Our 4 Favorite Acne-Reducing Formulas

June 22, 2017
Jessie Quinn
By: Jessie Quinn | skincare.com by L'Oréal
Our 4 Favorite Acne-Reducing Formulas

Affecting an estimated 80 percent of all people between the ages of 11 and 30 at some point in their lives, it’s no wonder acne awareness has an entire month dedicated to it. In the skin care world, June is Acne Awareness Month, and in honor of that we’re sharing some fast facts about the most common skin condition in the United States—and some of our favorite acne-reducing products to add to your routine! If you’re interested in learning more about acne, keep reading!

If we were to place a bet on what skin care woe is the most frustrating to deal with, we’d put all of our money on acne…every single time. For some of us, especially those with blemish-prone skin, the battle of acne is a complicated one filled with three things: resistance—resisting the need to pick, that is; vulnerability—there’s something about pimples that make us feel so exposed; and, bittersweet victory—sure that pimple is gone, but we know another blemish is right around the corner.

Acne 101: A Blemish Breakdown

Even though breakouts can make you feel alone, know that you aren’t. According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), acne is the most common skin condition in the United States—in fact it affects more than 50 million Americans annually. The chronic inflammatory skin condition can appear in a number of ways including:

  • Whiteheads: pimples that stay under the skin’s surface and appear as white, puss-filled dots on our complexion
  • Blackheads: blemishes that rise to the surface of the skin and appear as a black or brown clogged pore due to oxidation
  • Papules: small pink bumps on the skin’s surface
  • Pustules: a blemish that appears as red at the surface and white on top
  • Nodules: large, painful pimples under the skin
  • Cysts: deep, painful blemishes that are known to cause scarring

Any of the above breakouts can appear on the face, neck, shoulders, chest, back, and even the upper arms.  What causes these blemishes to pop up on our skin varies. It’s believed everything from genetics to hormones to stress can bring on breakouts according to the AAD. But, regardless of the underlying cause of your acne, the path to a pimple remains the same. 

Our skin is covered in sebaceous glands that product oil—or sebum—a naturally hydrating substance. When something like hormonal fluctuations occur—hello puberty!—these glands can become overactive and produce an excess of oil. If not properly addressed, this excess oil can combine with dead skin cells and other impurities and clog pores. When the pore is plugged and bacteria gets inside this clogged pore it can multiply quickly, causing a blemish to ensue.

This is why it’s key to practice a good skin care routine, to minimize the chances of excess oils, built-up dead skin cells, and lingering bacteria on the skin’s surface.


Now that we know what causes acne, let’s discuss how to deal with it. In addition to using acne-fighting formulas (some of our favorites are shared below!), there are many different things you can do on the regular to ensure that your skin is on the right path.  

1. Wash Your Face Twice a Day and After Sweating: Whether you have skin that is prone to breakouts, or not, washing your face twice a day and after sweating (read: after an intense workout) can help keep blemish-causing grime off your complexion. If blemishes are a reoccurring problem consider a face wash formulated with a known acne-fighting ingredient like salicylic acid.

2. Cleanse Your Hands Before You Wash: Washing your face with dirt-ridden hands defeats the purpose—so, before you cleanse your face, wash those hands.

3. Be Gentle: According to the AAD, using products that irritate your skin (think: astringents, toners, and exfoliants formulated with alcohol) can make your acne appear worse than it actually is.

4. Wash Your Pillowcases Regularly: Think your pillowcase doesn’t have anything to do with your breakouts? Think again! We recommend tossing your pillowcase in the wash regularly to avoid any pillow-related breakouts.

5. Don’t Touch Your Face: Whether you’re experiencing a bout of acne or not, you should try and keep your hands away from your face as much as possible. Our hands come in contact with a lot of dirt and grime throughout the day and the last thing you want to do is transfer these germs to your complexion.

6. Consult Your Dermatologist: If your acne continues to be a problem, we recommend scheduling an appointment with your dermatologist. A trained professional can help you come up with the right plan of action for you and your skin.

570 4 Acne-Reducing Formulas 


Blemishes may be the worst, but thankfully the products below are the best—at least in our humble opinion—to help you address them head on!


When it comes to washing acne-prone skin, we like to reach for deep cleansing formulas that can help to rid the skin’s surface of pore-clogging dirt and debris. One of our faves? Vichy’s Normaderm Gel Cleanser. Specifically formulated with oily and blemish-prone skin in mind, this drugstore face wash is formulated with a blend of salicylic acid, glycolic acid, and LHA it gently exfoliates and purifies skin.

Vichy Normaderm Gel Cleanser, $18 MSRP

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Dermatological Acne System

This 3-step system includes a Medicated Gel Cleanser, a Clarifying Solution, and a Dual-Action Acne Treatment to help to tackle your blemishes head on. effective on blemishes, blackheads, and whiteheads, this oil-free, non-comedogenic system is even suitable for sensistive skin. With visible results starting from day one, it’s no wonder it’s one of our favorites!

Learn more about the Effaclar Dermatological Acne System here. 

Kiehl’s Breakout Control Targeted Acne Spot Treatment

When it comes to acne-fighting ingredients, salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide tend to get all the glory. But, as it turns out there’s another blemish-fighter for targeting acne: sulfur. This Sulfur Acne Treatment is clinically demonstrated* to rapidly reduce the appearance of acne blemishes.

*Tested in a clinical study.

Kiehl’s Breakout Control Targeted Acne Spot Treatment, $28 MSRP

SkinCeuticals Blemish + Age Defense

Formulated with a blend of salicylic acid, dioic acid, LHA, glycolic acid, and citric acid, this serum helps to address adult acne blemishes and the signs of skin aging.

SkinCeuticals Blemish + Age Defense, $90 MSRP


Read more

Back to top