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    Apr 8, 2020

    32 Things That'll Help Treat Acne As Fast As Possible

    These work better than people telling us to "just drink more water." 😑

    We hope you love the products we recommend! Just so you know, BuzzFeed may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. Oh, and FYI — prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.

    1. A pack of Hero Cosmetics acne patches to drain 👏 those 👏 zits 👏 so you can avoid picking or any of the other lovely benefits of a usually longer-lasting breakout. They're gentler than acne cream, speed up recovery to practically overnight, and do all the ~heavy lifting~ for you.

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    Promising review: "I have used a lot of hydrocolloid patches and these are some of the strongest and best ones I’ve ever used. They work great even on pimples that are not open or whiteheads. And they’re barely noticeable during the day." —sammie038

    Get a box of six patches from Urban Outfitters for $3, or get two boxes for $5.

    2. Or! A set of Rael microneedle patches that'll tackle deeper, cystic acne thanks to their self-dissolving micro tips that work like your derm's usual methods. A combo of hyaluronic acid, tea tree, and salicylic acid melt into the zit to soothe inflammation that usually takes MUCH longer to heal.

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    Promising review: "I really love these! I usually use the regular pimple patches, but these are my new faves. I’m super oily and get a lot of pimples that are just filled with oil and the microneedles on these actually penetrate under the skin of the pimples and drain them! These flatten huge lumps OVERNIGHT! I LOVE these." —Urban Outfitters Customer

    Get a box of nine patches from Urban Outfitters for $12.

    3. A bottle of The Ordinary peeling solution for decreasing excess oil (a probable cause of recurring breakouts) with a surprisingly affordable combo of glycolic, lactic, and salicylic acid that need only ~10 minutes~ to treat acne, smooth your skin tone, and exfoliate oily skin layers.

    Jamé Jackson / BuzzFeed

    This is strong, so it's not recommended for sensitive skin.

    Promising review: "I have red bumps on my face that would not go away. I went to the dermatologist, tried high-end products, and nothing worked. I did this once and the bumps are already almost gone and my complexion is so much better. I’m amazed by this product" —tbailey1

    Get it from Sephora for $7.20.

    To learn more about why a BuzzFeeder recommends this, check out "I Tested A $7 Chemical Peel On My Sensitive Skin, And I'm High-Key Obsessed".

    4. A pack of Dr. Oracle peeling sticks so you can precisely target clogged pores and blackheads. They're essentially cotton swabs loaded with acne-fighting acids (ty, AHA and BHA) to get rid of breakouts — and you're done using them faster than you can count to one minute flat.

    Soko Glam

    Promising review: "These are miracle sticks. One use and you notice a difference the next morning." —Sarah W.

    Get a pack of 10 sticks from Soko Glam for $24.

    5. An ever so popular Thayers witch hazel, because this'll brighten and even your skin tone by regularly removing dead skin cells. It's alcohol-free so it's gentle enough for all skin types to use every night, as long as you moisturize, and is an easy way to diminish breakouts.

    AnaMaria Glavan / BuzzFeed

    Promising review: "This toner has helped me clear my skin. I’ve always had acne and would use different things and just made it worse, but when I started using this my skin got so clear and I barely breakout now." —Amalia

    Get it from Target for $9.89.

    To learn more about why a BuzzFeed editor recommends this, check out "This Highly Rated Witch Hazel Toner Is The Best Skin Care Product Under $10".

    6. A jelly-like, blue algae mask to resurface dead skin cells where your breakout lies so it's easier to ~unclog~ irritated pores and pimples. It's essentially an at-home peel that'll reveal allll that built-up oil and sebum and leave you with fresh, smooth skin.

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    This is personally my favorite for bringing acne to a head. It's strong (it contains 10% AHA and 0.5% BHA) so I use it as a spot treatment, rather than a full mask. Whenever I have an extra tough pimple that I'd usually pick and make worse, I apply this for 15-20 minutes, and it *always* becomes a whitehead. Plus, I only use a little, so the $43 lasts a longgg time!

    Promising review: "Instant results. The skincare industry has taught me to be wary of big claims, but this actually lives up to the hype. After the first use, my skin was smoother and softer. Using once a week, I’ve seen real improvement in my skin. This is a keeper." —JWomble

    Get it from Peach & Lily for $43.

    7. A bottle of Glossier Solution that'll clear breakouts faster than you can say "pop" thanks to this exfoliating blend of alpha hydroxy acid, beta hydroxy acid, and polyhydroxy acid. Reviewers l-o-v-e this for fading acne scars and treating active breakouts.

    Glossier

    Promising review: "I absolutely love this! I've wanted to try it for the longest time after seeing what it did to a friend's acne. I've only been using it for a week, but I'm already blown away but the results. I use it at night and when I wake up in the morning my normally oily and red skin is smooth and even, and any pimples from the night before are just gone. I can't recommend this product enough this is a must-have!" —Katie

    Get it from Glossier for $24.

    To learn more, check out "Here's Why The Mega-Popular Glossier Solution Is Totally Worth Your Money".

    8. A wildly popular Aztec Secret clay mask for successfully treating consistent cystic acne, aka the toughest of underground pimples. So. Many. People. swear by this for bringing the deepest acne to a head so you can finally stop picking (which only irritates your skin and causes more breakouts).

    BuzzFeed

    This goes best with apple cider vinegar ($6.99 on Target).

    Promising review: "I’ve been trying to treat my acne and oily skin for over a year and nothing seemed to be working. After everything from high-end to drugstore product, I figured this mask couldn’t hurt. I’ve been using the product for a month now and my acne has finally calmed down, and my acne scars have rapidly faded! It is extremely drying, so I tend to use a very thick moisturizer after; but my skin is actually thriving." —Cecilia

    Get it from Target for $7.99.

    To learn more, check out "This Clay Mask Basically Vacuums Out Your Pores, And BRB I'm Going To Bathe In It".

    9. An e.l.f spot gel stick so you can treat surprise pimples with ~pinpoint~ accuracy. It uses a powerful formula of salicylic acid, witch hazel, camphor, tea tree, green tea, and aloe to not only nourish irritated skin, but dramatically reduce swelling and redness.

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    Promising review: "I have tried every single product prescribed by a dermatologist, even Accutane, and my acne never went away. I finally was able to get it under control with vitamins and face washes, but I still had annoying LARGE pimples that never went away. I bought this after hearing about it and applied it generously in the morning to my pimples, and the swelling of them was down by nighttime! I applied again that night and woke up to them almost completely gone!" —mikaylamadison

    Get it from e.l.f. cosmetics for $3.

    10. A pack of Bioré cleansing pore strips, because these'll be your sidekick that basically act as a magnet to efficiently draw out dirt, oil, and blackheads both from your nose and your forehead (or really anywhere). Deep clean does not even BEGIN to define these.

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    Get a box of six strips from Target for $5.99.

    11. A TreeActiv cystic acne spot treatment to shave the time it takes for cystic pimples to fade in half. Its main ingredient, bentonite clay, draws out toxins, fights swelling, and calms irritated skin très vite so the days of waiting an eternity are over.

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    Promising review: "This stuff really works! My son was having such a hard time with cystic acne and his skin is much clearer." —Tami Duncan

    Get it from TreeActiv on Etsy for $24.95.

    12. A Paula's Choice liquid exfoliant that'll employ 2% BHA* to unclog pores and remove dead skin cells so you can get to the ~root~ of pimples — and end with a brighter complexion. Tl;dr: gently exfoliating with salicylic acid easily brings breakouts to a head.

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    *BHA stands for beta hydroxy acid and is interchangeable with salicylic acid.

    Promising review: "I've had breakouts my entire life and have tried pretty much every skincare product out there. As soon as I started using this regularly, my skin was much softer and hasn't broken out nearly as much. I will definitely keep using this! MUST-HAVE." —Carli

    Get it from SkinStore for $29.50.

    13. A Peter Thomas Roth sulfur mask for telling acne you are not. messing. AROUND by drying 'em out with a powerful mix of 10% sulfur, as well as kaolin and bentonite clays (while aloe soothes). Excess oil = absorbed. Huge bump = deflated.

    Sephora

    Promising review: "My hormonal acne has been nonstop for the past three months. I was trying to find to anything that would help me. This has helped me SOOOOOO much since I’ve been using this for a couple weeks. Literally I have seen so much improvement with my acne on my cheeks and jawline. It has even helped the appearance of my pores on my chin." —StricklerEmma

    Get it from Sephora for $52.

    14. An Aveda toning mist so you can take your treatment routine on-the-go, especially if your face tends to feel tight and dry midday. This'll hydrate and refresh tired skin *and* help control excess oil and redness throughout the day — aka pimples won't have a chance to make a comeback.

    Mal Mower / BuzzFeed

    Bonus points for its lovely scent of rose, organic German chamomile, eucalyptus, and more plant/flower essences!

    Promising review: "I use this toner morning and night. It is cool, refreshing, and really reduces the redness on my face from blemishes or otherwise. Love it! It smells great, too." —Bekahlovesphish

    Get it from Aveda for $23.

    To learn more about why a BuzzFeeder recommends this, check out "8 Game-Changing Beauty Products You Need To Try ASAP".

    15. A vitamin-rich cleanser specifically designed to tackle breakouts, because this'll use organic fruit acids and essential oils to not only wish unwelcome guests goodbye, but keep them away.

    Free People

    Promising review: "I started using juice beauty in high school and I have not stopped ever since. It’s been the only face wash to hep combat active breakouts and keep my skin calm. Every now and then I get a big pimple for whatever reason, but unlike other washes it doesn’t make my breakouts worse." —HotNoodle

    Get it from Free People for $25.

    16. An extra-strong spot treatment to take matters into your own ~hands~ and shrink pesky zits with 10% benzoyl peroxide, ginger, chamomile (to soothe), and sea whip extracts. That pimple won't even know what hit it by the time the sun comes up.

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    Promising review: "I used to get severe hormonal acne. I finally got it under control, but I still get the occasional pimple here and there. I tried this stuff and the huge pimple I had went down significantly overnight. I love this stuff and recommend to anyone who also gets severe stubborn acne." —Christinar626

    Get it from Walgreens for $7.79.

    17. A CosRX gel facial cleanser that'll start your mornings off with some *perks* by combining tea tree oil and natural BHA to shrink pores and improve your complexion's evenness. Essentially, it tells breakouts to ~clear out~, while still being gentle enough for sensitive skin.

    Cosrx, Sarah Han / BuzzFeed

    It has a lower pH level than most cleansers so it's great for sensitive skin!

    Promising review: "I really like this cleanser. It’s lightweight and never leaves my face feeling greasy or tight. I have oily skin and usually find that 'gentle' cleansers feel like they leave a residue, but stronger 'acne' cleansers leave my skin tight and dry leading to more oil later. This cleanser is the perfect in-between." —Dermstore Customer

    Get it from Dermstore for $14.

    To learn more, check out "I Swear By This Highly-Rated Low pH Gel Cleanser To Clean Out My Pores".

    18. An Alba Botanica deep-clean astringent for combining the power of 2% salicylic acid, witch hazel, and willow bark solution to effectively treat those annoying active breakouts quickly and easily.

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    Promising review: "This stuff works like a charm!! I have occasional hormonal acne, often on my chest and back as well as my face, and this helped clear up those areas immediately and will definitely last awhile!" —Addie123

    Get it from Target for $6.29.

    19. A set of NeoGen wine peeling pads so you can clear dead skin cells and lingering breakouts (looking at you, week-long cystic zit) in just one, two, swipe. Each pad's three-layer technology, plus powerful lactic acid and red wine extract, penetrates deep into clogged pores to eliminate dirt and oil. Feel free to have a glass of actual wine to toast that pimple goodbye.

    Soko Glam

    Promising review: "I instantly saw results for helping to heal my hormonal acne and scars. It's not harsh on the skin and you can definitely see your dead skin cells scrubbed away. The scent is not overpowering. It is big enough to use on your neck too. My face feels soft and helps my other facial products perform better! I would recommend." —Brianna S.

    Get a jar of 30 pads from Soko Glam for $27.

    20. A bottle of Mario Badescu drying lotion, because this'll zap your zits on sight and keep you from popping or picking — you know how that ends. Dab this on, go to sleep, and wake up a whole lot happier.

    Urban Outfitters

    Promising review: "This literally cleared so many of my blemishes and pimples. MAGIC in a bottle." —23LeoH

    Get it from Urban Outfitters for $17.

    21. An Origins charcoal mask to make acne-treating routines a little more relaxing by using bamboo charcoal and white clay that'll clear pores, reduce oil, and brighten skin while you enjoy a little ~self-care~ time. Clear *and* refreshed skin are right around the corner.

    Sephora

    Both my sister and I love this! My sister has very dry skin and uses this about once a week. She found that her breakouts are truly at a minimum when she uses this. I've used it as a spot treatment overnight (I have combo skin), and not only did my pimple really clear overnight, but it didn't get on my pillow.

    Promising review: "This is such a great mask for my skin. It’s seriously a holy grail for me, it manages to clear up my skin every single time. I’ve used this mask off and on for years and always come back to it, because it actually gives me results. Plus there’s no over-the-top fragrance to it, which helps. I will forever continue buying this." —Dananic

    Get it from Sephora for $26.

    22. A Neutrogena alcohol-free toner that'll work just as well (if not better) than most high-end toners, but win at keeping sensitive skin in mind. It gently treats acne, brightens skin, and tightens pores *without* causing irritation. No more aggravating skin in the name of fighting acne.

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    Promising review: "Based on the other good reviews for this toner, I decided to try it. I am glad I did! This toner has helped dissolve my blackheads and clear up my breakouts without being harsh. It also tightened my pores." —Delighted

    Get it from Walgreens for $8.49.

    See what won best face toners on BuzzFeed Reviews.

    23. A bar of Shea Moisture African black soap for fighting breakouts ALLLL over (hello, surprise butt pimple) before you have time work yourself into a lather. Its combo of shea butter, vitamin E, and coconut oil work together to quickly wash those unwelcome zits down the drain.

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    Promising review: "I’ve tried everything for my back and neck acne nothing was really working until now. This soap is great for that! I have only been using it for a week and I can already tell the difference. I have to be careful with my face though this soap is drying so I only use it at nighttime and focus on the nose and chin area, back of the neck, and my back!" —Target Customer

    Get it from Target for $3.99.

    24. A Tarte exfoliating treatment so you can keep consistent breakouts at bay by using this salicylic acid, sulfur, and glycerin formula three to four times a week. It'll minimize the appearance of pores, control oil, and target active breakouts — all while leaving a ~tingling~ feeling.

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    This is strong, so it's recommended that you work your way up to using this frequently! Some reviewers start with once a week before using it more regularly.

    Promising review: "This has literally been a game-changer for my skin! I tried the mini bottle first and then my skin loved it so bought the large and use it every night after washing my face. I haven't had any cystic acne in months and my blackheads/whiteheads have reduced. My pores seem to be getting a little smaller too and whatever pimples I do still get are easy to remove." —Beth

    Get it from Tarte for $39.

    25. A Clinique BB cream (already a major fave among those with cystic acne), because this'll ensure you continue your day worry-free about breakouts growing. It's great at concealing, feels weightless, *and* actively treats acne while you wear it.

    Sarah Wainschel / BuzzFeed

    It lasts up to a whopping ~12 hours~, features SPF 40 (IMPORTANT), controls oil, and doesn't cause breakouts — even on sensitive skin.

    Here's what a BuzzFeeder has to say about it: "I’ve had pretty bad cystic acne for the past eight years and have tried everything short of Accutane and expensive, scary lasers to get rid of it. In an act of desperation following a particularly bad breakout, I decided to give Clinique’s Acne Solutions BB Cream (in the shade Light) a try, and let me tell you, IT CHANGED MY WHOLE LIFE. If I could legally marry a beauty product, this would be the one I’d choose. Not only does it look more natural than a regular foundation, it literally PREVENTS new zits from forming on your face. I’ve only been using it for three weeks (every morning in place of my usual foundation, which was clogging my pores) and I already see a significant improvement in my complexion."

    Get it from Sephora for $39.50 (available in five shades).

    Check out why a BuzzFeeder's full review (#7) in "10 Life-Changing Beauty Products You Need To Try ASAP" to learn why she swears by this to cover her cystic acne.

    26. A Glow Recipe sleeping mask to let this do all the hard work while you catch up on your beauty sleep. It treats acne with exfoliating PHA and encapsulated retinol (the gentlest form of retinol), while nourishing irritated complexions with hydrating avocado. Get ready to wake up to dewy, soothed skin.

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    Promising review: "It's super nourishing and has lead to a visible improvement in my acne-prone skin, I love it!" —Lindsay L.

    Get it from Glow Recipe for $49.

    27. A bottle of Acure brightening facial scrub that'll be a reliable go-to when you want to exfoliate excess oil away (aka why you're probably breaking out). It's gentle enough to use every day, meaning your acne doesn't have a chance to come back. We are on 👏top👏 of👏 it — all while bringing out a clear, glowing complexion from underneath.

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    Get it from Target for $9.99.

    28. A Dr. Dennis Gross steamer for giving yourself a DIY facial whenever you want in order to draw out those darn whiteheads in the fastest (yet gentlest) way possible. Its ~micro steam~ technology deeply hydrates your skin while also opening up clogged pores, leaving you with a totally refreshed and dewy complexion.

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    It's also a great time to exfoliate or use (gentle) acne products after this, because your pores will be open and ready to better soak in treatments.

    Promising review: "Great product! I've been using it every night and it really has helped. I mainly bought it for my blackheads and I wish I took a before-and-after picture. After the fourth day my blackheads that I had on my nose went dramatically down. It comes with a basic how-to and follow guide inside." —LuckyStar808

    Get it from Sephora for $149.

    29. A Yes To charcoal scrub and cleanser stick so you can wish pimples adieu with just a flick of your wrist. It uses charcoal, moisturizing avocado, and coconut oil to help you gently exfoliate your way back to clear skin *and* no more excess oil.

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    Promising review: "I have very dry skin and ache around my forehead area. I’ve tried every product out there. I've never seen this product before so spent the money and gave it a try! It's the best product! My face feels so smooth and could feel my skin breathe right when I put it on! My face is also clearing up! My face is also very sensitive and put anything on my face it turns red and burns this product doesn’t aggravate my skin at all. I'll definitely buy more once my stick is gone!" —Starbornbaby

    Get it from CVS for $10.99.

    30. A Derma E rebalancing cream, because this'll act like a spot treatment but for your whole darn face whenever you're mid-breakout. It uses tea tree, salicylic acid, and glycerin to reduce redness and irritation, heal acne, and prevent future breakouts.

    Derma E

    Promising review: "I used to have a pretty constant smattering of zits and blackheads. After years of looking for the correct combination of cleansers and toners and moisturizers, this single product made a huge difference in my skin's tendency to breakout. It cleared up big and small pimples without drying my skin out in the least." —Lauren

    Get it from Birchbox for $19.50.

    31. An APTO healing mask to drastically minimize swelling with one simple yet powerful natural ingredient: turmeric. It's essentially the ultimate multitasker — it'll disinfect, decrease inflammation, and slow down cell damage.

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    Promising review: "When my skin is unbalanced, this is my go-to! If my skin is dry and irritated, this product is great. And when my skin is breaking out and red, this product also does the trick! This is one of my favorite products, because it is so versatile!" —ryry17

    Get it from Free People for $16.

    32. An investment-worthy Drunk Elephant night serum for resurfacing broken-out skin overnight thanks to a blend of powerful acids (i.e. glycolic, citric, salicylic, and more). Basically all you need to do is get a full night's sleep while this lifts away dead skin cells and improves overall clarity and brightness.

    Sephora

    You can also use this as a spot treatment!

    Promising review: "Amazing! It really improved my skin. When I have a pimple or just dullness, I can see the difference the next day and in how my skin looks the morning after when I use it or don’t use it." —SarahMD06

    Get it from Sephora for $90.

    Your pimples the minute they meet these...

    LucasFilm

    The reviews for this post have been edited for length and clarity.

    Shopping for something specific? Check out BuzzFeed Reviews to find the best things for every budget!

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    Need more for your skin? Check out Korean skincare products you need to know, cheap skincare products that are even better than luxury brands, products for an even skin tone or to deal with acne scars, or check out all of our beauty content for even more great stuff for your hair, skin, and more.

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