for Blackheads: Cosrx BHA Blackhead Power Liquid
Raise your hand if you’ve personally victimized by blackheads? Raises hands in unison. If we could banish blackheads by simply saying blackheads be gone three times in the mirror that would be ideal. However, realistically, we get rid of them with Cosrx BHA Blackhead Power Liquid. This anti-acne treatment eliminates and prevents pore blockages, thanks to its base of white willow bark water, which is a natural derivative of salicylic acid.
Best for Spot Treatment, Reader’s Choice: Mario Badescu Drying Lotion
I first found out about Mario Badescu’s products when my skincare obsessed friend decided to ditch me and move across the country to Los Angeles. Lucky for me, she decided to leave some of her precious beauty products behind including this drying lotion, which is a fast acting acne spot treatment. No matter what skin type you have we recommend putting it on a pesky blemish before bed and letting the product work its magic while you get your beauty sleep. Don’t be surprised to wake up in the morning refreshed and whitehead free!
Best Sheet Mask: When Bio-Cellulose Sheet Mask
Do you ever wear a sheet mask and wonder to yourself is this even working? Same. And oftentimes my answer is no. This mask is made for really dehydrated skin. It’s infused with coconut juice for a tropical vibe, even if you’re not headed anywhere tropical. Don’t worry, we also felt a strong urge to take a bite out of it, when we first saw the jelly-like texture of the mask.
Best for Dry Skin, Reader’s Choice: Curology
Custom skincare seems like a luxury reserved for those who also have their lipstick expertly matched to their outfits. But everyone’s skin is unique, the reactions to ingredients differ, and it takes a lot of testing to find the right product. Save yourself some time and energy, and let someone else do the work for you. Tag yourself, we’re the dramatic wooshing sound as this personalized skincare swoops in to inject some power into your routine.
Best for Hyperpigmentation (aka Dark Spots): Allies of Skin Mandelic Pigmentation Corrector Night Serum
Dark spots can really ruin the mood. When you think you finally got rid of a pimple, but a ha it actually turns into a dark spot. Or, even when you think you’ve beat your face to the gods, and a ha a dark spot and you don’t have the right concealer. It sucks because you never know when their coming, literally the adult version of the boogeyman. Thanks to science, there are some ingredients that can help, like this serum from Allies of Skin. We admit $92 is a steep price, but when getting rid of those pesky dark spots, sometimes investment is key. This serum contains all of the acids: mandelic, lactic and salicylic Acid, which all help with pigmentation and uneven tone by brightening the skin. There’s also hyaluronic acid and niacinamide which helps to moisturize and soothe the skin, because too many acids can really be too much.
Best Exfoliant: The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution
Exfoliating your skin can be a scary feeling sometimes with the tingling sensation, but what’s the saying? Beauty is pain. And, it should also be affordable. The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution does give your skin a tingling sensation, so we wouldn’t recommend for sensitive skin but it’s not unbearable, and it’s also under $10. There’s nothing quite ordinary about this peel. The berry-colored liquid facial exfoliates your skin while simultaneously exfoliating your pores to reduce congestion. Use this twice a week for an increase in vibrant and radiant skin and also to decrease any blemishes or acne scars you may be struggling to get rid of.
Best Splurge: Joanna Vargas Dawn Mask
We’ve decided to make this cateogory all about: things you probably shouldn’t spend a ton of money on, but this product changed my mind. That’s exactly what Joanna Vargas’ Dawn Mask did to us, because we don’t really need to be spending $75 on sheet masks. But, everything about this sheet mask is luxury, from the packaging to the person behind the brand (Joanna Vargas is a celebrity facialist who has worked with everyone from Jessica Alba to Karlie Kloss). Plus it exfoliates (mandelic acid), brightens (vitamin C) and soothes (chamomilla recutita extract), now that’s what we call a 3-for-1.
Best Spot Treatment: Beautycounter Countercontrol SOS Acne Spot Treatment
Finding the right spot treatment is kind of like finding the right partner. You have to go through lots of duds before finding the one. While we can’t help you solve your love life woes (try therapy!), we can save you money and time by sharing some good news: after countless hours of testing products, we’ve found the number one spot treatment and it’s about to change your life in a very big way. Beautycounter’s Countercontrol SOS Acne Spot Treatment is an all-natural product that contains wintergreen and rosebay willow (natural sources of salicylic acid), zinc (helps blemishes to heal) and allantoin (helps maintain hydration) that resolves blemishes quickly and doesn’t dry out the skin too much. You’re welcome.
Best for Whiteheads: Rodan + Fields Spotless Acne Clearing Treatment
We love it when you one, two step, Rodan+Fields. This acne treatment reimagines poster acne chemical: benzoyl peroxide. But instead of drying and irritating skin while fighting off acne, this treatment goes deep into pores to unclog. It’ll leave your face feeling spotless like the way you wish your apartment would stay after time spent cleaning it. No more inflamed skin necessary.
Best Body Scrub: First Aid Beauty KP Bump Eraser Body Scrub with 10% AHA
100% of Sephora customers gave this product five stars, and Sephora’s customers, like ourselves, take our acne products seriously so you know that they mean serious business. While many people like this product for its ability to appease keratosis pilaris (KP) — an issue I just realized I have — and remove dead skin cells, it is best for anyone with normal, dry and combination skin types, exfoliating the skin and leaving it looking brighter and smoother.
Best Sunscreen: Coola Organic SPF 30 Full Spectrum 360° Sun Silk Drops
One of the most important steps to preventing skin blemishes is wearing sunscreen, daily. Did you know that blue light rays from your phone and computer can actually accelerate your skin’s aging process? Protecting your skin against digital overexposure is just as important as protecting it from the sun. But don’t worry, we tried and tested a sunscreen that we firmly believe is the very best out there: Coola Sun Silk Drops. It’s the ideal sunscreen because it combats both (and environmental toxins, too!). With broad spectrum SPF 30, this light-as-air formula has a pretty blossom scent, and is perfect for regular daily wear from the office at your summer internship all the way to the beach. Plus, it’s good for all skin types.
Best Cleanser: M-61 PowerSpot Cleanse
When your cleanser is a goopy slime green, it can be trusted to do some work on your skin. Sulfur is a main ingredient in this cleanser; it reduces and prevents pesky blemishes, while the tea tree leaf oil helps to keep overactive skin under control. It’s not easy carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders which is what this cleanser does by simultaneously washing away make-up and dirt while deeply cleaning pores, treating blemishes, and preventing new blemishes. It’s proof that you really can have it all sometimes.
Best Moisturizer, Reader’s Choice: Cetaphil Daily Facial Hydrating Lotion
My mom has sworn by Cetaphil products since she was a teen, so naturally when I became a teen, she bought me some of the brand’s famous cleanser. While I’ve moved onto other facial cleansing products, I still can’t get enough of Cetaphil’s Daily Facial Hydrating Lotion. Why? It’s a lightweight formula that still gives your face intense hydration. Plus, it’s fragrance free and doesn’t clog your pores or irritate your skin.
Best Cystic Acne Treatment: Mario Badescu Buffering Lotion
Rounding out our list of the best acne treatments is this miracle lotion. Cystic acne can be tricky not-so-little fellows and sometimes splattering too many products on them can backfire and make your already sensitive skin, even more so. Luckily, the gentle ingredients in Mario Badescu’s Buffering Lotion help get your skin back to normal and quickly helps reduce the appearance of bumps overnight. Pro tip: it works even better when you pair it Mario Badescu’s Drying Mask.
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