Acne is a bitch. And many people find that they are getting it as adults even if they never had it as teens. If so, you may know nothing about it or how to go about treating it. I have a few answers for you but first lets briefly go over anti-acne ingredients.
Salicylic acid exfoliates the surface of the skin and delves deep into the pore to root out dirt and oil, while glycolic acid just exfoliates the surface to keep it clean and clear.
Sulfur dries out the oil and congestion as does benzoyl peroxide. Some people find bp too harsh (hello Proactive) and some people are allergic to the sulfur. You may need to experiment with different formulas to see what is right for you, but here is what I like.....
A fave clinical brand that has some terrific answers to acne is Peter Thomas Roth** I recommend trying:
Peter Thomas Roth Anti-Aging Cleansing Gel is of course good for anti-aging but the secret is that it has both salicylic acid AND glycolic acid so is perfect for acneic skin. PTR has a straight salicylic face wash and a straight glycolic face wash but this combo one is the most potent of the bunch. People absolutely love it.
For people who have both wrinkles and breakouts the best solution is retinol. Getting a prescription is the least expensive way to go (if your insurance plan is a good one), but if you don't want to jump in whole hog to extra strength, there are some terrific over the counter retinol solutions out there. Peter Thomas Roth Retinol Fusion PM is a strong retinol serum with vitamins C and E and moisture that eradicates the redness that retinol can cause. A blend of ingredients is often the best way to go. The only thing about retinol is that you must must must be diligent about using sunscreen otherwise you will get bad sun damage.
Winding up your routine with Peter Thomas Roth Ultra-Lite Oil-Free Moisturizer is the final but crucial step. Even though you have jumped hurdles to clear up your skin, you still need to hydrate it. Skin that is over stripped will only produce more oil to over-compensate. Of course an oil free formula is the best way to go because it won't clog your pores. This particular moisturizer is good because it is an almost gel-like consistency. It is always a best seller.
And a "must have" to add to your regular routine is Peter Thomas Roth Therapeutic Sulfur Masque Acne Treatment Masque. Use it twice a week as a full mask or use it as a spot treatment to dab on specific pimples. I guarantee results with this one.
A side note about a couple other brands:
For teens or sensitive skin, gentle but effective starter kits are a great idea.
Dermalogica Breakout Clearing Kit. A professional brand, it includes a foaming face wash, toner, treatment oil, daytime (with spf) and night time moisturizer. It gets rave reviews.
Boscia Clear Complexion Kit is a natural brand that includes a cleanser, tonic, treatment, moisturizer, and green tea blotting papers. If you do find this one too strong skip the treatment step.
If I had acne I would want to try: Neutrogena Rapid Clear Stubborn Acne Cleanser. It does have benzoyl peroxide in it but some beauty bloggers swear by it and say it doesn't dry them out. Plus it's inexpensive!
Hopefully one or all of these will work for you.
** NEW! Peter Thomas Roth Acne-Clear Invisible Dots spot treatment with tea tree (an essential oil that kills bacteria) and salicylic acid. They are so new I haven't tried them yet but they sounds awesome and worth giving a try.
Pics stolen from the links' websites.
all products reviewed were either bought, researched, or sampled by me. I am not financially compensated for my reviews