Holy Grails: Acne-Targeting Products

Acne is single-handedly the number one thing I get asked for help with. It effects numerous people globally, and it's something that can continue to reoccur even when you think it's finally gone. Just like every holy grails post, this is specifically what I love and what works for me. Everybody has different skin, different things they're allergic to, etc. What works for me, may not work for you. Some products may not be available for international shipping, however if they do become available or you know an authorized retailer, feel free to comment below and I'll add it. With all that being said, let's jump into the acne post!

The Inkey List Salicylic Acid Cleanser

Suitable Skin Type(s): Acneic

Why I love it: typically I say cleansers won't do much because it's a wash off, however salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, and sulfur all need a short contact time to work and that's why I like this one. I still don't recommend using it daily, however 3x a week was enough for me and it really improved my blackheads + helped improve some breakouts.

Key Ingredient(s): Salicylic Acid + Humectants To Keep The Skin Hydrated

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Paula's Choice 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant

Suitable Skin Type(s): Acneic

Why I love it: a lot of salicylic acid products are drying and it limits who can use it, thankfully this one is rather hydrating. This, along with any exfoliating product should be no more than 3x a week even though it says to use AM and PM.

Key Ingredient(s): Salicylic Acid and Green Tea Extracts

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Benton Aloe BHA Skin Toner

Suitable Skin Type(s): Acneic

Why I love it: this is a perfect alternative to the PC 2% BHA if you're someone who couldn't handle that. Once again, not everything needs to be super strong and that is where this toner comes in. At 0.5% Salicylic Acid, this will still help your skin but won't be irritating + it's VERY hydrating (base ingredient is Aloe)

Key Ingredient(s): Aloe, Salicylic Acid, Sodium Hyaluronate, Snail Filtrate

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Benzagel 5% Benzoyl Peroxide Acne Gel

Suitable Skin Type(s): Acneic

Why I love it: benzoyl peroxide is one of the best ingredients for acneic skin because it kills the bacteria that causes acne (cutibacterium, formerly p.acnes). I believe this is only available in Canada, but there's something similar in America by the brand Rugby. Note: BPO can bleach fabrics

Key Ingredient(s): Benzoyl Peroxide 5%

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The Ordinary Retinol 1% In Squalane

Suitable Skin Type(s): Acneic

Why I love it: retinoids will forever be my favourite ingredient to use while trying to get rid of acne (as well as pretty much all other skin concerns). There's a lot of retinoid serums and oils on the market, however some can be more irritating than others. I find oils to be the less irritating on the skin. Note: I believe everywhere else has the grandactive retinoid and this is exclusive in Canada per our regulations.

Key Ingredient(s): 1% Retinol

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Differin Gel Adapalene 0.1%

Suitable Skin Type(s): Acneic

Why I love it: for starters, this is a prescription only product in almost every country, except the USA. Adapalene is your retinoid for acne. Differin gel has easily become my favourite prescription ever and has definitely knocked tretinoin out of it's first place slot. If you are able to get a retinoid through prescription, get this and thank me later!

Key Ingredient(s): 0.1% Adapalene

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Valeant Retin-A 0.05% Tretinoin Cream

Suitable Skin Type(s): Acneic

Why I love it: this is strictly through prescription and the brand will be different from country to country. There're many versions of "Retin-A" and even generic names like "Steiva-A". At the end of the day, it's all the same as long you're getting tretinoin. You do not need to start at 0.05%, you may also get a prescription with clindamycin in it. Listen to your prescriber and follow their instructions.

Key Ingredient(s): 0.05% Tretinoin

DISCLAIMER: some links are affiliate links which means if you choose to shop through them I will make a small commission. I appreciate everyone who does shop through my links as it's a way to keep my content free for all of you, while you're able to contribute to me without actually doing anything you weren't already going to do.


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This website may contain some affiliate links, which means I will make a small commission on sales of the products you may wish to purchase through the link. My content is not influenced by advertisers, affiliate partnerships or brands. All opinions are my own, forever and always, since day 1. Thanks.

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