Zits are the worst — yes, even when you've been quarantined for months on end and have zero plans to go out. Of course you want to give whiteheads, blackheads, and painful bumps the boot ASAP... but in an overwhelming sea of products to choose from (and many that fail to deliver), the effort can feel futile.
Fret not. We asked dermatologists to dish on their absolute favorite acne-busting products. The best part? Not a single one is over $25.
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CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser, $12.29
Any roundup of skincare products recommended by dermatologists wouldn't be complete without CeraVe, so let's start with one. Dr. Stacey Chimento, a board-certified dermatologist at Riverside Dermatology in Miami, Florida swears by this daily cleanser, which is formulated for normal and oily-prone skin types.
"Although this is a mild cleanser, it effectively removes any excess oil, dirt, or makeup and will not leave it feeling dry or stripped," she says. "Niacinamide and hyaluronic acid work with the natural substances in your skin to help visibly improve enlarged pores, uneven skin tone, fine lines and wrinkles, dullness, and a weakened surface. It also contains three essential ceramides that help form the skin's barrier and retain moisture."
If you've got a rogue zit, why treat all your skin when a spot treatment will do? Dr. Elliott Weiss, a board-certified dermatologist at Laser & Skin Surgery Center of New York (Southampton), recommends applying a pimple patch.
"These patches are great for any skin type. They don't irritate the skin and help to calm both the redness and inflammation of acne while you sleep," he says. "For a one-two punch, use the patch at night and then use a second topical acne medication of your choice in the morning to keep attacking the acne around the clock."
We all know breakouts aren't limited to your face. Your back, chest, arms — and even your bum — are susceptible. In such cases, a body wash that treats acne is the way to go.
"Neutrogena's Acne Wash is a fabulous product that helps eliminate acne on the back, and chest, as well as the face," says Dr. Joyce Davis, a board-certified dermatologist based in New York City. "I recommend using it daily to degrease your skin, help eliminate blackheads, and prevent new ones from forming. You are essentially getting a mild, daily salicylic acid peel."
One of the most common mistakes people make when trying to treat acne is focusing on drying out the skin and basically "beating" it into submission. Moisture is essential, and a lightweight, water-based option is ideal for oily skin.
"When it comes to moisturizers, you want to stay away from ones that use heavy oils," notes Dr. Chimento. "Neutrogena's Hydro Boost is oil-free and water-based, so it feels extremely lightweight on the skin and does not cause any breakouts. Its main ingredient, hyaluronic acid, helps enrich the outer layer of the skin by holding onto any moisture, giving it a heavy dose of hydration."