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Acne can be frustrating, exhausting, demoralizing, and downright mean. One thing people don't bring up on the regular? It's expensive AF. Treating breakouts is very much a "throw everything at the wall and see what sticks" game. Plunk down some cash, grab a cream, get meh results, repeat.
After a while, those tubes can all blend together, and we start to lose sight of what it is we actually need them to do. We'll let Melissa Kanchanapoomi Levin, NYC dermatologist and clinical attending at NYU Langone and Mount Sinai Hospital, give you a quick refresher: "Acne all starts off with a clogged pore," she explained. "As old skin cells die, they shed and new skin is made. If you are acne-prone, however, dead skin cells mix with a waxy substance called sebum, which then can clog your pores." Clogged pores equal bacteria heaven, and the result is painful, inflamed blemishes. Boo. Hiss.
Despite that somewhat depressing scenario, the good news is that clear skin is possible for acne sufferers — the key is to find products with the most efficacious ingredients to keep breakouts under control. We know, easier said than done. The shelves are overflowing with zit zappers galore, and finding your ideal match is like looking for a corn dog at a vegan carnival.
Well, you can stop digging through that proverbial tofu cart. We went ahead and did the dirty work for you by asking pros to identify the most effective acne-obliterating ingredients. Then we did exhaustive testing to find the categorical best products that feature them. We also dug up one of the most technologically advanced breakout busters on the market and electrocuted (kind of) our skin in the name of science. You're welcome.
You can continue to dump your hard-earned cash into a skincare black hole or check out our list of exhaustively tested treatments that we guarantee can kick your acne to the curb — right where it belongs. Your call.