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Drug-Store Products to Help Get Rid of Acne

Updated on February 17, 2015

Skincare Products


What is Acne?

Acne is a condition that effects the skin's oil glands. When your pores get clogged with oil, a small bump forms on the skin, which is called a pimple.

The cause of acne is currently unknown, however many doctors have come up with certain factors that may cause it:

  • Heredity
  • Greasy makeup
  • Some medicines
  • Hormone increase in teen years
  • Hormone changes during pregnancy
  • Starting or stopping birth control

There are also different kinds of pimples:

  • Whitehead- a pimple that stays under the surface of the skin
  • Blackhead- a black-looking pimple that rises to the surface of the skin
  • Papule- a small pink bump that can be tender
  • Pustule- a pimple that is red at the bottom and has pus at the top
  • Nodule- a large, painful, and solid pimple that is deep in the skin
  • Cyst- a deep, painful, pus-filled pimple that usually causes scarring

What To Look For

Whether you have dry, oily, or normal skin, or you have severe or mild acne, there are three things that everybody should look for in an acne product.

An ideal acne product has the ability to:

  1. Heal acne
  2. Stop pimples from forming
  3. Prevent and reduce scarring

How to Wash Your Face

A key step into treating acne is to know how to wash your face. Here are some tips to ensure that you are washing your face correctly:

  • Do not wash your face more than twice a day, as it can cause irritation and dry your skin out. It is best if you wash your face once in the morning and once in the evening.
  • It is preferred to only use your bare hands to wash your face, instead of using rough washcloths or hand-held cleansing devices because that can irritate and make your acne red.
  • There is no need to scrub; dirt does not cause acne and washing your face itself does not clear breakouts. Harshly scrubbing can irritate your skin as well.
  • Use a towel to pat your face dry, not rub. Again, being harsh with your skin can irritate it.

Knowing Product Functions

As you may have noticed, there are many different types of skincare products, ranging from simple cleansers to fancy scrubs or creams. An important step to getting rid of acne is to know the different types of products and their functions. Here are three main types of products that I talk about in this article:

  • Cleansers- removes oil and dirt from the pores and surface of your skin. Normally a more liquidy consistency compared to scrubs.
  • Scrubs- exfoliates; removes dead skin cells and cleans deeper than a cleanser, however if used too often it can be very irritating or drying. Scrubs are grainy and generally are pretty thick.
  • Creams- something to be left on the affected skin for several hours or overnight; helps reduce redness and pimple size

Active Ingredients

When searching for a product, there are usually two main active ingredients that are in acne products (you can locate the ingredients by looking at the back label of the product):

  1. Salicylic Acid- exfoliates and removes dead skin cells; this type of ingredient is used best for oily skin and to help get rid of blackheads, but is still very good on regular pimples. One thing that isn't the best with this is that it can dry your skin out, so if you do decide to get a product with salicylic acid in it, make sure that there is no more than 2% of the ingredient in the product.
  2. Benzoyl Peroxide- gets inside the pore and kills the bacteria causing acne. This product can also be drying, but you can use it in a higher concentration, anywhere from 2% to even 10%. Benzoyl peroxide has seemed to work better with my skin, however what works on your skin could be very different from what works on mine.

Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash, Redness Soothing Facial Cleanser

Product Type: Cleanser

Active Ingredients: Salicylic Acid 2%

This product had by-far been the most effective cleanser for my skin. I normally have really red skin after I wash my face, however this, while not completely fixing the problem, greatly reduced how red my face was after using it. After using this product for about two months, my acne had cleared and almost was nonexistent. I would not use this product twice a day, however, because it tended to dry my skin out when using it that much, therefore I recommend using this cleanser once a day and then use another cleanser at night. This cleanser works on any skin type, however I would be careful if you have skin that's on the dry side. Like always, even if you have oily skin you should make sure to moisturize your skin with some face lotion.

Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash Redness Soothing Facial Cleanser


Neutrogena's Clear Pore Cleanser/Mask

Product Type: Cleanser

Active Ingredients: Benzoyl Peroxide 3.5%

The thing that is great about this product is that it can be used as a cleanser and a mask, so it is versatile as a product. I think that this product is very good for people who have oily skin, however it still works on other skin types. I would recommend using this cleanser at night and then Neutrogena's Oil Free Acne Wash in the morning, which is a great combination because you are using both Salicylic Acid and Benzoyl Peroxide. Again, I think that this can be quite drying if you use it too often so make sure you moisturize with a good light moisturizer after using this product.

Clear Pore Cleanser/ Mask


St. Ives Oatmeal Scrub and Mask

Product Type: Scrub

Active Ingredients: None

I love this product because right after using it, I could tell a huge different in my skin and the way that it felt. It made my skin extremely soft and it helped me with my acne as well. This product is best suited for any skin type and I would recommend this product to anybody, even if you don't have acne. However, I think that this product isn't the best if you only use it to get rid of your acne. This product is best suited to be more of a compliment to a higher intensity/ more strong acne medication.

St. Ives Oatmeal Scrub and Mask


Clean and Clear Morning Burst Facial Cleanser

Product Type: Cleanser

Active Ingredients: None

I really love this product, and although it made my skin considerably dry after I used it too much, I think that it's one that you should consider purchasing.This product doesn't have a nasty smell like some other acne products have and it makes my face really smooth after I use it. This product was great in getting rid of my acne and is best suited for any skin type. If you want something that is strong and isn't like a typical acne face wash, I would recommend this product to you.

Clean and Clear Morning Burst Facial Cleanser


Clearasil Rapid Action Vanishing Cream

Product Type: Cream

Active Ingredients: Benzoyl Peroxide 10%

This is the only cream that I have listed in this article because I do believe that it is one of the best ones out there. Right before an event, this product has made my pimples shrink visibly in size and works extremely fast. The one thing that is not so great about it is that it can be very drying to your skin so people with dry skin should use it sparingly.

Clearasil Rapid Action Vanishing Cream



One thing that you must remember is that these products may not work as well on you as they did for me. This is just my experience and opinion of each product.

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