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The Right Products for Every Single Type of Breakout

From whiteheads to blackheads to cysts, every type of breakout calls for a different acne treatment.
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Breakouts are the absolute worst, aren't they? They always seem to pop up just in time for a big date or important job interview and leave you scrambling for a way to get rid of them STAT. But grabbing your tried-and-true acne product and slathering it all over your breakout might not be the best course of action because not all zits are created equal.

From whiteheads to blackheads to cystic acne, there are many types of pimples and, just like different skin types, you treat them all a bit differently. When choosing the right acne treatment for your newest eruption, it's essential that you're using the right ingredients. To help you on your way to clear, breakout-free skin, we put together a primer on the most popular kinds of acne and the most effective ingredients for treating each type. So next time you break out, you'll be armed and ready.

Image via Imaxtree

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Best Acne Treatment: Salicylic Acid

Product Pick: Murad Rapid Relief Acne Spot Treatment, $22

Salicylic acid helps to unclog pores and, when used continuously (which is recommended by most dermatologists), it can help prevent new lesions from popping up. Most salicylic acid products on the market contain a maximum strength of two percent. This acne-fighter will help to reduce the blemish size and the redness around it, plus it will suck up any excess oil in the area while helping to reduce future breakouts. Salicylic acid can be drying, so follow it up with a good moisturizer or face oil, or look for the ingredient in a face wash instead of a leave-on treatment.

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Best Acne Treatment: Charcoal

Product Pick: Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask to Clear Pores, $27

Charcoal is the ideal ingredient for pesky blackheads as it acts as a magnet to draw out pore-clogging dirt, oil and makeup from deep within skin. Exfoliating manually using a scrub will also help to loosen the bacteria, oil and dirt in pores and wash it away. Using a charcoal exfoliator is one way to double up and ensure that you're taking all the preventative steps. We mainly see blackheads popping up around the nose and in the T-zone, so it's totally fine for you to use this mask only in those areas.

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Cystic Acne
Best Acne Treatment: Sulfur

Product Pick: Sunday Riley Saturn Sulfur Acne Treatment Mask, $55

Sulfur is a miracle worker for cystic acne as it helps to inhibit the growth of the bacteria that causes acne. It also helps bring down inflammation, which is usually what we're seeing when we look at an angry, cystic pimple. Aside from helping to fight cystic acne (and prevent new breakouts from popping up whenever they please), this sulfur face mask is also a great solution for large pores and oily skin.

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Hormonal Acne
Best Ingredient: Benzoyl Peroxide

Product Pick: Kate Somerville Anti Bac Clearing Lotion, $42

Usually popping up on the chin and jawline, hormonal acne loves to flare up right around your period (ugh, a double whammy). Once you've dealt with the cramps and back pain, tackling your breakouts can be simple with the help of benzoyl peroxide. It works by preventing the pores from getting blocked in the first place and it specifically fights acne-causing bacteria.

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