Skip To Content
    May 1, 2020

    Just 17 Quick Acne Fixes I Knew Nothing About When I Was A Teenager

    My skin would've been so different back then. 😩

    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 Avarelle Acne Cover Patches because they would've been way more effective at reducing inflammation than just dabbing toothpaste on my zits.

    amazon.com

    To use, all you do is make sure there's a very small opening on any blemish with a whitehead (aka one that's filled with white gunk), then plop the patch on top to absorb what comes out.

    Promising review: "I love this product! Whenever I have a pimple that is ready to burst (whitehead), I put one of these stickers on for a day and BOOM, it flattens and sucks up all that yucky junk. It feels really comfortable and can be barely noticeable if you have a small pimple that needs to be removed. There were times where I wore these out to school. Great product!" —Jenny

    Get a pack of 40 from Amazon for $8.50.

    2. The Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay mask I would've stocked up on because as a now-adult who's tried this, it's the only non-prescription product I've used that's really helped banish post-acne marks without months and months and months of use.

    amazon.com

    OK, so I finally caved in and bought the Aztec Secret clay mask that we put in virtually all of our articles because those dang reviewer photos just look so impressive. And it was way more affordable than paying another $120 for the Korean face mask system I had been using. I break out once or twice a month, but I typically get huge cystic acne flare-ups that leave dark marks. Using this mask was the single best thing I've done for my skin all year!!!

    I've tried mixing the mask with just water and just apple cider vinegar (ACV) and found that I get a smoother consistency with ACV, so that has been my go-to. I literally use just 1 TEASPOON of clay mask with 1 teaspoon of ACV, and that's enough to cover my whole face and neck in a nice, comfortable, thin layer. I leave the mask on for about 20 minutes — it feels like it's strangling the crap out of my pores!!! — and wash it off. Yes, my face turns red, and yes, it does subside after about 15 minutes.

    My face LOOKS clean and FEELS fresh afterward. I have been using the mask twice a week for the last month and a half, and some huge, dark marks I've had completely faded!! And it helps dry out the cystic breakouts before they can cause too much trouble. Plus, I've got enough product to last possibly another six months because the jar is so huge????

    Considering the fact that post-acne marks really take a long time to fade, this face mask has helped speed up that process for me.

    Get it from Amazon for $12.90.

    3. A jar of Nip + Fab Daily Cleansing Pads containing 2.8% glycolic acid for gentle chemical exfoliation. Between you and me, I didn't really know that good exfoliation habits could help me obtain brighter and clearer skin.

    instagram.com

    These are designed to resurface and retexture your skin, revealing an exfoliated and brightened complexion beneath! And, it contains hyaluronic acid for moisture and witch hazel to tone and soothe.

    Promising review: "I’m really impressed with these pads. I’ve suffered from adult cystic acne for about a decade now, and have tried countless products over the years. Adding these things into my skincare routine has made my skin look bright and clear like porcelain. I still get the occasional blemish, but they’re always very small and go away in a day or two. I highly recommend them." —Caroline Powell

    Get a container of 60 pads from Amazon for $12.95.

    4. This bottle of Glossier Solution that would've doubled down on my dark spots while promoting a smoother skin texture all thanks to good acids like AHA, BHA, and PHA.

    Glossier

    The formula can reduce acne and dark spots, brighten, improve skin tone and texture, unclog pores, exfoliate, and reduce signs of stress.

    Promising review: "I have been struggling with acne for as long as I can remember and Solution has SAVED my skin. Haven't had a pimple since I started using this last month. My usually oily skin has been so soft and glowing and my years of acne scars are vanishing. 100% worth every penny." —MRB

    Get it from Glossier for $24.

    5. A bottle of Eva Naturals Skin-Clearing Serum combining the ~incredible~ powers of 20% vitamin C with 2% salicylic acid, hyaluronic acid, retinol, and niacinamide to reduce inflammation and soothe irritation, which probably would've made my flare-ups look a lot less angry and painful.

    amazon.com

    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 suffered from constant, cystic acne. My pores clog easy and I'm very oily. I am also bi-racial 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 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. Lastly, I did break out the first one to two weeks of use. I was nervous and ready to give up but it cleared up and its been smooth sailing since." —Autumn Johnson

    Get it from Amazon for $14.95.

    6. This Bye Bye Blemish Acne Treatment Drying Lotion since its combo of salicylic acid, sulfur, and other all-natural ingredients makes a strong concoction for drying out small spots without sucking moisture from surrounding skin. Probably the spot treatment I would've hoarded, TBH.

    amazon.com, amazon.com

    No need to shake before using! Just dip a Q-tip right in and apply it to the spot you want to get rid of.

    Promising review: "I have tried almost everything as a spot treatment for acne with minimal results, but this stuff actually works. I put it on at night on my trouble spots, and by morning there is a difference. In just a few days, most of my acne has disappeared or reduced in size and redness. For the price, this stuff is magic in a bottle. You will look a little silly going to bed, but it's worth it for the results. It does have a not great smell, but it fades once it dries on your face. I would highly recommend it." —Amazon Customer

    Get it from Amazon for $9.57.

    7. A bottle of Radha Rosehip Oil because reviewers say it not only hydrates their skin but also reduces redness and breakouts, thanks to the rich blend of fatty acids and antioxidants. Aka, it's perfect if you're like me and always worried about treatments that might help clear my skin but would leave me with dry, peeling patches.

    amazon.com

    Promising review: "I am super busy and not one to ever write reviews, but based on my results with this product I had to take the time. I am so impressed with the softness and glow the next morning. In addition, I get adult acne and the healing process, as well as reduction of the previous scarring, has been amazing. Today someone commented, 'You look great...what are you doing???' For a product under $20, you can't go wrong, worth every penny." —Max Jenkinson

    Get it from Amazon for $16.95.

    8. A tube of Differin gel formulated with a prescription-strength retinoid to help banish any breakouts that would dare to sneak up on me — I would have woken up happier!

    instagram.com

    It's not as harsh as some prescribed retinoids, but it's one to patch test if you have sensitive skin.

    Promising review: "I started using this product when I randomly started breaking out at 23 years old. I haven’t had bad acne since high school so I used this for a few weeks and noticed a significant difference. I went to the dermatologist and she recommended sticking with it! Results take a few weeks or even months to really show, it’s not going to happen over night. It really helps with redness, too!" —Jen

    Get it from Target for $12.99.

    9. This Mario Badescu healing powder that'll both conceal and treat your acne at the same time. It doubles as a setting powder to absorb excess oil — so if like me you thought it was impossible to use makeup and reduce redness at the same time, you might wanna do a double-take with this product.

    Amazon

    PLUS! It leaves room for your pores to breathe, rather than clogging them.

    Promising review: "This stuff is incredible! I have now been using it for three years and every time I get close to running out, I go and buy another one right away. I have adult moderate cystic acne and this stuff really calms it down and helps with redness. Anytime I feel like I am getting a pimple or can see the under-the-skin bump, I will lather this healing powder all over it all day long. Definitely a go-to product and I highly recommend to anyone who suffers from incredibly painful and stubborn cystic acne." —justanothercollegestudent

    Get it from Amazon for $12.

    10. A La Roche-Posay medicated gel cleanser to help reduce the amount of surface oil on my face that added to the birth of many, many whiteheads and blackheads. The 2% salicylic acid is here to help zap those zits while the lipo-hydroxy acid ~gently~ promotes skin cell turnover to get rid of the icky dirt and debris trapped in our pores.

    amazon.com, amazon.com

    The gel is gentle enough to be used twice a day.

    Promising review: "I've tried many, many face washes for blemish-prone skin in my lifetime and this is one of my favorites. It's very mild, lathers beautifully, and leaves your face feeling extremely clean without being tight or stripped of moisture. There was a noticeable difference in the clearness of my skin within the first week of use! I like to wipe my makeup off with a microfiber cloth first, then wash my face with this cleanser to get off the first layer of makeup and gunk. I have many problems with my skin, and this seems to really work for me in terms of gently yet effectively controlling oiliness, acne, and blackheads specifically." —Shoko

    Get it from Amazon for $14.99.

    11. Some Rael Microneedling Acne Patches because 1) I hadn't yet heard of this sorcery, and 2) if I had, its combo of tea tree oil, hyaluronic acid, and itty, bitty needles probably would've helped improve the look of those deep-rooted cysts.

    Amazon

    Promising review: "Let me start off by saying that I've tried my fair share of acne-fighting products over the years. I randomly came across this product while browsing through Amazon, and I was curious about how well it worked. I've tried Rael's pimple patches, which are great for smaller, more surface-level pimples, but I was never able to find something that helped with the deeper pimples. I was a bit skeptical, but I went ahead and bought this product. I put one of these patches and waited about four hours before taking it off and HOLYYYYY. I was shocked to see that the redness and size was about 50% down. I actually couldn't believe it. I didn't apply anything that night and woke up the next morning with the pimple even smaller and less noticeable. This stuff definitely works. It doesn't make your pimple completely vanish (especially if it's deep) but the microneedling technology does something that surface-level creams can't." —Daniel Chang

    Get a pack of nine from Amazon for $11.99.

    12. This bottle of Thayers Witch Hazel formula that contains rose petal water to soothe and moisturize skin. It can tighten your pores, help curb oil production, and reduce any redness — all without any alcohol or parabens.

    AnaMaria Glavan/BuzzFeed

    Personally, I used to be under the misconception that toner would only leave my skin dried out and gasping for moisture. But now that I've tried some toners that actually left my skin feeling soft and hydrated (and glowing by the next morning!!), I'd definitely add a good toner to my teenage skincare routine if I could go back in time.

    Here's what AnaMaria, an editor here at BuzzFeed, has to say about it: "I have combination skin that's prone to redness (especially around my cheeks and nose, with the latter being really annoying), plus the occasional pimple. After two weeks of regularly using this toner in my evening routine, I barely need concealer to cover the Crayola redness under my nostrils. PLUS! It's super effective as spot treatment. This stuff attacks your pimples with the same vendetta that Buffy used to destroy vampires: It works that well." Check out her full write-up for more info!

    Get it from Amazon for $8+ (available in three scents).

    13. A Humane 10% benzoyl peroxide acne wash that's actually safe to use on your face and body so you can tackle face zits and acne on your chest and back with one product that packs a punch. It certainly would've saved me from shelling out more $$$ for two separate products.

    amazon.com

    It's also vegan and cruelty-free!

    Promising review: "I don’t usually do reviews but I had to for this one. I was breaking out so bad and was just so tired of it and was trying so many different products but nothing was working out so I came across this product and read a lot of reviews about it and thought I would try it out. I washed my face with it at night and I quickly saw results in the morning. Over the week of using it, I saw major improvements on my face. In love with this product definitely ordering again." —Shania

    Get it from Amazon for $21.95.

    14. This TonyMoly scrub stick that'll eliminate blackheads from your nose faster than pore strips thanks to its blend of marine plant extracts, black mud, and charcoal.

    amazon.com

    Promising review: "This works wonders on my pores! I used it the first time and it didn’t do much, but then I read a review that said to scratch off a small layer of the surface to reveal the coarser layer and that did the trick. The surface is smoother, but the layer right underneath is a bit more coarse which doesn’t feel harsh to the skin. After gently running it over my pores I definitely see a difference each time I use it. Don’t forget to rinse your face after using it. I have noticed a cleaner and more even complexion immediately after using it. " —Victoria Santiago

    Get it from Amazon for $12.50.

    15. A Michael Todd daily cleanser with honey and oat extracts to naturally reduce inflammation. Plus, it helps balance the pH of your skin, which at the time, I didn't know was important for keeping breakouts at bay.

    Amazon

    Promising review: "I have sensitive and dry skin, and many things I try will break me out. This is my holy grail cleanser! If you're a lazy/one product person like me, you will love this cleanser. I use it in the shower, squirt a couple of pumps in my hand, massage it on my face, and voila! My face is clean and makeup is gone! It even takes off mascara, as long as it's not intensely waterproof. The cleanser itself if very smooth with a bit of viscosity. It comes out like a honey color with a nice, fresh scent of lavender and citrus. I love that it contains honey, which does a great job for calming down the inflammation." —Unicorn

    Get it from Amazon for $23.

    16. Or this vegan Acure brightening scrub made with argan extract and chlorella. Now that I've actually tried this scrub, I totally regret rubbing extra aggressive ones across my skin in an attempt to banish acne marks.

    amazon.com

    BTW, this cult favorite and cruelty-free product has over 2,000 positive reviews, which definitely influenced my decision to buy it for myself. It smells a little earthy, almost like grass (maybe thanks to the added sea kelp???) and it leaves my face feeling super smooth and CLEAN. After using the scrub three times a week for two weeks, I noticed that my face looked brighter overall (win!) and tiny breakouts that had begun accumulating on my chin looked much less irritated. And unlike the plethora of other face scrubs I've tried before, this one didn't leave my skin looking dry or more irritated than when I started.

    Promising review: "Are you kidding? Why didn't I find this sooner? THIS STUFF IS AMAZING. I'm 34, and never had a blemish... until I hit 30. Hormonal cystic acne has plagued my chin and neck for years. I've tried everything from washes, scrubs, microdermabrasion, facials, masks, even antibiotics as a last resort. NOTHING cleared my skin like this! I've been using this product for only two weeks and my skin is clearing beautifully, plus my old acne scars are disappearing. People are making comments about how fresh, young, and healthy my skin looks. It's a small tube, but you only need a pea-sized amount really." —emhart16

    Get it from Amazon for $7.64.

    17. And this TreeActiv acne spot treatment you can actually wear under makeup since it goes on ~crystal clear~. Just let the peppermint and tea tree oil formula work its magic on your breakouts while you go about your day.

    amazon.com

    FYI, this is a great spot treatment for anyone with sensitive skin (which I DEFINITELY had growing up) 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 $18.95.

    Reviews have been edited for length and/or clarity.

    Looking for the perfect gift for any occasion? Check out all of BuzzFeed’s gift guides!

    BuzzFeed

    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.

    Shopping Newsletter

    Find great products and the best-money saving deals around, delivered right to your inbox.
    Newsletter signup form