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    These 28 Things Help Treat Breakouts, And We Have The Proof

    Come for the skincare, stay for the satisfying proof.

    We hope you love the products we recommend! All of them were independently selected by our editors. Just so you know, BuzzFeed may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page if you decide to shop from them. Oh, and FYI — prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.

    1. A pack of Avarelle rounded or extra-large acne patches to heal breakouts FAST without causing scarring (or letting you pick) They're both powered by tea tree oil and calendula oil (all of which are gentle on sensitive skin) to reduce inflammation and absorb pus, whether it's just one zit or a spread-out breakout you can cover with one patch.,

    Promising review: "I’ve tried so many brands of pimple spots, and these are hands-down the best on the market. Last night, I put these on a few acne problems (a small cyst, a whitehead, and a pimple I shouldn’t have picked and has been a bump for about three weeks now). I just woke up and am writing this review in disbelief. THEY'RE FLAT! Gone! All of them! I could cry I’m so happy. The packaging is also ideal, because it allows you to conveniently and easily peel the stickers off without stretching them out or folding them back on themselves. Everyone should have these on-hand for a stubborn zit when you really need them." —Caitlyn

    Get a box of 40 round patches for $8.50 and a box of 8 extra-large patches for $8.50, both from Amazon.

    To learn more, check out "These Satisfying Acne Patches Deserve A National Holiday, Change My Mind".

    2. A retinol serum (a fancy name for vitamin A) that'll balance your complexion, stimulate collagen, and fade hyper-pigmentation. If you've ever so much as sat in a dermatologist's chair you've probably heard of this, because it's so 👏 darn 👏 effective 👏.

    This particular retinol serum is combined with 10% hyaluronic acid, vitamin E, witch hazel, jojoba oil, and green tea to not only exfoliate but *nourish* your complexion. Meaning your skin will be balanced and hydrated, instead of over-exfoliated.

    Promising review: "My skin is so sensitive! I am 35 and have struggled with acne since I was a teen. I have been prescribed so many medications from the dermatologist. I had been using tretinoin, but it really dried my skin out. It was hard to wear makeup, because it would flake off. I decided to give this serum line a try and have been so impressed by the results. I have been using this for two months and my skin is beautiful. I get an occasional breakout, but it goes away quickly. My skin is so soft — no dryness at all! My blackheads have cleared up, too! I have had no adverse reactions and like I said, my skin is so sensitive. Give it a try!!!" —Amanda

    Get it from Amazon for $10.95.

    3. A bottle of tea tree oil so you can slap on a fast-acting natural spot treatment that drastically reduces redness and swelling overnight while you catch up on your beauty sleep. The best part: it'll begin to heal painful swelling before you have time to pick and make it worse. Hands DOWN, my friend.

    Promising review: "I love this product! I mixed it with coconut oil for my son's cystic acne before bed and we were amazed at the results the next morning. Redness and swelling was cut in half. We have tried every OTC product out there and I will definitely keep using this. This is working wonders after two uses." —Sue

    Get it from Amazon for $6.99.

    4. A bottle of Glossier's solution so you can clear breakouts faster than you can say "pop" thanks to this exfoliating blend of alpha hydroxy acid, beta hydroxy acid, and polyhydroxy acid. Acids = happy, happy skin.


    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".

    5. A tub of Aztec healing clay for waging straight WAR on the most intimidating pimples. Seriously, this acts more like a vacuum than a mask — no matter how deep your acne goes, this mask will suction out every clogged pore in its path. AND it works on cystic acne!

    By the way, this works best with apple cider vinegar!

    Promising review: "HOLY MONKEY EATING BANANAS. IT WORKS. I've only used it for two days (at night before sleep) and you can clearly see the difference! All the acnes dries up! It also makes my pores smaller. My skin feels smoother, I swear it looks like I'm wearing primer on my face. It's amazing." —karen

    Get it from Amazon for $10.95+ (available in two sizes).

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

    6. A Cosmedica hyaluronic serum, because this'll treat your skin to this widely-loved, holy grail ingredient. It addresses really every skin-clearing goal you could have — an even skin tone, brightness, clearing pimples, and encouraging our complexion to be smoother and softer. Think of this as an easy-peasy form of skin TLC.,

    Btw, this is used by both people with oily and dry skin (and is safe for sensitive skin!) — it counteracts oil overproduction with natural hydration *and* gently restores moisture to parched complexions.

    Promising review: "It works so well! I've been using the hyaluronic acid for about two weeks now, and my skin has felt full and smooth ever since! It also seems to have reduced oil production and eliminated the formation of whiteheads; I credit that to this helping my skin retain water and not having to produce so much oil." —J. Morris

    Get it from Amazon for $10.95+ (available in three sizes).

    7. A bottle of Acure brightening facial scrub for exfoliating away excess oil (the pesky cause of most breakouts). It's gentle enough to use every day, meaning treated acne won't have a chance to come back. We are on 👏top👏 of👏 it — all while bringing out a clear, glowing complexion from underneath.

    Its vegan formula helps to stimulate new cell growth with a chlorella growth factor. And it's cruelty-free!

    Promising review: "This stuff is a lifesaver. Recently my doctor put me on steroids to clear up my allergies. I immediately started breaking out like I was 15 again (it was one of the side effects). I didn't have a good exfoliator and this one had such good reviews that I decided to try it out. It really works! In eight days my skin was almost back to normal and it felt clean as can be! My dark acne spots were significantly lighter and all the little bumps I had were gone. Will be buying this from here on out." —janelle

    Get it from Amazon for $7.93.

    8. A Breylee tea tree serum that'll employ tea tree oil and plant extracts to nourish broken-out skin back to clarity. It's gentler than salicylic acid (aka traditional acne treatments), but every bit as effective at telling pimples to stay away.


    Promising review:" I can see great results! I use a small amount on my cystic acne areas and leave it on overnight and the next morning the redness of bumps reduces quickly! It may take more time to totally clear it up. But I'm so happy with it. I finally found a product that helps my cystic breakouts." —Malinco

    Get it from Amazon for $10.99.

    9. A pack of Bioré pore strips to draw blackheads, dirt, and oil out of clogged pores from your nose and forehead like a freaking magnet. Deep clean does not even BEGIN to define these. We're ready to *turn our noses up* at anything costlier than these life-savers.

    Promising review: "This product has been a favorite blackhead removal of mine for years and years. I only use this about once every couple of weeks and every time I am amazed at how much oil and dead skin buildup these strips remove. The application process is simple and easy, I tend to apply this right after a shower (because the steam helps the product work better/open up pores).This product has never dried out my skin, broken my skin, or failed to remove blackheads and I recommend this everyone." —Jennifer N

    Get a pack of 14 from Amazon for $7.52.

    To learn more, check out "These Amazingly Satisfying Pore Strips Are A Cult Favorite For A Reason".

    10. An Eva Naturals skin-clearing serum so you can depend on one heck of a formula that attacks breakouts ~head on~. We're talking 5% hyaluronic acid, 2% salicylic acid, and 20% vitamin C — just to name a few. Tl;dr: acne doesn't stand a chance.

    Promising review: "I purchased this product in April and have waited this long to write a review, because I wanted to give it time to work. I'm 38 and have suffered from constant, cystic acne. My pores clog easy and I'm very oily. I am also biracial and scar very easily. Since April I think I've had three pimples (all period-related) that went away very quickly. That's a miracle. I put this product on at night after my shower and make sure it dries well. I'm still good on product and probably won't be reordering for another few weeks. I only use a small amount every day. I haven't been more pleased with something I bought on here or ANY store since...well never." —Autumn Johnson

    Get it from Amazon for $14.93.

    11. A bottle of Teddie Organics rose water toner spray for treating your acne on-the-go and telling redness and oily T-zones to take a hike. You just have to spritz. Not to mention it has a heavenly 🌹rose scent 🌹.

    It'll also restore your skin's pH balance and fade redness. It's everything you want your toner to do, except now you can use it WHEREVER. Plus it's organic and suitable for sensitive skin!

    Promising review: "I have very acne-prone and sensitive skin that is pale with pink and red undertones. I break out very easily, and my skin is irritated even by the 'sensitive skin' brands and formulas. I have used EVERYTHING under the sun to aid in redness and sensitivity, and nothing has worked to calm flare-ups like this. I wake up and my skin is glowing and peachy pale, as opposed to red and blotchy. This rose water has not only improved my skin's redness and overall tone, but it has virtually eliminated any signs on acne. I use before I put on my redness moisturizer and before bed as a refresher. I also find myself spritzing at various times of the day, because the fragrance is so pleasant." —Kathy Pancake

    Get it from Amazon for $10.

    See what won best toners on BuzzFeed Reviews.

    12. A Radha rosehip oil, because this'll require merely a few drops to tackle redness, scarring, pimples, and everything in-between. Reviewers use this before bed and wake up to ✨glowing✨, healing skin! Nothing will get in your way of clear skin again...not on this bb's watch.

    Promising review: "This stuff is amazing. My skin has virtually no breakouts, appears smoother, and feels smoother now that I use this. I’m 32 and still get cystic acne, been on Accutane twice, and nothing worked. I’m so happy BuzzFeed had an article about it, I’m sold! Yes, its pretty oily, but it soaks in. I use it in the a.m. as my moisturizer and at p.m. before bed. It has a yellow tint, but fades after soaking in. I highly recommend it." —Emily Jacob

    Get it from Amazon for $14.95.

    To learn more, check out "This Facial Oil Will Solve All Your Skin’s Problems".

    13. A TreeActiv cystic acne spot treatment that'll let you join the hundreds of reviewers who say this shaves 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.

    It also has pink grapefruit essential oil (to reduce inflammation, kill infections, and promote collagen production), witch hazel (to clear excess sebum and balance oil production), tea tree water and essential oil (to moisturize and tone), and aloe vera (to promote vitamin E and C and help your skin recover). SO YEAH, IT DOES A LOT.

    Promising review: "I’ll be honest — I really didn’t want to like this product. I wanted to be rid of my acne, but I wasn’t really interested in shelling out 25 bucks for a quarter-sized container — but OH MY GOSH. I have struggled with cystic acne on my chin and chest since I was 12 (over half of my life). I have tried everything short of Accutane. I tried this about a month before a wedding I was supposed to be in, AND MY CHIN AND CHEST WERE COMPLETELY CLEAR IN TWO WEEKS! This has happened maybe five times ever in my life! I have only had one cystic pimple come up in the month I’ve used this, and it lasted half as long! I cannot tell you how happy I am. One tiny container has lasted me over a month (which is impressive seeing as I used it to cover large portions)." —CAM

    Get it from Amazon for $23.95.

    To learn more about this, check out "Hundreds Of People Swear By This Spot Treatment For Cystic Acne".

    14. A LilyAna retinol cream so you can gain the skin-clearing benefits of traditional retinol *without* any of the usual drying side effects. It's gentle enough to use both morning and night, and heals acne with a powerful combo of hyaluronic acid, green tea, vitamin E, and shea butter. Talk about a dream team.

    Promising review: "This is the first time I've ever taken the time to write an Amazon review, and it's for good reason. This stuff is AMAZING! I am 19 year old and have always had acne. I also do a sport where I come into contact with a lot of outside stuff on my face, so it's really difficult for me to keep up a consistent skincare routine. I started using it after I got it (five days ago) and am already seeing amazing results. It healed some of the acne scars on my cheeks and has taken off a lot of the whiteheads. It's also making my face look more radiant. I totally recommend this to anyone of any age who has acne and acne scarring." —Amazon Customer

    Get it from Amazon for $19.99.

    15. A bar of 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.

    Promising review: "I started taking medication that breaks my skin out pretty badly. I have tried medicated acne products to eradicate this unwanted side effect to my oral medicines. At first they seemed to work; but I had to stick with them for several days in order to see results. The very first time I used this brand of black soap, I could immediately see and feel how clean my skin got. I was consistent with washing my face with this soap every day for the first two weeks but slacked off for the past two weeks; however, my skin is mostly clear of pimples. The dark spots are also lightening. My overall complexion has improved noticeably and I am grateful." —BajanMarge

    Get it from Amazon for $14.95.

    16. 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, pimples be darned. Essentially, it tells harsher cleansers to clear out in the name of a gentler treatment and fast results.

    Promising review: "I'm not the type of customer to rave over a product, but this cleanser has become my holy grail. After a couple of uses, my milia went away and my skin has gotten so much softer and dewier. I do combine this cleanser with Mizon All in One Snail Cream, and honestly you can't find another iconic duo." —Tiffany Nguyen

    Get it from Amazon for $9.98.

    To learn more, check out a BuzzFeeder's *glowing* review in "I Swear By This Highly-Rated Low pH Gel Cleanser To Clean Out My Pores".

    17. A pore vacuum to treat your enlarged blackheads with EFFICIENCY. It's just as effective as it sounds — it suctions buildup hidden in clogged pores, exfoliates dead skin cells, and removes excess oil (so they can't come back). Aka if you use this the night before, your nose will still be clear come morning.,

    Promising review: "I bought this blackhead remover for my T-zone, because I have blackheads on my nose a lot. It really works and I love it!!! I used my facial steamer for about five minutes before using this blackhead remover. It removed so much gunk! It has great suction and gets the tiny blackheads in a pinch! And you can see the oily bits come out stick to the machine heads, but not painfully or with any discomfort." —Viola

    Get it from Amazon for $25.99.

    This is pretty powerful (reviewers say not to keep it on one spot for too long), so if you have super sensitive skin I'd suggest using gentler — but equally effective! — pore strips ($7.52 on Amazon).

    18. A bottle of La Roche-Posay gel acne cleanser, because this formula of salicylic acid will STRONGLY encourage breakouts and excess oil to ~clear out~. In fact, they won't really have a choice.

    Promising review: "This product has been a game-changer. Completely. The Effaclar medicated gel cleanser has worked better for my adult onset cystic acne than any other product I’ve tried on the market. As you can see in the photo (above), I’ve been using Effaclar for about a year now and it has remained effective. I no longer find painful cysts on my chin and jaw area. At first I thought it was the novelty of a new product that my skin hadn’t gotten used to yet, because that’s happened to me with everything else I’ve tried. But after a year, I’m still acne-free." —Cameron Newhouse

    Get it from Amazon for $11.99.

    19. A bottle of Ebanel drying lotion so you can 👏 kill 👏 those 👏 zits on sight and keep you from popping or picking — aka making everything worse. Dab this on, go to sleep, and wake up a whole lot happier.

    Promising review: "Wow! I am seriously amazed by how much better this works than more expensive acne products. I got one of the worst breakouts in my life all around my jaw line and forehead, and this stuff has been clearing it up in one application. I’m on my third day and they’re almost gone. This definitely works!" —Mimicakes

    Get it from Amazon for $14.20.

    20. A set of PleasingCare green tea oil-absorbing tissues for taking blotting sheets one step further by absorbing excess oil and controlling shine AND soothing irritated complexions with green tea. Under $15 and more refreshing than most high-end skincare? I call witchcraft.

    They're even all-natural! They're made from 100% natural linen fibers with organic bamboo charcoal to keep you nice and fresh all day.

    Promising review: "I've had oily skin my whole life and have used countless types of oils blotting sheets because they're life savers. THESE ARE AMAZING. They're a great deal, big sheets, and they pull out one at a time so easily. I'll never go back to other brands. Give these a try — they're completely worth it. They work well and are easy to use. I have no negative things to say at all." —Kelsey

    Get a pack of 200 for $11.95+ (available in three formulas).

    21. A Seoul Ceuticals vitamin C serum that'll nourish irritated complexions with a powerful blend of hyaluronic acid and vitamin C. It'll reduce pores and breakouts, target discoloration, and make your overall complexion ~brighter~. I think this serum is already more productive than I'll ever be.

    Promising review: "My dermatologist has had me on the nearly $200 Skinceuticals for a couple of years and I have bought it several times. I have tried to get off of it, but it does do something to my skin. So imagine when I find out about this product, Seoul Ceuticals? First I felt like a total chump — I can't believe I had paid so much in the past. Then I thought, it won't possibly work? Then I thought, hey, what do I have to lose? I've had it for about a week now and it is wonderful! I seriously think it might work better than the other product. My skin felt more smooth within just a couple of days." —M. B. Shaw

    Get it from Amazon for $16.99.

    22. A Christina Moss Naturals facial cleanser so your skincare routine can still work quickly on your sensitive skin and clear out any pesky blackheads, clogged pores, and even cystic pimples. The best part? Its formula is all-natural, organic, and SUPER gentle so your skin will never get irritated.

    Its main ingredients (drumroll, please): rosemary flower extract (to cleanse and control oils), olive fruit oil (to prevent and reverse damage from UV rays), aloe vera juice (to help heal irritated, broken-out skin), and coconut oil (to smooth and moisturize).

    Promising review: "I'm one of those people that didn't have to be concerned with skincare until adulthood, because I literally never got any pimples or blackheads as a teenager. With that said, when I did start having issues I was mortified and have spent hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars on products over the last 10 years trying to find the product that would clear up my cystic acne/oily skin. It has been just under two weeks since I started this product and I can already see my skin looking 50% better than when I started. I'm getting compliments left and right, and people are asking me what I am doing different to make my skin glow. It's AMAZING! I think I have finally found what my skin has been craving for the last 15 years." —Kristina Owens

    Get it from Amazon for $22.99.

    23. A Honeyskin Organics cream, because this'll relieve extremely dry and irritated skin (including rosacea, eczema, and psoriasis) that can sometimes go hand-in-hand with acne. Manuka honey, amino acids, and vitamins C, E, and A work together to seriously soothe, hydrate, and restore your skin's pH levels. A nightly routine with this will put you on the fast track to a MUCH calmer complexion.

    Promising review: "I don’t write many reviews, but I have to say this product right here is hands-down THE BEST face cream I’ve used! I’m in love! I have autoimmune disease (Hashimoto’s to be exact) and I suffer from all kinds of unpleasant things that come out on my face, like cystic acne, dark spots, large pores, redness, itchiness, etc. Just within a few days of using this, I saw a huge difference in the appearance of my skin. It’s never felt this amazing either! I even use it on my hands before I go to bed — totally hooked!" —KELLEY S

    Get it from Amazon for $14.97+ (available in four sizes).

    24. A Shea Moisture black soap bar for clearing up eczema and psoriasis breakouts before you have time to scratch. Its blend of aloe, tea tree oil, and soothing oats not only calms irritated skin (hello, deep moisture), but also effectively treats acne! Is there anything this can't do? NO.


    It *also* has lemon balm and gotu kola to conquer acne-causing, irritating bacteria. Basically this has all the clarifying properties of their cult-favorite African black soap ($5.99), but with the added benefits of helping to treat eczema and psoriasis!

    Promising review: "It took four doctors to tell me that I had psoriasis, and I had it bad — all over my back, legs, arms, chest, and hands. I started using this immediately and I am mostly cleared up. The doctor wanted to put me on Humira, which has all kinds of side effects. Plus, this soap makes your skin smooth and smells good. Even my doctor is impressed." —George

    Get a pack of two from Amazon for $11.99.

    25. A TruSkin tea tree serum that'll live up to the already thousands of positive reviews it has. Its powerful blend of 20% vitamin C, retinol, niacinamide, salicylic acid, and hyaluronic acid work together to unclog stubborn pores and deeply nourish irritated skin — which is a nice way to say it tells cystic breakouts to get the heck out of here.

    Basically, anything with retinol resurfaces new skin so deep pimples can be brought to a head, leaving your complexion clearer, glowing, and moisturized.

    Promising review: "The stuff is seriously unbelievable. I’ve had terrible skin my entire life including a long stent with Accutane in my teens. After reading a lot of reviews, I finally decided to pull the trigger with this product and I’m really happy I did. After I put on some witch hazel and then apply the stuff, my skin feels a little tingly/burning, but it only lasts for 30 seconds then it feels amazing. I’ve been doing this for less than three weeks and my skin has changed dramatically. The cystic acne that I’ve had for almost 20 years is gone. The sallow skin color and red spots are completely gone. This product is worth it and every way — go buy it now." —Missy Moore

    Get it from Amazon for $24.79.

    26. A TreeActiv acne spot treatment to take an *incognito* approach to treating acne. This goes on CLEAR, aka you can wear it under your makeup to let its peppermint and tea tree oil formula have a word with your pimple as you go about your day. The conversation will go like this: go away.

    FYI, this is a great spot treatment for anyone with sensitive skin because it's gentler than most!

    Promising review: "This is the first time I've ever used Tree Activ. I absolutely love the product. I use it both at night time, as well as during the day under my makeup. I've used other acne products that were supposed to be able to go under your makeup. However, they would leave a residue when blending and it would flake even after waiting for it to dry. This product dries quickly and leaves no residue, which saves me time in the morning. As far as acne control it actually works. This clears up acne or a single pimple in about one to two days, which is awesome! I tried it initially because of the reviews ,and it did not disappoint." —Amber Bracamonte

    Get it from Amazon for $18.

    27. A Mad Hippie vitamin C serum for brightening *and* evening out your skin tone with one easy-to-use product. Its blend of kojac root, vitamin c, and hyaluronic acid work together to diminish both active breakouts and scarring — leaving your complexion smooth and radiant.

    Promising review: "This stuff is MAGICAL! I had been using a more expensive vitamin c serum for the past six months, but it just didn't seem to do much. I started getting facial peels to help with acne scars and needed something to help keep my skin looking healthy, with some additional sun protection. Enter Mad Hippie. This stuff is packed with so much goodness, I can really see a visible change in my skin. It has helped with clearing acne, doesn't make my skin oily, and is super gentle. I would highly recommend any of their product line." —DLC

    Get it from Amazon for $27.19.

    28. A Mederma scar cream so you can diminish any scarring left from past breakouts, because no acne should mean TOTALLY clear skin. A little dab of this per night and soon enough dark spots will be a distant memory.

    Promising review: "I had a sudden outburst of acne and wanted to get rid of the scars. I was looking for something effective and found this. I started using it three times and day and applied on my face and I can see the acne already disappearing." —Ed

    Get it from Amazon for $16.46.

    But don't forget, acne or no acne:


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

    Need more for your skin? Check out Korean skincare products you need to know, drugstore products that actually fight acne, products to help deal with dry skin, or check out all of our beauty content for even more great stuff for your hair, skin, and more.

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