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    Jun 17, 2020

    18 Products That May Help If You’ve Got Stress Acne Right Now

    Keep calm. Hydrating toner, blemish corrector, body polish, and more stuff on this list will totally hit the ~spot~.

    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. Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay – it 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 $20.19.

    2. Paula's Choice liquid exfoliant with 2% BHA to unclog pores and lift those dead skin cells before they can build up into full-blown pimples. Plus, it'll brighten your complexion so it's more radiant and less dull. Win!

    bottles of the exfoliator
    instagram.com

    ALSO, per many estheticians, liquid (chemical) exfoliants are much better for your skin than scrubs since they're less abrasive on the skin. Scrubs tend to create mini-tears in the skin that can also encourage more breakouts so now you'll have something that will do the same amount of work without all the harshness.

    Promising review: "I combined this and the Neostrata Glycolic cleanser and all my stubborn clogged pores on my forehead cleared up. Literally, nothing worked up until I tried this. It does dry your face out a tiny bit but what people fail to realize is that nearly all topical acne medications will be drying in some way." —Jenni

    Get it from Amazon for $29.50 (free shipping).

    3. Acne serum that reviewers say helps with stress-related acne but is also strong enough to address their cystic acne.

    Left side: Reviewer has large red acne spots underneath their nose, around their lips, and on the chin. Right side shows same reviewer with zero acne spots or redness in those areas.
    amazon.com

    Heads up: Invest in a GOOD hydrating moisturizer and hydrating toner for your beauty routine because several reviewers noted that while this works for them, it's still quite drying (as most acne products tend to be). You may even want to throw in a moisturizing mask if you have a dry skin type and want to make sure you really hydrate your skin while addressing stress acne.

    Promising review: "I got this to try and am glad I did. I only get the occasional adult stress acne. I applied it and within a day, I saw results. In three days, a larger cystic type spot was gone. It can be drying on sensitive skin like mine but it's so effective. I will continue to use it as needed. Good product!" —Terry Buys Stuff

    Get it from Amazon for $19.97.

    4. Tarte Sugar Rush No Bullzit acne spot treatment to dry up acne spots, unclog pores, and fight acne-causing bacteria so it doesn't come back. This treatment is made with acne-destroying ingredients like salicylic acid (cleans up clogged pores) and vitamin B3 (reduces inflammation).

    Tarte Cosmetics

    The formula also works to prevent scarring after the acne clears up. Plus, the product is hypoallergenic, cruelty-free, and vegan!

    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." —Stephania M.

    Get it from Tarte Cosmetics for $16.

    5. Acne patches that'll vacuum the gunk out of your whiteheads and give them a visible reduction in just a few hours.

    amazon.com

    The patches will also keep you from picking your pimples to pieces so you have less scarring. They're by the Avarelle brand which is cruelty-free.

    Promising review: "THIS PRODUCT WORKS! I want to start by stating I have had an extremely stressful time consulting the past several years. This led to numerous spurts of acne, and even worse, nodules. The extent of the acne and nodules actually left scarring on my face due to trying to get rid of them. I bought this product due to feeling embarrassed about the problem and I wanted to find something that would not only cover the new nodules on my face but get rid of them. This product did exactly that." —Michael Anthony Vitureira

    Get them from Amazon for $8.50 (40 patches in a pack).

    6. CeraVe Moisturizing Cream packed with hyaluronic acid, which encourages the skin to hold onto moisture much better. You can expect supple skin for 24 hours and this really helps offset the dryness that most acne products you use typically cause. It's also noncomedogenic, which means it doesn't clog up pores and exacerbate existing breakouts.

    BuzzFeed writer Marquaysa Battle holding the jar of cream
    Marquaysa / BuzzFeed

    Since the spring, I've been dealing with stress acne that I never had before in my life. I resorted to an acne cleanser and spot treatment but those products are typically drying (because they're literally meant to dry out the blemishes) SO this moisturizer has been super key for ensuring my skin doesn't dry out while I try to clear up the pimples. Aside from it living up to its 24-hour hydration promise (game-changer), it has also never broken out my sensitive skin and actually helps soothe the many skin irritations that I experience. In short, it's my holy grail and CeraVe better not ever stop making it. 😊

    Get it from Amazon for $16.08.

    7. Radha Beauty Rosehip Oil to diminish 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...?!).

    Left side shows reviewer with pimples, redness, and acne scars while the right side shows the same person with zero redness, only one or two scars, and no pimples
    amazon.com

    Btw, it's cruelty-free peeps.

    Promising review: "OKAY, SO... I never write reviews — like ever — but THIS is worth it! This product is amazing! I came across it when reading a BuzzFeed article about skincare and it said this helped with breakouts, clearing dark spots, acne scars, etc. and I wanted to try it because I researched that adding oil to your skin if you have oily skin (i.e. me) helps to reduce oiliness, so I was like okay — I’m buying this! I’m soooo glad I did because my face has cleared up so much! I was suffering from really bad stress acne and the left side of my face looked like a constellation. Plus, it didn’t help that I picked at my acne (I know, shameful) and was left with dark marks. So, I started using five tiny drops of this (only a small amount is needed for your whole face) and three drops of jojoba oil in the morning and night daily. After three weeks, my spots started clearing up significantly and now, two months in (I started using this 1/19/2019), my skin looks amazing! The results do take time but it’s so worth it! My spots are practically gone, my skin is moisturized, and less oily. I’ve had fewer breakouts (also due in part to me eliminating the stress), and my skin looks all-around great! I haven’t even gone through a fourth of the bottle yet so that too is a plus, financially... GET THIS!" —Symone

    Get it from Amazon for $15.95.

    8. Heritage Store alcohol-free rosewater toner that I use and can confidently share is the TRUTH for restoring your skin's pH balance and splashing you with hyaluronic acid that helps the skin hold onto moisture better. How's it help with stress acne? Well, while you're applying those drying acne products to those breakouts, this toner makes sure your skin doesn't lose the effectiveness of whatever moisturizer you put on.

    BuzzFeed writer Marquaysa's hand holding her toner
    BuzzFeed / Marquaysa Battle

    Hear me out, peeps: Per my years in beauty reporting, I learned that super dried-out skin can produce even more oil which will clog up pores and actually encourage additional acne breakouts. This is why people with a dry skin type often run into an increase in breakouts when they start using acne products. They think the product is worsening the problem and it is — but only because of the other things your skin is lacking while you're using it. Anywho, this toner is friendly for all skin types (yep, even my super-sensitive skin) vegan, alcohol-, and cruelty-free. It's meant to be used after cleanser and before moisturizer.

    Promising review: "I’ve been looking for a toner for ages! I struggle with mild cystic acne and blackheads around my nose. My skin is average on the dry to oily spectrum but it’s also extremely sensitive to alcohol and oil (which most toners are composed of). Having hyaluronic acid in this formula was the cherry on top. I was so relieved when I found this toner! It’s done a great job without aggravating my skin. As many reviewers pointed out, it’s thicker than most toners and feels slightly sticky when first applied but this goes away quickly and pairs well with lotion (I use CeraVe PM after it drys). I prefer to apply with clean fingertips rather than cotton and I also apply it two times a day after cleanser and serum. There is a strong but pleasant rosewater smell when first applied but this hasn’t caused any irritation for me and fades quickly. Also, my package came on time and in perfect condition." —Amazon Customer

    Get it from Amazon for $9.43.

    9. Breylee Acne Treatment Serum to decrease grease secretion and inflammation with the anti-fungal properties of tea tree.

    Left side shows reviewer's cheek with large red acne blemishes and right side shows same reviewer with less pimples and significantly less redness
    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: "This serum is incredible. I have combination/oily skin that loves to break out based on hormones and stress. I have a lot of excess oil on my face. I use this serum daily and I've noticed it helps with oil control as well as reducing the size of my blemishes." —Lisa Brook

    Get it from Amazon for $11.99.

    10. BESTOPE Blackhead Removal Kit that'll remove pimples without causing unnecessary redness or spreading bacteria — which takes away the urge to frantically finger pop stress-related pimples that have ~popped~ up unexpectedly.

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

    This kit comes with five different needles for different pimple sizes and a case to store them in when you aren't using them. 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 $9.99+ (available in three color options).

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

    Left side shows reviewer with lots of acne pitting and redness while the right side shows the same reviewer with much less pitting and only two red spots
    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: "Not to sound dramatic but this is the best thing I have ever used for my acne. I have been using this for about a week and a half and the results that I've seen are amazing! I have a lot of acne scars and I have been breaking out a lot lately due to stress. This has been reducing the inflammation on acne and reducing dark spots and scars. When I bought this, I was hoping that I would get the same results as the reviews stated. I am so happy I got it. It smells a bit strong (alcohol smell) but it's so worth it. I have sensitive skin and salicylic acid usually makes my skin red and burns like crazy but this formula is gentle. I will continue to use this regularly." —Kavita__j

    Get them from Amazon for $19.95.

    12. La Roche-Posay Effaclar Purifying Foaming Gel Cleanser that'll unclog 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.

    bottle of cleanser
    La Roche-Posay

    Heads up: Per the reviews, it's drying so you'll have to keep your moisture game up!

    Promising review: "I have oily Asian skin and was going through a stressful time which led to a huge breakout. I tried so many different things but whiteheads kept coming. This is the first product that I have ever experienced immediate improvement with. My face felt clean (without being too tight) and almost cleared my breakout in a week. It does help keep my oil in control. My only complaint is that it doesn’t remove makeup easily so I would recommend removing makeup first before use." —Kym

    Get it from Amazon for $7.99.

    13. Dr. Jart+ Dermask Micro Jet Clearing Solution to help you sneak in some self-care time while tending to breakouts. 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! Wear this on clean skin for 15 to 20 minutes and then remove it gently. After you take off the mask, don't wash your face. Massage the remaining serum into your skin to get the best results.

    Promising review: "I used this the night before my wedding and it fixed my subtle breakout overnight (seriously). I don’t get a lot of acne. Every once in a blue moon, I’ll get a zit here and there or a subtle breakout on my forehead (those minuscule whiteheads or just normal acne). I swear this mask made everything go away the next morning while also moisturizing my face as well. Since I don’t break out often, I don’t usually buy acne specific products. I figured I would give this a go for the stress acne I had. If it cleared mine overnight, I think for those who do more than I do it will definitely help with consistency with this product." —Beccald

    Get it from Sephora for $9.

    14. CeraVe foaming cream cleanser that I use and recommend for sporadic use if you battle stress acne as I do. It decreases the breakouts without drying or irritating my skin.

    Marquaysa's hand holding the bottle of cleanser
    BuzzFeed / Marquaysa Battle

    The cleanser has benzoyl peroxide which is a key ingredient for drying up acne spots. Because of that, I don't use it every day. Instead, it's great to have in my collection of skincare products to pull out when I feel a breakout coming on or whenever I wake up to an unwelcomed pimple. Instead of using my regular cleanser, I use this one to help keep the breakout clean and speed up the healing process. When my face is clearer, I revert to my regular cleanser.

    Promising review: "I have been struggling with stress-related acne and have tried every drugstore face wash and Retin-A without success. I bought this on the recommendation of a dermatologist friend and have used it twice a day since it arrived. Give it time! It works but it can take 8 to 12 weeks. I wash my face twice a day and apply moisturizer and have been so impressed! Finally, something that has shown results! I took away one star because it is not foamy. It feels like rubbing lotion on your wet face but hey, if it works then it works right?" —Amazon Customer

    Get it from Amazon for $11.99.

    15. Beauty Strike AHA Body Polish – a skin-smoothing exfoliator that addresses body acne and also helps you give yourself a spa-like experience in your own bathroom so you can make stress relief a regular-degular part of your skincare routine.

    Beauty Strike

    Heads up: You should only be using this body exfoliator two to three times a week. Apply this to wet skin and massage it gently in circular motions. The brand recommends you focus on joints and areas that don't see the sun often. As it goes with any exfoliant, don't use this on delicate areas (like sunburned or irritated skin) or cuts. Please remember that this is a BODY polish so it's NOT for use on the face. Beauty Strike is a 100% cruelty-free and vegan brand, btw!

    Get it from Beauty Strike for $20.

    16. The My Konjac Activated Bamboo Charcoal Sponge to gently exfoliate your skin as the activated charcoal removes excess oil and eliminates bacteria so your face is less prone to breaking out.

    The sponge. It has a slight egg shape similar to the makeup sponge blenders.
    Amazon

    Heads up: These babies are made of charcoal, remember? This means they'll disintegrate over time, so you'll need to re-up every few months.

    Promising review: "I was complaining to a friend of mine about how tired I was of my adult acne (I'm 37 but apparently my pores still think I'm 16) and she asked me if I had ever heard of these sponges. My first thought was, 'How in the world could a sponge make any difference?' But after what she told me and doing some further research, I figured it wouldn't hurt to try it. Heck, I've spent hundreds in facial-care products that didn't help, what was a few more dollars? When I first tried it, I used it as part of my nightly routine. It seemed to work just fine, but it was the next day when I realized this thing just might work! My normally oily face was smooth and not the slightest bit oily!! I noticed a significant improvement in just a couple of days. Within two weeks I had not a single pimple on my face! Let me tell you, there aren't a lot of products I can claim have been life-changing, but this one has been nothing short of a miracle." —J. Erickson

    Get it from Amazon for $9.87.

    17. A peeling and brightening serum that clears up hyperpigmentation and evens out the skin tone so it's perfect for addressing breakouts and helping your skin bounce back once they're gone. It contains hydroquinone (for brightening dark spots), salicylic acid (for penetrating the skin and drying up breakouts), vitamin C (also a brightening agent), and a host of other helpful ingredients.

    amazon.com

    🗣️🗣️🗣️: Anything you put on your skin that's meant to peel it is probably something you should consult with your dermatologist about first. You also need to be using sunscreen with an adequate SPF to keep your skin safe while it's peeling away layers of dead skin. Several reviewers also noted that it does sting but it delivers dramatic results they're pleased with. All the more reason to check it with a real doctor before dunking it on your face. ALSO, the brand recommends that if you use this product consistently for 60 days, then you need to take a break from it for 30 days. Everything in moderation and cheers to happy skin!

    Promising review: "I WAS EXTREMELY HESITANT at first before ordering this product and considering using it on my skin. I don’t typically have sensitive skin but you honestly never know... BUT, this product has been doing miracles for my skin!! I’m so happy about the progress. I watched all the YouTube videos I could find, read thorough reviews, and can truly say I’m happy and more confident with the outcome so far. I was diagnosed with PCOS last year and severe hyperpigmentation has been one of the side effects. I was considering laser hair removal but this has been working. I started using this product 1/16/20... I have been using it twice a day but I alternate depending on my mood and if I have time in the morning... I do exfoliate every day and night. Going to keep using it to see if the scars lighten any further and my skin peels a little bit more bringing in the new skin!" —V. Forest

    Get it from Amazon for $23.

    18. e.l.f. Cosmetics acne-fighting spot gel to diminish redness and swelling pimples so they shrink and your skin smoothes out just as fast as the breakouts appeared.

    two of the acne gel sticks
    elf Cosmetics

    The spot gel is made with salicylic acid and tea tree oil to fight and prevent breakouts, witch hazel to reduce swelling, and aloe to calm and heal the skin. It's also vegan and cruelty-free. Lastly, if you love the idea of a spot gel but you're side-eyeing the roller ball situation (since there's basically no way to control how clean it gets once it's touched your pimple), just know that you can just roll the product onto clean fingertips and apply it to your pimples that way!

    Promising review: "Wow!! I'm am so impressed with product! I can't believe that a $3 acne product could actually work! I'm 36 and I don't have to deal with acne often, but I noticed I was getting a lot over the last week (stress, I assume). I ordered this not really expecting to get any results but to my shock, their was some after the FIRST application. They weren't magically gone overnight but I noticed they were all smaller and now they are gone. It's so worth it!! I will be ordering more for my kids. I'm sure it may not work for everyone the same but with just a $3 price tag, why not give it a shot and see if it works?" —Lindsey0927

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

    You to acne and the stress that caused it:

    Bravo / Giphy / Via giphy.com

    See ya! Wouldn't wanna be ya!

    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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    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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