Make up and beauty

The best acne products for clearer skin

I thought my teen years was it….pimples and all the horror that comes with it would end in the teens. At the stroke of midnight, when I turned 20, I’d miraculously be acne/pimple free. Alas, that was apparently all a pipe dream! Here I am….almost 20 years later, still dealing with freakin pimples on my face. Instead of me stating: Skin type – oily…..I need to declare: Skin type: Pimply. Urgh. Anyways….. moving along…. Over the years I have tried many products. I have used makeup to hide my breakouts, I’ve done nothing, I’ve done everything…. I am still not pimple free, but I do have less breakouts and my skin is recovering faster. How? Well….that’s what today’s post is about…sharing with you the products that I use. I don’t claim these will work for everybody, as I am not a dermatologist. Think of this post as a library of the best acne products that could help you. Comprende?

1. Cleansers

I love having an array of cleansers in my collection, to target different skin situations, breakouts included.

  1. I’ve been a fan of the Vichy Normaderm range for YEARS, and their foaming cleanser is still one of my faves, that I need to restock on. I’ve checked online though and can’t find it, so perhaps it’s been discontinued? The gel version is also a winner though and well priced at R195.
  2. Currently, when I have some breakouts, I reach for the Vichy Scrub+Cleanser+Mask. I love that this is a 3 in one product, so I can use it to mask as well and even though it’s a scrub it’s not too abrasive. It is a clay based cleanser, and really gentle on the skin. This retails for around R265.

2. Moisturiser

I have become really partial to a moisturiser that contains a SPF, so when I discovered 2 that targets breakouts and contains a SPF, it didn’t take much to sell me.

  1. The La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo+ with SPF30 is probably my favourite acne targeting day moisturiser. It’s super lightweight, sinks into the skin fast, no white cast and works well under makeup.  Key Ingredients include Procerad™, a patented ceramide helps to suppress brown spots and anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial Niacinamide & Piroctone Olamine. It also containt Keratolytic agents Salicylic acid & LHA help to exfoliate the skin. What I love as well is that this is around R250 at Dischem/Clicks and you can pick it up on a 3-for-2 promotion!
  2. A similar product that I also enjoy, just a tad bit more mattifying, is the Dermalogica Clearing Defense with SPF 30. I did a post with a full review over HERE.

Acne Spot Treatments

3. Spot treatment

So any acne sufferer worth her acne (???) knows you NEED a good spot treatment in your arsenal! Luckily I have one to suit every budget today.

  1. Benzac AC 5 Gel is a water-based gel containing benzoyl peroxide, which has in vitro bactericidal activity and keratolytic properties, reducing the concentration of free fatty acids in the sebum. This is a drug store favourite and well priced at around R99.
  2. Mario Badescu’s Drying lotion is an award winning spot treatment. It claims to be fast-acting, and is specially formulated with Salicylic Acid, Sulfur, and Zinc Oxide to help draw impurities from the skin and target pesky problems while you sleep. Again, many swear by this product…I personally use it in combination with one of the other spot treatment’s I have. Mario Badescu has different types of spot treatments, targeting different types of spots, so please bear that in mind and investigate all their options, before choosing. This one, apparently is not really for the types of pimples that I get, so I wish I had picked up the Buffering lotion or Drying cream. This retails for around R475.
  3. Dermalogica’s Age Bright Spot Fader is a two-in-one spot treatment that reduces the appearance of active breakouts and post-breakout marks. Salicylic Acid works to clear breakouts, while Niacinamide and Hexylresorcinol work synergistically to fade post-breakout marks, improving uneven skin tone. Guys, this stuff works, it really works! I wish I took a before and after of a huge pimple that I had a while back. Not only did it eliminate the pimple, but also faded the spot quickly. I do find you need to be consistent though. If I use it today and forget for 3 days, it’s not as effective in fading the mark, as when I used it daily on the first spot I mentioned. The price tag is a bit steep at R845 (I KNOW!), but if you can afford it, this is a good one to have! Especially for somebody that me that always suffers from bad scarring with every single pimple that I have.

Honorable mention, but not pictured here is the Clinique Spot Treatment gel. I feel this is also very effective at drying out pimples fast.

4. Night treatment product

The desperation is real to get rid of breakouts. I especially get really ugly pimples….not those cute ones the You Tubers like to show us that we can’t see. My one pimple will take up my whole face! So I am treating it 24/7 until it’s gone. Enter the need for a night treatment product!

  1. Eucerin’s Skin Renewal Treatment is a powerful overnight treatment that claims to visibly improves acne after just two weeks. This feels really light and silky and absorbs into the skin really fast. This is priced around R199 and again, drugstore and the potential to grab it on promotion.
  2. Dermalogica’s Age Bright Clearing Serum is an active two-in-one serum that clears and helps prevent breakouts while reducing visible skin ageing. For Dermalogica to come out with a product like this, I thought was fantastic and so innovative! A product to reduce breakouts and ALSO have anti-ageing properties??? This is incredibly lightweight, sinks into the skin and I feel like it really brightens my skin and takes care of it, while dealing with breakouts. This can be used morning and night and retails for around R1 195.

5. Professional help!

About a year ago, I started going for Lamelle Beta Plus peels at Optiskin in PE. I’ve spoken a little bit about this in a previous post, so click here if you want to read that post. In a nutshell, these peels are described as: Beta-hydroxy peel, salicylic acid, is excellent for removing pimples, and it also drastically calms inflammation in inflammatory acne.

These peels were pricey and I was going once a month for about 4 or 5 months….but they made such a difference in my skin! I haven’t been for a peel since January, but I still have not gone back to the level of breakouts I was experiencing prior to undergoing these peels. If you’re battling, and you can afford it, go see a professional and let them recommend treatments, pills, peels, products, etc.

6.  Final notes

  • Water, water, water!
  • I also love having acne targeted sheet masks around. The Sephora Green Tea masks are excellent, just unfortunately not easy to find in South Africa 🙁
  • All the products to combat acne can result in parched, dry skin. Once my breakouts are cleared, I switch it up with more hydrating products for a few days, just to help my skin recover a bit. A moisturising mask is good to have just to restore some balance and moisture back to the skin.

That’s it from me…sorry I know this was a SUPER LONG post! I toyed with breaking it up, but obviously, if you’re reading this, I didn’t. Looking for some more tips on improving your skin, check out my: Skin care tips that worked for me post! Do you battle with breakouts? Let me know what your best acne fighting products are in the comment below.

Disclaimer: Some of these items were received in PR, some were purchased with my own money. I am not contracted, sponsored or obligated to do this post in any way shape or form. This is an information post that I wanted to do, out of my own free will. 


I’m Simone, a mom of 3, a wife...obsessed with my family, makeup and books!


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