Whilst we have all probably had to deal with a zit or a pimple at some time in our lives (indeed some 80% of the population will suffer from an acne outbreak at some point, making acne vulgaris one of the most common skin diseases), sadly for some people acne can be a much more severe issue and in extreme cases can even lead to mental health problems.

As we get older, acne flare-ups tend to become a good deal rarer as our body stabilizes and hormones level out and we get rid of acne naturally.

However, this is not always the case and acne vulgaris can prove to be quite persistent- adult acne is known to be especially stubborn . Moreover, you may not be satisfied with waiting for your acne to go away on its own since there’s no telling how long that will take.

Here, we’ll take a look at some top products that will help treat your face acne (from mild right through to moderate and severe acne).

Top 3 Editors Picks for Combatting Face Acne

ProductOur Rating

Misumi skin cleanser
#1. Misumi Clear Skin Salicylic Acid Cleanser

Key features: This cleanser uses salicylic acid for a deep pore-penetrating power that will clear any active breakouts.

  • 4 fl oz
  • Helps reduce fine lines and wrinkles
  • Produces collagen for a youthful complexation
  • Pore-penetrating exfoliant to clear active breakouts
  • Soothes and calms pimples

Murad hydration bottle

#2. Murad AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser - Triple Action Exfoliating Facial Cleanser with Salicylic, Lactic and Glycolic Acid- Skin Smoothing Polish

Key features: Designed to handle both active breakouts and minimize acne scarring, making it a great multi-action product for those who suffer from breakouts.

  • 6.75 fl oz
  • Gentle Jojoba exfoliant beads
  • Works deep into the skin to keep it clear
  • Incredibly refreshing wash
  • Reveals bright and clear complexation

Paulas choice Salycilic acid cleanser
#3 Paulas Choice--SKIN PERFECTING 2% BHA Liquid Salicylic Acid Exfoliant--Facial Exfoliant for Blackheads, Enlarged Pores, Wrinkles & Fine Lines

Key features: This cleanser combines glycolic acid with salicylic acid for the ultimate acne treatment. These two acids work to clear breakouts, exfoliate pores and smooth skin.

  • 4 fl ounces
  • Promotes exfoliation within the skin’s pores
  • Includes green tea extracts to soothe and soften skin
  • 91% of users had noticeably healthier skin
  • Prevents future breakouts as well as treating active pimples

We hope the above choices help you gain clearer skin. Please feel free to continuing reading below about facial acne and how it affects our skin.

Teenage Years Are the Most Common Time for Facial Acne

Unfortunately, the most common time to suffer from acne is as a post-pubescent teenager and that susceptibility can in some cases last from the mid-teens into the early twenties! These years also tend to be the very time when we begin to experiment with relationships and wish to attract a partner and a time in our lives when we really don’t want to get spots!

So, What Actually is Acne and How Does It Affect Our Skin?

There are in fact, six different types of acne lesions:

  • Blackheads
  • Whiteheads
  • Papules
  • Pustules
  • Cysts
  • Nodules

Blackheads and Whiteheads, both are caused by dead skin cells and too much skin oil combining and filling a pore, add bacteria to that mix and you get papules, these can become inflamed and can cause very mild pain, they usually cause the skin to redden as well.

Pustules, as defined by Webmd, are the result of our immune system defeating the papules, but this leaves dead matter which causes pus and yellowing of a pimple as it rots.

There are also acne cysts: the real nasty ones. When people suffer from cysts, entire regions of the face can be red and pus ridden, itchy and painful to boot and can cause permanent scarring in severe cases. They are caused by P. acnes which are the main bacteria that attacks the skin and causes the condition.

Finally, there are nodules- a type of severe acne called nodulocystic acne. They are caused by infections deep underneath the skin when a type of bacteria called p. acne. that is naturally found on the surface of the skin gets trapped inside the pores alongside dead skin cells and sebum.

P. acne. release chemicals onto the skin which mimics bacteria but are in fact harmless. These act as a diversion as our immune system fights these chemicals thinking it is the P. acne while the genuine article goes about its business elsewhere, making it very hard to get rid of.


How do we get rid of face acne?

Girl with acne

When it comes to acne, despite it being the most common skin disease, we haven’t found one singular treatment that works for everybody.

While some products help to reduce the presence of the problem and in time your acne may go away on its own, prevention is far better than cure.

A regular skin cleansing regime will pay dividends in the long runs so it is certainly well worth making the effort to develop one as once you are suffering from zits, they can’t just be scrubbed away. In fact, excessive scrubbing will only cause further irritation.

A Solid Regime Can Help Reduce Facial Acne


So, as said previously, you need to develop a solid skin care routine. This will help improve the overall health of your skin and can sometimes be all that is needed to treat acne or at least see some improvement.

Here are some things you need to include!


This involves cleansing your face twice a day. One of the worst things you can do for your acne is over-wash your skin.

Yes, even if you have super oily skin!

In fact, oily skin is often caused or made worse by over-washing the skin and using harsh cleansers that strip away the skin’s natural oils. 

Cream, Lotion, Hands, Sunscreen, Spa, Skin, Wellness

When you do over-wash your skin, your body has to then incrase its sebum production and you get more excess oil- thus you get more clogged pores. This is why a mild facial cleanser is such an important part of your daily skin care regime.

Therefore, investing in a good gentle cleanser is a must-do, especially if you have sensitive skin.

If you wear makeup, you may want to use a product specifically designed (again, make sure its gentle on the skin) to remove makeup before using your cleanser to ensure you get it all off.

And please.. always cleanse your skin as soon as you can after working out!


Taking care of and restoring your skin barrier will do wonders for your skin. Moisturizing is especially important for those suffering from dry skin and acne prone skin. Using a good moisturiser after you’ve cleansed your skin helps lock in moisture and prevents you from developing dehydrated skin which can worsen acne.

Sun Protection!

When it comes to your skin, finding a good sunscreen with at least 30 SPF and applying it daily is so important- even in the winter. It helps preserve and restore that all important skin barrier. A lot of daily moisturisers now include added SPF if you like to keep things simple!

Drying out the skin by getting lots of sunshine used to be standard advice when it came to getting rid of your acne. 


However, research has shown that too much sun will not help and can really damage your skin barrier. Twenty minutes a day is more than enough and the rest of the time you should wear sunscreen.

The blue and red light in the sun’s rays do destroy the bacteria that causes acne but rather than bake yourself outside in the sun, a short time using a lamp with a blue light or one with blue and red light combined will be far more beneficial.



Another precautionary measure concerns hair.

The hair products we use to clean our hair can contain oils that, if not fully rinsed out, can block hair follicles and cause forehead acne so always make sure all hair product is washed from your hair. As a secondary measure, try to avoid allowing your hair to rest on your forehead for lengthy periods.

Active Ingredients To Look Out For in Acne Products!

Benzoyl Peroxide

Benzoyl peroxide is pretty much a holy grail when it comes to acne prone skin and acne treatments. It can even be used to treat severe acne.

It helps reduce excess oil, removes the dead skin cells on the outer surface of the skin which can clog pores, and most importantly kills the bacteria responsible for acne. All of these facts make it one of the best acne treatments available, and if you have acne prone skin, products containing benzoyl peroxide really are a must-have for your skincare routine.

People also need to be aware that there are various kinds of treatments for different parts of the body where acne might occur. It is always wise to check the labels and heed the precautions as an acne treatment such as Benzoyl peroxide ,which is often used specifically for treating acne on the back, can worsen acne and skin health if used improperly.

It is wise to begin with a 2% benzoyl peroxide treatment a couple times a week if you have never used benzoyl peroxide before, especially if you have sensitive skin. 

Skin cream

It should be noted that products containing only 2% benzoyl peroxide can be super effective in treating acne, and can be enough to completely clear up mild acne in some cases.

However, for those with stubborn, moderate acne or severe acne, you may wish look for products that contain 5% or even 10% benzoyl peroxide.

Simply apply the lotion or cream to the worst areas and leave the rest of your face alone. This will not only prove to be more successful in clearing up your face but will also save you money!

Even the more expensive treatments can vary wildly in price so it’s worth shopping around, The Exposed Skin Care website is a great place to start looking for your perfect answer to acne, very well priced and designed to treat the problem at hand with no other agenda.


AHA stands for “Alpha hydroxy acids”. AHAs are naturally derived chemical exfoliants for your skin. They are great at preventing clogged pores, but they also work to brighten and smooth out your skin.

 Cleaning Skin, Cotton Pads

 If you have any acne scarring, incorporating a product containing an AHA could greatly improve the appearance of your acne scars.

It should also be noted that using AHAs do make your skin more sensitive to sun damage. So please, wear that daily sunscreen!

Here are a few of the most popular AHAs.

Glycolic Acid

Glycolic avid is derived from sugar cane. It is perhaps the most popular AHA and is used as a chemical peel and in products that can be used daily. It has even been shown to stimulate the production of collagen in the skin.

Lactic Acid

Lactic acid comes from lactose in milk. It is classed as a slightly milder chemical exfoliant than glycolic acid, making it a suitable option for those with more sensitive skin. It also helps the skin retain moisture.

Malic Acid

Malic acid is found in many fruits and vegetables. It decreases the stickiness of dead skin cells on the skin, making them less likely to clog pores. It is also a great hydrating ingredient for the skin and can even increase the benefits of other chemical exfoliants when used in conjunction.

BAsOranges, Fruits, Citrus

BA stands for “beta hydroxy acid”. They are oil soluble and so they are able to penetrate deep into your skin and work to get rid of excess sebum and blocked hair follicles. Here are the two most popular and widely used BAs.

Salicylic acid

Salicylic acid is definitely one of the most effective acne treatments. It dissolves away excess oil, preventing it from clogging pores on the surface of your skin. Salicylic acid is one of the best over the counter treatments for acne and is a great active ingredient to look out for to unclog pores.

Citric Acid

Again, it is a brilliant exfoliator. But citric acid also has skin brightening and antioxidant properties. But if you have sensitive skin, please be cautious as it can cause skin irritation.

Azelaic acid

Azelaic acid is bit of a hidden gem; not many people know or talk about it, but it can work wonders for your acne. It is obtained from grains such as rye, wheat and barely. It is is a leave-on chemical exfoliant is used to prevent clogged pores. Azelaic acid can be found in over the counter treatments at 10% concentration.

The Prevention of Face Acne


Back now to preventing acne. If you have tried all sorts of products containing active ingredients, exhausted readily available options and your acne breakouts still persist, it may be time to see a board certified dermatologist or a skin specialist. It’s also a wise decision if you have severe acne (especially cystic acne), moderate acne or inflammatory acne as these types can all cause scarring.

A board certified dermatologist can examine your skin and distinguish your skin type. From there, they can discuss with you a treatment plan with suitable acne medications. 

Acne, Pores, Skin, Pimple, Female, Face, Skincare

Often enough, oral antibiotics and topical retinoids are the first port of call. They can also offer acne medications that contain percentages of active ingredients than you cannot buy over the counter.

If you are female, you may wish to consider birth control pills. These can help regulate androgen hormones such as testosterone which can be responsible for acne.

Lastly, stop popping pimples! I know it can be tempting, but you run the risk of spreading the infection and even damaging the surface of your skin.

We’ve covered how to try to prevent acne outbreaks and what we can do to treat them if we fail in that prevention, but what about that time when you’re suffering a flare up and you have your graduation to go to or a first date or even a family event where there are bound to be photos taken?

Using Makeup To Hide Acne Blemishes


Concealment is the natural and obvious answer. A lot of people will tell you that green concealer over a pimple, then covered with a foundation is the cure, but what happens when the foundation wears off and you are left looking even worse than you did in the first place as people start wondering why your zits are green!

No, use a single layer of a foundation that matches your skin tone! This is much more effective!

Also, look into mineral makeup. A lot of mineral makeup brands are acne-friendly. What do I mean by acne-friendly? They do not contain ingredients that could clog pores or worsen the health of your skin. 

Makeup Kit

On that note: always check the labels and do your research on the ingredients of your favourite makeup products! Some of the ingredients might just be what’s causing or worsening your acne.

One thing though, try not to use too many layers of cosmetic as this will hinder skin recovery and the zits will take longer to go. If you can, try to go makeup-free a few days a week. But if applying that little bit of makeup gives you that boost of confidence and eases your mind, we totally understand!

Acne has been an enemy to the skin for as long as people can remember, but by following the advice above hopefully the experience will not be so horrible and if you create that daily regime and stick to it, those experience should hopefully be very few and far between.

Have you experienced face acne before? What did you do to get rid of it? Do you know about any techniques not mentioned in this article? Share your knowledge with us in the comments below!