The Best Acne Treatment Kit for Your Skin Type
Acne treatment is not one-size-fits-all. We talked to top dermatologists to get the scoop on the acne-fighting kit that's right for your skin.
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For teenage skin
Featuring a salicylic acid cleanser, a benzoyl peroxide acne control lotion, and moisturizer with SPF 15, Neutrogena Complete Acne Therapy System is a great starter kit for teenage acne, according to Deanne Robinson, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in Westport, Connecticut. But she does recommend slathering on a higher SPF (30 or more) before prolonged sun exposure because salicylic acid can increase photosensitivity. Try one of these pro-approved UV protectors. And be sure to read this before applying sunscreen to acne-prone skin.
For adult skin
According to Sejal Shah, MD, board-certified dermatologist in New York City and RealSelf contributor, adults who are still battling acne have typically already exhausted the usefulness of benzoyl peroxide (a staple of teen acne products), so trying some alternative acne-fighting ingredients is often helpful. For adult acne, she recommends Peter Thomas Roth Acne System, which relies on salicylic acid and sulfur to eradicate breakouts. It also contains glycolic acid to boost exfoliation and cell turnover, as well as antioxidant-rich green tea extract, which has been shown to soothe inflammation. Don't fall for these myths about adult acne.
For oily skin
Oily skin? The Murad Get Over Zit Kit includes a clarifying cleanser, acne-clearing lotion, and an oil and pore-controlling mattifying SPF 45 lotion. Both the cleanser and spot treatment contain potent salicylic acid to help unclog pores and reduce shine. These are the beauty secrets women with oily skin should memorize.
For sensitive skin
For sensitive skin, Elizabeth Tanzi, MD, founder of Capital Laser & Skin Care in Washington D.C. and Associate Clinical Professor of Dermatology at the George Washington University Medical Center, recommends a sulfur-based treatment, which will help exfoliate and unclog pores without the harsh irritating effects of other acne-fighters. The EradiKate 2-Piece Kit features a daily foaming cleanser and acne spot treatment. You might also want to memorize these rules for people with sensitive skin.
For hormonal acne
While hormonal acne—which typically refers to breakouts that occur in women before menstruation and sometimes around ovulation—is difficult to treat with topicals alone, a skin-care regimen is an important piece of the clear skin puzzle. Dr. Shah recommends the Clearogen Three Step Acne Treatment Set, which contains a foaming cleanser, a clarifying toner, and a treatment lotion. "It combines acne-fighting ingredients—salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide—with soothing natural ingredients such as lavender oil and aloe leaf extract," she says.
For spot treatments
For those times when a pimple pops up right before a big event, the Clean & Clear Advantage Acne Treatment Control Kit promises clearer skin in as little as one day. (By the way, these are the sneaky reasons you could be breaking out.) "I like this kit because it delivers benzoyl peroxide in two ways," says Dr. Shah. The topical treatment works to treat active breakouts, while the cleanser helps reduce future outbreaks. "It's also formulated to be as effective as higher percentages of benzoyl peroxide, but without the over-drying effect, and it includes a moisturizer to hydrate the skin," she says. And the next time a zit rears its (white) head, consider one of these home remedies for acne.
For body acne
Struggling with breakouts on your back, chest, or anyplace other than your face? Body acne can handle—and often requires—a stronger course of treatment, according to Dr. Tanzi. Proactiv+ 3-Step System, an amped up version of the brand's best-selling trio, is formulated with multiple acne-fighting ingredients, including benzoyl peroxide to kill acne-causing bacteria, glycolic acid to exfoliate skin, and salicylic acid to decongest pores. Check out these 10 simple tricks to banish bacne.
- Deanne Robinson, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in Westport, Connecticut
- Sejal Shah, MD, board-certified dermatologist in New York City
- Elizabeth Tanzi, MD, founder of Capital Laser & Skin Care in Washington D.C. and Associate Clinical Professor of Dermatology at the George Washington University Medical Center