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How to Clear Acne Fast and Cost-Effectively

Updated on October 5, 2015


Acne can scar your face and your social life. It seems that a new pimple arises at the most inopportune time- whether it be prom, a first date, a job interview, a night out, or on picture day. The unsightly appearance of acne not only ruins your mood every time you look in the mirror, but also constantly reminds you of its existence with pangs of pain throughout the day. Not many people (those lucky with clear skin) realize that acne can be very painful when it erupts and when it lingers around on your face. And contrary to belief, zits do not usually heal in a day or two. Instead, most stubbornly linger around for days on end and along with the use of harsh chemicals and facial agents to tackle the problem, our skin further delays in healing.

In most cases, these harsh cleansers and scrubs only cause more dryness, redness and peeling. As most of you have noticed, the sight of one zit more likely means the occurrence of another and then another. The cycle seems to never stop.

We have all tried nearly every product over the counter. A good majority of you have tried prescription acne medications as well. What seems to work the best? This post will help you narrow down what your skin needs and where to buy these products. It's time to take over your skin and say goodbye to unwanted acne!

Personal Experience

I have experienced stubborn and painful acne for years on end. I tried everything... from every over-the-counter medications to Proactive to prescribed medications such as Accutane. Accutane was the most harsh drug I have ever taken and would not recommend it to anyone. Just like all OTC and prescribed medications, accutane causes a terrible breakout initially and then in my case, never really cleared my skin. I was on a 12 week course with significant dryness (mouth, eyes and skin). It was not fun.

I have found a healthier, relatively nontoxic way to clear my skin and I would like to share it with you. Please read below.

Acne Products

There are 5 main products that I've found that my skin needs to stay clear:

1. Foam face wash - preferably with Benzoyl Peroxide

2. Scrubbing/ Abrasive face wash- like an Apricrot Scub

3. Moisturizing Agent- any lotion

4. Acne Cream- Sulfur or Benzoyl Peroxide agent

5. Minty toothpaste-- Aim works well for spot treatment

Additional treatment options: Neutrogenia Microdermabrasion treatment and Zap Acne treatment


Foaming Face Wash

A foaming face cleanser will get into your pores and express the dirt and bacteria. The foamier the better! An excellent product I recommend is: PanOxyl Foaming Face Wash. PanOxyl comes in a stand-up tube that costs about $10 at Walmart. (It is even cheaper on PanOxyl comes in a dark blue and white box and is always on the bottom shelf (almost like its being hidden from its less effective competitors).

PanOxyl contains a mild form of Benzoyl Peroxide. Before you say that your face is too sensitive for benzyl peroxide, please read further. I would have said the same but thankfully I tried it and it isn't harsh at all -- especially if a moisturizer is applied after.

Make sure to use a small pea size quantity each time and lather it up. Remember: small quantities and lather, lather, lather! It will feel very velvety on your face. Do try not to get it into your eyes. Also take note that this product will bleach your towel. Stick to white towels!

Apricot Scrub

Some of you may want to use Apricot scrub and PanOxyl on alternate days. I like to use Apricot Scrub in the morning shower and PanOxyl before I go to bed ( I only wash my face 2 times a day). It is important not to wash your face too many times because that will further aggravate your skin.

Apricot Scrub does come generic at most drug stores. The name brand product by St. Ives sells for less than $4 at Walmart. Since it is often difficult to rinse off completely, it may be easier to use just in the shower. Feel free to use this product on your chest, back, or any other acne-prone areas. Apricot Scrub does feel rough to the skin and will be most effective in clearing white-heads and black-heads. Try not to scrub too hard initially and it's best if applied gently in circular motions.

Moisturizer -- do not skip this step!!

This step is key! I know you must think that lotion will only block your pores and make your skin more oily and greasy. Quite the contrary! A good moisturizer (Aveeno, Jergens, or any otc lotion minus vaseline) will quiet the skin and soothe the skin.

Dry, flaky skin will actually get trapped in your pores for bacteria to feed on. So don't let your skin get dry! Plus, it feels great to moisturize.

Acne- Fighting Cream Agent

This last step is optional. I like to apply an acne fighting cream before bedtime. I alternate nightly between a sulfur cream and a benzyl peroxide cream. Clearasil makes both creams in a 0.5oz tube that cost between $5 to $10 and last for several months. Applying small quantities is sufficient.

Please keep in mind that all sulfur creams do have a bad odor and make sure not to use if you have sulfa allergies (do a spot treatment first). Also, keep in mind that all benzyl peroxide products will bleach your towels and pillow cases. Stick to white towels and pillow cases!

Minty Toothpaste

You may be wondering where the toothpaste comes into play. Minty toothpaste like Aim helps with spot treatment. The minute you feel a zit coming up (especially cystic acne), rub in a small amount of Aim onto the zit. Aim will significantly reduce the size of the cyst and may even make it nonexistent overnight. I do not lie about this trick!

Neutrogena Microdermabrasion System

I recently purchased the Neutrogena Microdermabrasion System that was recommended by Dr. Oz. I have to say, I am very impressed! My skin is smoother and so silky soft. I'm looking forward to seeing how it helps to maintain clear skin.

This product comes with replacement foam pads so there is no worry about bacteria growth. At an affordable price of $15.99, it's definitely worth a try.

I recently reviewed this product on another hubpage link.


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