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    Updated on May 12, 2020. Posted on Aug 10, 2019

    20 Acne Products Under $20 That Reviewers Actually Swear By

    Peace out, acne!

    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.

    Adult acne is the annoying, unwanted guest that keeps showing up, so here are a few products for the next time it crashes your party. And HOORAYYYY, they're all under $20!

    NBC Studios / Via giphy.com

    This is the dance we're doing as acne somberly makes its way to the party exit. Byeeee! I combed through every valid corner of the internet to find the acne products that reviewers swear by. From gels to powders to liquids to wipes, you'll find a nice variety of formulas and textures to try for different needs, skin types, and preferences.

    1. Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay clears up acne blemishes, redness, minimizes pores, and reduces oiliness. It's made of 100% bentonite clay that the whole internet seems to worship.

    amazon.com

    This bentonite clay has OVER 12,000 five-star reviews on Amazon. The clay is obviously doing something right and maybe it's time you went and sipped the tea on this thing for yourself, no? The clay is vegan and cruelty-free as it has no fragrances, additives, or products derived from animals.

    Promising review: "All I have to say is WOW. This mask was the holy grail product for my hormonal acne. I had pretty clear skin with an occasional breakout a couple of times a month until I turned 21 and then my face was breaking out all over my chin and cheek area. Some of my acne was cystic and others were just small whiteheads I couldn't pop. I've spent thousands (not exaggerating) of dollars on different products that claim to 'clear acne' and nothing worked for me or it made it worse. It's been one week using this and I already see drastic results. You may experience a few breakouts the first couple times of use because that's your skin detoxifying and bringing everything out to the surface. After that phase, I haven't had any new breakouts and inflammation on my trouble spots has gone down. I used to use so many different products on my face and now my new routine is cleansing, this mask, and a moisturizer. I've also been using this mask nightly only as a spot treatment on my bumpier parts of my face. I'll be recommending this product to anyone with problematic skin. No more spending $$$ on brand-name products!" —Jamie

    Get it from Amazon for $9.99.

    2. Tarte Blemish Bully Acne Spot Treatment helps clear up acne spots, minimize pores, and decrease redness. This treatment is made with acne-destroying ingredients like salicylic acid (cleans up clogged pores) and vitamin B3 (reduces inflammation). The formula also works to prevent scarring after the acne clears up.

    Tarte Cosmetics

    Animal lovers will be pleased to know that this is a vegan acne product!

    Promising review: "This spot treatment is everything! I tend to break out oddly in my brows and along my chin. I used this and overnight the redness and inflammation were very visibly reduced. It can be slightly drying (only where you place the product) but I believe that just means it's working. I definitely recommend." —Stephania M.

    Get it from Tarte Cosmetics for $16 (available with a 15% off discount code if you sign up for the Tarte email list).

    3. Mario Badescu Drying Lotion treats pimples overnight with salicylic acid, calamine for cooling and soothing the inflamed area, and sulfur to draw out oil and impurities. This drying lotion is meant for whiteheads although some reviewers say it helps treat bumps before they fully form.

    amazon.com, Mario Badescu / Via instagram.com

    This drying lotion, per the obvious name, is a DRYINGGGGGG lotion, which means you want to use it to spot treat only to ensure that it dries up the infected pimples and not your overall skin. The brand recommends you use a cotton swab to apply it directly to pimples. Using this all over your face every single day (especially with that prominent sulfur ingredient) is simply not the move, even if you have oily skin. It could cause more blemishes so less is way more, peeps. Two major keys to making beauty products work for your skin are to note their ingredients and use them the way they are designed to be used. Copy? K! By the way, this drying lotion is vegan and cruelty-free.

    Promising review: "I've been wanting to buy this for years but never took the plunge because I thought $17 was too expensive for the tiny bottle. Psssh. I finally bought it and it works even better than I thought. I have a serious picking/squeezing problem but this stuff dries up the zit so quick that I don't have time to pick! I should have bought it sooner and will never not have it in my arsenal again. Excellent stuff!" —Angela Yocum

    Get it from Amazon for $17.

    4. Murad Keep Calm And Poreless Set decreases acne blemishes, minimizes oil, and hydrates the skin. The set includes travel-size versions of the Oil and Pore Control Mattifier with SPF 45 and Rapid Relief Acne Spot Treatment.

    Murad

    Yesssss for an acne skincare set that takes some effort out of piecing together different products to treat your blemishes. This set is one of the newest (and most affordable) additions to the Murad lineup compromised of two of its existing acne products. The mattifier has SPF 45 which is already an amaze-balls feature to add but it's also an oil-free formula that is meant to moisturize and reduce the appearance of pores by at least 54%. The brand says that the moisturizer also provides up to 10 hours of oil, shine, and pore control while the acne spot treatment is supposed to reduce blemishes in at least four hours. Additionally, it's cruelty-free and gluten-free.

    Promising review (for SPF 45 Mattifier): "I have oily skin and live in Florida so summers normally mean a greasy appearance after a few minutes outside no matter what. I received this product as a free sample and tried it today while laying out by the pool and wow! Even in 90-degree heat, I definitely noticed my skin was less oily even in direct sun. It has a very light silky texture and goes on clear with little rubbing in, and doesn't have a heavy feeling like a lot of other sunscreens do." —Jwb3

    Promising review (for Rapid Relief Acne Spot Treatment): "I've been using this product for a couple of weeks now and I really like it! It does a good job of clearing up my acne overnight or during the day within a few hours. It doesn't leave my skin overly dry either." —Nbarvo

    Get it from Murad for $19.

    5. Rael Acne Pimple Healing Patches extracts pus and other gunk from a bump that's come to a head thanks to the ingredient hydrocolloid. Its purpose is to shorten the overall time a pimple lasts on your face. Translation: Impatient pimple poppers, THIS JAM IS FOR YOU!

    amazon.com

    Pimples patches work best on bumps that have already become whiteheads and don't work for blackheads. I have tried patches on less mature pimples to catch them before they become whiteheads. They do decrease the bump sizes but take an extra wear-session or two before the gunk from the bump is totally extracted.

    Promising review: "I am a sufferer of hormonal cystic acne and I am a pimple popper. I love these patches for several reasons. They prevent me from touching the pimple further infecting the area around it. I also feel the pimple heals faster when covered with these. I have had several small pimples disappear overnight and large cystic acne healed within four to five days compared to several weeks! I wear them throughout the day in my corporate, business professional job since they are clear. If ever a pimple and turns white, I change it. They are inexpensive so I have them stashed EVERYWHERE and use them ALL THE TIME. I highly recommend them and I will be a life long buyer of these!" —Jmays2800

    Get them from Amazon for $15.99

    6. Neutrogena Body Clear Acne Treatment Wash cleans out clogged pores and reduces oiliness with salicylic acid because unwanted bacne is just as annoying as face pimples. This type of acne treatment fits into your regular-degular shower time to minimize steps in your skincare routine. It also smells like grapefruit and what isn't great about that?

    Neutrogena / Via instagram.com

    Promising review: "I am 23 years old. I have never had acne anywhere else but I’ve ALWAYS had mild acne on my buttocks... I have been using this body wash for about a month. I use it on my buttocks and I also use it after I shave my legs, etc... Let me tell you that it’s AMAZING. I don’t have any bumps or ingrown hairs. My buttocks is CLEAR for the first time in YEARS. After I rinse my conditioner out of my hair I wash my behind. I will NEVER ever use anything other than this. It's life-changing, smells amazing, and works like magic. I noticed dramatic results after about a week of using it every time I shower." —Nathan Rush

    Get it from Amazon for $6.67.

    7. Radha Beauty Rosehip Oil diminishes acne along with fine lines, stretch marks, and hyperpigmentation. Plus, it promotes nail health! (Um, it might even improve your credit score based on this long list of improvements...?!).

    amazon.com

    It's also a cruelty-free product as it's not tested on animals!

    Promising review: "This oil is amazing!! It has evened out my skin tone, balanced my oily and dry patches, and cleared up blemishes all in only two weeks of use. This is the best my skin has ever looked. Everyone needs to use this oil!!! This has made such a difference with my skin that friends and coworkers are even noticing. I lather it on generously every night and again in the morning. The oil does have an orange color but once it is absorbed into the skin you can't notice. My only complaint is that it has left a little orange stain behind on my pillowcases. But if that is what it takes for me to have beautiful skin, I can deal with it!" —Alyssa

    Get it from Amazon for $14.95.

    8. Palmer's Skin Success Anti-Dark Spot Fade Cream lightens dark spots with hydroquinone, improves fine lines and unclogs pores with retinol, and brightens and evens overall skin tone with vitamin C. Prepare to kiss hyperpigmentation left by blemish scars GOODT-BYE.

    Palmer's

    Palmer's products are cruelty-free!

    Promising review: "For 11 years I have experienced acne/acne scars and a skin condition (acanthosis nigricans) that causes darkening of the skin. I bought this with little hope it would work but wow. It not only lightened up my skin but also helped calm some of my acne, which happened in less than a week!!! I swear by this product now." —Carrie

    Get it from Walmart for $5.12.

    9. Neutrogena Light Therapy Acne Spot Treatment kills acne-causing bacteria with a red light and calms inflammation with its blue light. The two-minute spot treatment is UV- and chemical-free.

    Walmart

    This spot treatment is designed specifically for people with skin that's sensitive to dang-near everything (meee!) and have trouble finding products to treat their acne without disturbing their skin allergies. I can't count how many times I found a product that cleared my pimples yet triggered my atopic dermatitis (a form of eczema) and not enough brands make products that address both skin issues.

    Promising review: "After a few weeks, my severe acne has almost gone. I love this product. After just a few days, my cystic acne started to diminish. I used to have acne as a kid and never thought I'd get it again but I did! I have very sensitive skin and I was using benzoyl peroxide to get rid of the bacteria in combination with salicylic acid. My skin was very irritated, so I thought I'd try this approach. I'm sincerely amazed at the results." —Neutrogena Customer

    Get it from Walmart for $16.96.

    10. BESTOPE Blackhead Removal Kit removes pimples without causing unnecessary redness or spreading bacteria. This kit comes with five different needles for different pimple sizes and a case to store them in when you aren't using them.

    A silver tin (shaped like an eyeglass case) is black on the inside and has five skinny slots where the blackhead remover tools are sitting. A hand is holding one of the tools which has a looped end.
    amazon.com

    Using this set is fairly easy. Just cleanse your face, disinfect the tools with alcohol, and then press the end of the tool down onto the pimple you want to extract the fluids from. The ends of these needles are oval-shaped and circular because they will add pressure to the area just outside of your bump as opposed to popping the actual bump and irritating the area.

    Promising review: "My skin is super super sensitive and usually when I pop pimples, they end up looking worse than before (especially with blackheads). This kit is so amazing!!! I just poke the pimple or blackhead with the sharp end then use the loop-shaped thing and the redness goes away in about half an hour instead of multiple days! It makes my blackheads disappear, turns bumps that usually aren't pop-able into small spots that go away within a day, and makes it way less painful to pop hormonal acne! I would seriously recommend this to anyone and especially to people with sensitive skin." —Sara Velasquez

    Get it from Amazon for $7.99+ (available in three color options).

    11. Aliceva Blackhead Remover mask set draws out oil, dirt, and other impurities from your skin and then peels off like a sticker. It also comes with an application brush for spreading the mask evenly.

    amazon.com

    Promising review: "I'm a teen and going through some skin issues. I asked my mom to buy this for me and she was hesitant at first because it may not work as advertised/described. I'm really loving this mask. It is clearing up my skin, especially my nose and T-zone. My skin feels tickly when I peel off the mask. I do like to apply liberally and let it dry. It smells really good too. The silicone brush that comes with it is an added bonus, making it easy to brush without getting my hands gooey. I plan on buying this product again. My skin feels baby soft and less bumpy." —Nat

    Get it from Amazon for $15.95.

    12. La Roche-Posay Effaclar Purifying Foaming Gel Cleanser unclogs pores while giving your face a foamy good time. Its main ingredient is zinc pidolate which is meant to remove excess oil and keep your skin hydrated.

    La Roche-Posay

    Promising review: "I have acne-prone skin. Some of it is hormonal or happens when I eat too much sugar. With this cleanser, some of my issues have diminished and I feel like my skin is smoother and better." —A.

    Get it from Amazon for $7.59.

    13. Breylee Acne Treatment Serum decreases grease secretion and inflammation with the anti-fungal properties of tea tree.

    amazon.com

    Rub it on your entire face or use it as a spot treatment. Depending on your skin sensitivities, you can also use this serum only a couple of times a week instead of daily.

    Promising review: "I truly love it! It has helped my skin tremendously. So far, my experiences with this tea tree serum have been amazing. I have extremely sensitive, olive skin with hyperpigmentation and acne scars. I've felt my complexion has been dulling in my 30s. After using this serum for two bottles, I am amazed. My skin has been so even, I've stopped getting the cystic acne that's been plaguing my skin, and my skin has a glow again. I will seriously never stop using this product." —Halsey Nicole

    Get it from Amazon for $10.99+ (available in a set and in a hyaluronic oil version for additional skin needs).

    14. The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Solution clears up acne blemishes, dryness, dullness, and a few other issues thanks to ingredients like salicylic acid (obvs) and witch hazel.

    Sephora

    Running up a huge tab in Sephora is as easy as saying "hi" to the security guard near the door and boom, the cart is full. It's hard to believe that the same store that carries a $105 acid skincare treatment can ~also~ house this acne solution for well under $10. That alone is enough to make you feel way better about Sephora's "oops and add to cart" effect. It's even easier knowing that this solution is vegan, cruelty-free, and without oil, alcohol, silicone, nuts, gluten, and fragrance. Booyah!

    Promising review: "Love it! This solution works really well on my deep cystic acne. It also has helped make large pores on my nose appear smaller. I paid five times as much on a similar product not sold here and it didn't work as well. I also use it on my bikini line where no matter what, there were always bumps. Not anymore!" —Lizziemom1984

    Get it from Sephora for $5.30.

    15. Pre-soaked Neutralyze Exfoliating Pads prevent excessive pimple-picking by keeping your beauty routine finger-free and as the salicylic acid removes dead skin cells and build-up.

    amazon.com

    Acne pads and wipes are super convenient for anyone who prefers to not put one finger on their face. Limiting how often your hands touch your face is a good cleanliness practice that has helped me to minimize stray pimples from popping up. If you're a hands-off kind of person, then perhaps these wipes will be your new jam. They come with 100 WIPES which is more than enough to give them a sincere try. The wipes are free of parabens, sulfates, and fragrances. They're also cruelty-free.

    Promising review: "I have tried so many different acne treatments, I became apathetic toward ever finding something that would work like this works. This product has completely changed my life. Minor blemishes, as well as painful, cystic acne, cleared up noticeably within a few days. Now, after over one month of use, I no longer have ANY cystic acne. The blemishes I get are shallow, easy to get rid of, and easily covered. It's nothing short of a miracle. I was worried about it drying out my skin since I have VERY dry skin but it doesn't! I don't even need to use a moisturizer. As an added bonus, it doesn't burn! I love this product and would recommend it to anyone struggling with chronic adult acne that nothing else helps with." —Sami Thiessen

    Get them from Amazon for $19.95.

    16. A COSRX Blackhead Brush extracts blackheads by removing sebum tucked away in your pores and oiliness with soft microfiber bristles that help you go hard with the blackhead clearing process while still taking it easy on your skin.

    Dermstore

    This brush is paraben-free, sulfate-free, gluten-free, oil-free, and fragrance-free.

    Promising review: "The bristles are quite fine and soft. As directed by the packaging, the brush is to be used with a foaming product. When I’ve done so, it has helped my cleanser to better remove blackheads. As a side benefit, I regularly use it to apply a 10% AHA, 0.5% BHA resurfacing mask. It’s easier to apply and massage into the skin with this brush. Since I have greater control over the application, there’s a lot less stinging." —Verified Purchaser

    Get it from Dermstore for $12.

    17. Dr. Jart+ Dermask Micro Jet Clearing Solution helps you sneak in some self-care time while tending to your acne. The mask features salicylic acid, tea tree oil, and niacinamide to decrease breakouts plus glutathione to get rid of redness and acne scars.

    Dr. Jart

    Face mask and chill days are still on!

    Promising review: "This is definitely one of my fave sheet masks and I think it's a good value for the price. I use these nearly once per week and I notice a change in my skin. Small blemishes clear themselves up overnight, deeper pimples come to the surface to be delightfully poppable, and overall, my skin stays clearer. If you're like me and have intermittent acne and little pimples, then this is a great solution to help stay clear." —Ssrini

    Get it from Sephora for $9.

    18. Mario Badescu Healing Powder draws out oil and impurities with sulfur, reduces excess oil with kaolin clay, and soothes skin while absorbing oil with zinc oxide. Translation: This powder is basically meant to karate chop oil in its throat so it stops causing acne drama in your life. Are you down or are you down?!

    Amazon

    The powder also helps clear up existing redness and blemishes. You can use a brush to dust the powder onto your body or a cotton swab to spot treat specific bumps that have come to a head. Also, for the makeup freaks in the back: This is NOOOT a setting powder. Put this on before your makeup to ensure it doesn't interfere with your beat. However, much like those setting powder pots, this powder can get pretty messy. The trick is to apply it with a small brush and not your fingers or a foundation-size brush. This powder is also cruelty-free.

    Promising review: "After trying multiple other products and lots of online searching I came across this product and decided that because of the low price, I would give it a try. I use it mostly at night after cleansing right before bed. A little goes a long way. I have noticed my cystic acne getting much better, I'm not getting as much and when I do get a pimple it doesn't stay as long. I do wish they would change the way it's packaged though. It is hard to get the product out without making a mess." —Brittany Godin

    Get it from Amazon for $12.

    19. The e.l.f. Cosmetics Blemish Control Face Primer makes acne prevention part of your entire beauty routine. It primes your skin for foundation application as it goes with ~all~ primers but there's a bonus with this baby: It also has salicylic acid, tea tree extract, and vitamin E to make sure your beat face stays breakout-free.

    e.l.f. Cosmetics

    In case you aren't well-versed in the world of makeup and haven't been using primer, WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?! Ha! I kid but seriously, you should be wearing a primer ~after~ your moisturizer but ~before~ applying your foundation. Its purpose is to minimize the look of pores and overall texture so that your foundation spreads the way you want it to. If you have acne-prone skin but like to wear makeup, then it makes total sense to use a primer that fights off those uncomfy breakouts. This is also just a generally smart choice for OG makeup-wearers since it's so easy to for the formulas to clog pores and create pimples for anyone. It's also a cruelty-free product.

    Promising review: "So I recently started using a new hydrating foundation that I've been obsessed with. However, I noticed my face was starting to break out with continued use. Fortunately, I was able to find this primer to wear under the foundation and it works perfectly! I used it for a couple of days and my acne started going away and there weren't any more breakouts. Yay! It functions great as a primer but be sure that you've completely blended it out as it is, of course, a different formula from the rest of the e.l.f. primers." —Evidently Noah

    Get it from Target for $10.

    20. The Diva Stuff Anti-Bacterial Pillow Mist calms and helps lull you to sleep with lavender while the tea tree and peppermint water ingredients stop acne-causing bacteria from traveling from your pillows to your face.

    Amazon

    Spray it on your pillows, sheets, and covers but it's also great for spritzing on your couch or any other fabric in your house. The bottle label also says you can use this on your face and body! Actually, just launch a spritzing spree and zap acne-causing bacteria away from every fabric within a 2-mile radius of your residence. This product is cruelty-free.

    Promising review: "I love this pillow spray so, so much! I purchased this and a silk pillowcase to help with my cystic acne and it has worked wonders. It also smells lovely and is super nice at bedtime. I spray it on my whole bed, towels, and my couch now." —Carly Scarberry

    Get it from Amazon for $14.99.

    Reviews have been edited for length and/or clarity.

    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 to help deal with adult acne, or check out all of our beauty content for even more great stuff for your hair, skin, and more.

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    Allison Krausman / BuzzFeed

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