Acne treatments come in various forms that are formulated to relieve particular types of acne. Overall the industry focuses on cleaning, purifying and fortifying the skin to eradicate existing pimples and prevent future breakouts.

Over the counter treatments focus on fighting the dirt, oil and pollution that become trapped in the pores of the skin to cause acne. Medication can be prescribed by a dermatologist to fight bacteria and control severe acne.

Top 9 Best Rated Acne Treatment Products

Clinique Acne Solutions is clinically proven to reduce active blemishes by 37 percent in three days. This fast-acting system is fragrance-free like all Clinique products, which is important for acne-prone skin since.
Neutrogena Acne is a complete system designed to treat a multitude of breakouts because as they say "not all breakouts are the same." With ingredients like salicylic acid, Neutrogena treats different acne and all skin types.
Proactiv is designed to treat and prevent acne breakouts. The products, which include a cleanser and a repairing lotion, contain acne-fighting ingredients like benzoyl peroxide. This ingredient is known to kill acne bacteria.

The ConsumerAffairs Research Team believes everyone deserves to make smart decisions. We aim to provide readers with the most up-to-date information available about today's consumer products and services.

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What features matter most?

Exfoliation

To avoid clogged pores it is important to maintain a good exfoliation schedule; this will remove dead skin cells and keep pores clear.

  • Acid: Mild acids are a normal ingredient in good acne treatments. These dry up old skin cells so they are easier to remove.
  • Natural scrubbers: Many creams and cleansers include finely-ground natural ingredients such as nut shells or coconut husk that gently but firmly scrub away impurities.
  • Exfoliation brush or pad: Many acne-fighting products are packaged with their own textured pad or brush to help you wash and exfoliate your skin more effectively.

Pore cleanser

Since clogged pores are a common cause of pimples, pore cleansers are a vital ingredient in your acne treatment.

  • Salicylic acid: Salicylic acid exfoliates deep within the hair follicles to remove hard-to-reach dead cells and dirt.
  • Astringent: This chemical type is used to shrink pores and make it easier to keep them clean.
  • Baking soda: This natural ingredient is great for helping to scrub away impurities and remove the dirt and skin cells from clogged pores.

Anti-bacterial ingredients

Some acne is caused by bacterial infections within the pores, which means that the best deterrent is an anti-bacterial cleanser.

  • Triclosan: Triclosan is a common facial cleanser that removes bacteria and stops the infection before it begins.
  • Benzoyl peroxide: This simple ingredient has helped many people fight various types of acne. It dries up excess bacteria to keep pores free of infection.
  • Azelaic acid: This type of acid both exfoliates the skin and kills bacteria.

Oil remover

Excess oils trap bacteria and dirt particles, leading to breakouts.

  • Sulfur: Sulfur is a natural oil remover that also exfoliates the skin.
  • Clay: Another natural ingredient that soaks up oils is clay. This is often used in beauty masks, as well as acne cleansers.
  • Retinoids: Derived from Vitamin A, retinoids help stop the oil production that can lead to bacterial growth.

Gentle formula

If you have sensitive skin you should try to find a gentle, less harsh treatment that won't irritate your skin. If you skin turns red, feels itchy or seems burnt after treatment you should either use less of the product or find a new one.

  • Fragrance-free: Scents can cause irritation on sensitive skin, particularly for people that suffer from skin allergies.
  • Detergent-free: Though recommended for some skin types, detergents can be too harsh and drying for people with skin allergies and sensitivity.
  • Alcohol-free: Like detergent, alcohol can also over-dry your skin and cause redness and peeling.

Anti-inflammatory

The redness and soreness of a pimple comes from the inflammation of the skin. Anti-inflammatory ingredients can soothe the pain and swelling.

  • Peptides: Peptides are a series of amino acids that are linked in a chain. They work to relieve inflammation and prolong the skin's youth and flexibility.
  • Tea tree oil: This natural ingredient helps bring down swelling and redness. It is also good for rosacea.
  • Evening primrose: These flowers have been used for generations to soothe eczema and arthritis. Their anti-inflammatory capabilities work wonders on the skin to reduce pain and redness.

What are different types of acne treatment ?

Antibacterial

Some forms of acne are actually tiny infections of the pores of the skin, which means it is necessary to target the bacteria to prevent breakouts.

Cleanser

Cleansers are used to help remove dirt, grease and other particles on the skin that have clogged the pores and caused acne.

Topical cream

Topical creams are intended for areas of the body that are most commonly affected by acne: the face, neck, back, shoulders and chest.

Who's it for?

Teenagers and young people

Young people are more susceptible to acne than most adults due to the fact that their bodies are growing and starting to produce more hormones.

Pregnant women

Pregnant women are susceptible to breakouts due to a change in their hormone production. They require gentle, safe ingredients in their treatments that won't interfere with the pregnancy or conflict with their doctor-prescribed diet and medications.

Those receiving hormone treatment

Any type of hormonal treatment, including the birth control pill, can affect the balance of hormones in the body. This unbalance cause acne along with other side effects.

Adults

Men and women deal with acne that is unrelated to a growth spurt, puberty or menopause. These breakouts could be from stress, an allergic reaction and more.

Company reviews

  • Proactiv

    Proactiv is a household name when it comes to acne treatment. Launched in 1995, the company's popular products are the result of 10 years of research.

    • Best for Teenagers, young people, pregnant women, those receiving hormone treatment and adults.
  • Neutrogena Acne

    Neutrogena is a trusted skin-care brand that offers an incredible variety of targeted products. In addition to providing acne-care and prevention products and kits, Neutrogena has skin-care products to soften skin and prevent scarring from repeated breakouts.

    • Best for Teenagers, young people, pregnant women and adults.
  • Exposed Skin Care

    Exposed Skin Care prides itself on using the perfect balance of scientific technology and natural ingredients to best deal with acne. Their unique products include special exfoliation towels, skin toner and a multitude of special deals to save you money and encourage you to try their brand.

    • Best for Teenagers, young people and adults.

  • Murad Acne

    Murad is a skin-care brand focused on keeping skin healthy and vibrant in adulthood. Available in spas, in stores and online, their products focus on acne treatment but also on preventing wrinkles and smoothing over blemishes and scars.

    • Best for This intensive product range is targeted towards adults.

  • Clearasil

    The Clearasil brand is well-known for its acne-fighting products. Products are categorized in two groups: Clearasil Ultra, for fast-acting treatments and Clearasil Daily, for routine skin care.

    • Best for The Clearasil product line is aimed at young people experiencing a variety of acne-related problems.

  • ZENMED Acne Treatment

    ZENMED focuses on specialized skin care regimes using doctor-formulated products. Their products are ideal for people with normal or sensitive skin.

    • Best for Teenagers, young people, pregnant women, those receiving hormone treatment and adults.

  • Tria Acne Treatment

    Tria takes an unusual approach to acne treatment, and uses a blue light system to kill bacteria that sits on the surface of the skin. The company also provides laser hair removal technology and anti-aging products.

    • Best for Pregnant women, those receiving hormone treatment and adults.

  • Clearskin Acne Treatment

    Avon products are popular worldwide for their quality, and the Clearskin Professional Acne Treatment System is no exception. The product is highly-rated and recommended by repeat customers.

    • Best for Teenagers, young people, those receiving hormone treatment, pregnant women and adults.

  • Clinique Acne Solutions

    Clinique is a trusted name in the cosmetics industry, and their skin care line is popular internationally. The brand believes that a simple, integrated system and a regular routine is the best way to care for your skin and see real results.

    • Best for Teenagers, young people, pregnant women and adults.