The best topical acne products for stubborn acne

As someone who has dealt with acne-prone skin for years, I know firsthand how frustrating and exhausting it can be to try and clear stubborn breakouts. Over-the-counter products can be hit or miss, and it can be overwhelming to navigate the multitude of options available. That's why I've compiled a list of the best topical acne products for stubborn acne, based on my personal experience and research.

1. Salicylic Acid

One of the most commonly used acne-fighting ingredients is salicylic acid. This beta hydroxy acid (BHA) works by exfoliating the skin and unclogging pores, which helps to prevent new breakouts from forming. It can also help to reduce the size and redness of existing pimples.

There are a variety of salicylic acid products available, from cleansers to spot treatments. One of my personal favorites is the Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant. This gentle yet effective product can be used all over the face or as a spot treatment, and has helped to keep my acne at bay.

2. Benzoyl Peroxide

Another popular acne-fighting ingredient is benzoyl peroxide. This topical antibiotic works by killing the bacteria that causes acne, as well as reducing inflammation. Benzoyl peroxide can be found in a range of strengths, from 2.5% to 10%. It's best to start with a lower strength and gradually work up if needed, as higher concentrations can be drying and irritating to the skin.

One benzoyl peroxide product that I've found to be effective is the Acne.org 2.5% Benzoyl Peroxide Treatment. This product comes in a large tube, making it great for those with stubborn acne who need to use a lot of product. It's also fragrance-free and non-comedogenic, making it suitable for sensitive skin.

3. Retinoids

Retinoids are a type of vitamin A derivative that can help to improve acne, as well as fine lines, wrinkles, and skin texture. They work by promoting cell turnover and preventing the clogging of pores. Retinoids can be found in both prescription and over-the-counter products, although prescription-strength products tend to be more potent.

One over-the-counter retinoid product that I recommend is the Differin Gel. This product used to be available only by prescription, but can now be purchased over-the-counter. It's a great option for those with acne-prone skin who are looking for an effective, yet gentle way to treat their breakouts.

4. Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is a natural, plant-based ingredient that has antimicrobial properties. It's been shown to be effective at reducing acne lesions, although it may not be as potent as some of the other ingredients on this list. Tea tree oil can be found in a variety of products, including cleansers, spot treatments, and face masks.

One tea tree oil product that I've found to be effective is The Body Shop Tea Tree Oil. This product can be used as a spot treatment, or added to your favorite moisturizer or cleanser to boost its acne-fighting power. It's important to note that tea tree oil can be drying and irritating to the skin, so it's best to start with a small amount and gradually work up if needed.

5. Azelaic Acid

Azelaic acid is a lesser-known acne-fighting ingredient that's worth exploring. This ingredient works by killing the bacteria that causes acne, reducing inflammation, and preventing the clogging of pores. It's also been shown to be effective at reducing hyperpigmentation and improving skin texture.

One azelaic acid product that I've tried and liked is the Paula's Choice 10% Azelaic Acid Booster. This product can be used all over the face or as a spot treatment, and has helped to reduce the number and severity of my breakouts.

In conclusion, there are a variety of effective topical acne products on the market that can help to clear stubborn breakouts. It's important to find the products that work best for your skin type and concerns, and to be patient and consistent with your skincare routine. By incorporating some of these acne-fighting ingredients into your routine, you can take steps towards achieving clearer, healthier-looking skin.