If you suffer from acne, finding something to make it look and feel better can be a challenge, especially if you don’t want to go and get a prescription from your doctor. It can be difficult to find the right products to treat your acne at a drugstore, primarily because it’s hard to judge whether they’ll be effective, whether they’ll be ok for your skin type and whether they’re worth the money. While some over the counter products aren’t great, there are many that are highly effective and which can help to improve your problem skin.
Best Drugstore Acne Products
1. Humane Benzoyl Peroxide
This product contains 10% maximum benzoyl peroxide and so it isn’t ideal for anyone who has sensitive skin, however it is highly effective for those who have skin that can tolerate it. Simple to use, this non-foaming lotion is rapidly absorbed and kills the bacteria that causes breakouts.
- Non foaming for rapid absorption
- Cruelty free product with no animal products
- Contains no harmful chemicals such as SLS, fragrances or parabens
- Made in an FDA/cGMP complaint USA facility
- Clears up any existing whiteheads, pimples, blackheads and blemishes preventing fresh ones from appearing
- Can be used by either adults or teenagers
How To Use
Simply apply a thin, even layer onto damp skin and massage gently into the affected area. Leave for 3 to 5 minutes then rinse off thoroughly before applying oil-free moisturizer. Use once or twice daily.
2. Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser
This popular cleanser is one of the best drugstore acne treatment products on the market today. Made by a well known American company, Cetaphil has won countless awards both nationally and internationally and this is the brand’s flagship product.
- Cleanses the face to leave it glowing and soft
- Gentle enough for all skin types
- Doesn’t strip natural protective oils from the face
- Can be used in several ways for extra convenience.
How To Use
Use either without or with water. Simply apply to the face, massage and then remove any excess with a dry wash cloth leaving a thin film on top of the face.
3. Aveeno Clear Complexion Facial Cleanser
This foaming cleanser can help to prevent breakouts thanks to its total soy complex which is rich in moisture. Non-comedogenic and free of oils, this product improves skin texture and tone.
- Foaming cleanser
- Prevents breakouts
- Contains Total Soy complex which is rich in moisture
- Contains salicylic acid to treat and combat acne
- Free of oils
- Improves skin texture and tone
- Gentle for everyday use
How To Use
Simply apply to the face with water. Allow to foam. Rinse off with warm water and pat the face dry.
4. Neutrogena Complete Acne System
This acne kit is a complete system for improving your problem skin. Made up of 3 components – an SPF oil-free lotion, a lotion to control acne and a skin polishing acne cleanser, this system must be used in a prescribed method for best results.
- Contains salicylic acid to unclog the pores and exfoliate the skin
- Contains benzoyl peroxide to eliminate the bacteria which causes acne and reduce the size of spots and inflammation
- Contains botanical ingredients to soothe the skin naturally
How To Use
First, cleanse the face using the Skin Polishing Acne Cleanser every morning. Apply to wet face, massage in gently and then rinse off with warm water. After cleaning the face, apply the oil free SPF 15 lotion when going outdoors to protect from pigmentation, dryness and sunburn. In the evening, repeat the use of the skin polishing acne cleanser. Before bed, apply the acne control lotion onto the face as this will help to prevent any future breakouts during the night. Rinse your face clean in the morning.
5. Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Face Wash
This face wash cleans the skin, helping to guard against further breakouts. Possibly the best drugstore face wash for combination skin, it contains salicylic acid and skin conditioners to unclog the pores and treat acne before it can emerge.
- Cleans the face effectively to prevent more breakouts
- Contains salicylic acid and conditions
- Uses Microclear technology which boosts the medicine delivery
- Unclogs the pores
- Treats acne before it can emerge
- Oil-free formula for clearer skin
- Residue-free results
- Non comedogenic
- Removes 93% of the surface oil on the skin
How To Use
Cleanse the face using this product twice daily by applying to the hands, adding water and working into a lather before massaging it gently onto the face. Rinse off thoroughly.
6. Clean & Clear Persa-Gel 10
This medication gel helps to improve the appearance of skin by releasing benzoyl peroxide deeply into the pores. It works fast to target the source of pimples and to prevent more blemishes from appearing.
- 10% benzoyl peroxide contents for maximum power to combat acne
- Works quickly to target the source of blemishes and to prevent more spots from forming
- Keeps the skin looking clear with regular use
7. Bye Bye Blemish
This effective formula has many satisfied users and is gentle enough to use on all skin types.
- Non-irritating and gentle
- Simple to use
- Effective in eradicating acne
- Can be used for people of all ages
- Suitable for all skin types
- Contains zinc oxide and sulfur for an effective treatment
How To Use
Wash your face with a moisturizing soap. Dip a cotton sterile swab into the pink sediment and apply to pimples individually. Leave overnight. Apply once per day.
8. Yes To Tomatoes 3-Step Acne Fighting Regimen
This drugstore acne scar treatment uses a mix of ginger, bisabolol, salicylic acid and tomatoes to produce an effective scrub to treat mild acne.
- Removes whiteheads and blackheads
- Ginger and Bisabolol help to reduce irritation and inflammation
- Tomatoes help to resist excess production of sebum and unclogs pores
- Salicylic acid fights clogged pores to repel whiteheads and blackheads
How To Use
Dampen your face using warm water then apply some scrub to your palms and apply onto the face. Massage into the skin gently then rinse off. Use once or twice per day.
9. Alba Botanica ACNEdote Scrub
This body and face scrub has maximum power to fight acne thanks to its 2% salicylic acid content. It is free from harmful chemicals and fragrances for a safer solution for your skin.
- Can be used on the face and body
- Contains 2% salicylic acid and willow bark extract for maximum strength
- Ground walnut shells in the scrub washes away free radicals which clog pores
- Free from phthalates, sulfates, parabens, petrochemicals, fragrances and artificial colors
- 100% vegetarian
10. Clearasil Facial Cleansing Pads
This fast and convenient way to treat acne is effective and simple to use.
- Contains 2% salicylic acid for maximum strength and effectiveness
- Eliminates whiteheads and blackheads
- Reduces the size of pimples quickly
How To Use
Use every evening and morning, wiping the pad gently over your neck and face, but avoiding the area around the eyes. Leave to dry then rinse off. Wash your hands and replace the lid tightly following use.
11. E.l.f. Zit Zapper
Small yet perfectly performed, this handy roll-on treatment is simple to use and is very popular with users. Many people think it is the best over the counter acne product available.
- Very affordable
- Clear and colorless, it can be carried around easily
- Leaves no residue on your skin
- Contains salicylic acid to prevent clogging of pores
- Contains witch hazel, camphor and tea tree oil to prevent and fight acne, minimize swelling and redness and provide clearer appearance
How To Use
Thoroughly cleanse your face then apply a thin layer of the roll-on serum over all affected areas a couple of times per day.
How To Determine Your Skin Type?
The key step in learning to care for acne prone skin is working out which skin type you have. If you use a product that is inappropriate for your skin type, it could cause more problems, so finding out your skin’s unique needs is vital in balancing your skin so you can have a more radiant and healthier complexion. There are a few ways to find out whether you have dry, oily or normal/combination skin. Here are two of the most popular:
- Bare face method – clean your face well using a mild cleanser. Pat your face dry. Leave it bare with no extra treatments, serums or moisturizers for 30 minutes then examine your forehead, nose, chin and cheeks to see if there is any shininess. After 30 minutes more, assess whether your skin feels dry if you move your face or smile. If your skin is feeling tight, you probably have dry skin. If there is any shine on your forehead or nose, you probably have combination skin, and if your cheeks are shiny too, your skin is probably oil.
- The Blotting Method – this fast method involves patting a piece of blotting paper gently onto the various parts of your face and then looking at the paper in the light to see if you can see visible oil. If there is no oil, or only a small amount, your skin is probably dry. If there is a little from your nose and forehead, you probably have combination/normal skin. If the paper is full of oil, you have oily skin.
Finding the right products to treat your acne in your local drugstore doesn’t need to be a challenge if you read these reviews and work out which skin type you have so that you can choose a product that will balance your skin. We’ve given you some of the best drugstore acne products there are on the market today. Keep in mind that good quality acne treatments don’t need to be expensive, and there are many affordable options available over the counter that will reduce the appearance of your blemishes and make your face look and feel healthier.