Well, acne can present in many different ways. Sometimes, you might be acne-free, at other times, your face might look horrible. Based on your situation you can choose the best anti-acne product discussed below in this article.

Acne can present in 3 major ways- comedones (commonly called blackheads and whiteheads), red or pus-filled pimples, and cystic lesions. The choice of anti-acne product varies for each type. I have discussed each type below with the best anti-acne product to tackle them.

COMEDONES- Blackheads/whiteheads

Comedones usually occur if oil secretion is not controlled and/or if you clog your pores by applying thick occlusive creams or by multiple layering of products. In both cases, openings of your oil glands get blocked by cellular debris leading to black and whiteheads, dermatologically termed as comedones.
Salicylic acid
Salicylic acid is a saviour because it seeps into the blocked pores, loosens the debris and reduces blackheads and whiteheads in 2-6 weeks. Salicylic acid serum can be used for oily skin, open pores, and black/whiteheads once or twice a day based on the oiliness of the skin. Aim for a normal to slightly dry feel of skin. Make sure you skip this serum if your skin feels over dry to avoid oil rebound.

Recommended brands salicylic acid serums

  • Minimalist 2% Salicylic Acid Serum
  • The Derma Co 2% Salicylic Acid Face Serum
  • Luxura Sciences Salicylic Acid 2% Face Serum
  • Deconstruct Pore Control Serum 2% Salicylic Acid

Retinoids
Above 25 years of age, you can switch to retinol-based anti-ageing serum instead of salicylic acid at night because retinol can control oil secretion, reduce open pores, delay ageing and gently exfoliate your skin. Read this article, to know the brand recommendation Best retinol cream

Adaplene or tretinion
In stubborn cases of comedones, especially big white multiple comedones, you might need prescription based adapalene or tretinoin gel to reduce comedones.

RED OR PUS-FILLED PIMPLES

Bacteria called Propionibacterium acnes overgrows when oil secretions are increased in comedones leading to inflammation visible as red and pus-filled pimples. In this case, you need antibiotics, that are available on prescription only.

Over-the-counter agents like neem, tea tree oil, liquorice, niacinamide might help to some extent. But if you have big red pimples or many red pimples, then it is highly recommended to consult a dermatologist for starting antibiotics.

Best anti-acne product for red pimples

Mamaearth Tea Tree Spot Gel Pimple Removal cream: This cream can be applied on red pimples at night until they dry. It reduces pimples with the anti-bacterial action of tea tree oil and oil-controlling action of salicylic acid. It also prevents the development of dark spots after healing with the help of skin lightening and the anti-inflammatory action of licorice.

SPOT PATCH: Spot patch is a Korean product that has a hydrocolloid dressing. This patch camouflages your pimples and sucks oils from pimples. In addition, Centella Asiatica helps in healing by promoting collagen repair.

Homemade anti-acne spot treatment: You can make fresh anti-acne spot remedies at home for red pimples. In my experience, it works in reducing big red pimples when left on acne for 1-3 hours. Here is the link to see the recipe, Neem and tea tree oil acne spot remedy

Benzoyl peroxide: Benzoyl peroxide reduces red pimples by anti-bacterial and but should be used with caution in sensitive skin types. In India, it is not available without a prescription but in the United States, benzyl peroxide gel is available without a prescription.

COMEDONES & RED-PIMPLES

Dr. Sheth’s Neem & Bha Spot Clarifying Serum can be used for full-face at night for reducing both comedones and red pimples. It is a good option for non-sensitive oily skin types. It can both reduce clogging pores with help of salicylic acid, and prevent bacteria to grow with the help of neem and tea tree oil.

CYST OR NODULAR ACNE

When the battle between your defence mechanism and bacteria continues unchecked, small red pimples might grow into big nodules or cysts. In this case, it is highly recommended to begin treatment under a dermatologist immediately to avoid the formation of scars after healing.

PREVENT BREAKOUTS

Acne tends to come back if your skin becomes oily or if your pores get clogged. You can choose one of the serums given below based on your key skin concern:

Few comedones and red pimples off and on (Non-sensitive skin)

Dr. Sheth’s Neem & Bha Spot Clarifying Serum is good option for non-sensitive oily skin type. It can both reduce cloggging pores with help of salicylic acid, and prevent bacteria to grow with the help of neem and tea tree oil.

Dark spots and comedones off and on (Sensitive skin)

Sesderma Azelac Ru Liposomal serum is worth trying for sensitive acne-prone skin especially if you have dark spots left after healing of pimples. Azelaic acid help in reducing the tendency of acne and improves your skin tone. It much more effective than niacinamide in improving pigmentation.

Dark spots with comedones off and on (non-sensitive skin)

Azani Active Care Acne Clarifying Serum can be used for non-sensitive skin. It has both Salicylic acid 2 % and Glycolic acid 1% that can unclog pores and remove pigmentation imparting an even skin tone.

BEST ANTI-ACNE PRODUCT IN USA

To prevent new outbreaks of pimples in acne-prone skin:

At night, after washing your face apply one of the following on full face:

  • Vichy Normaderm Anti-acne lotion or
  • homemade acne moisturiser or
  • Instanatural Acne moisturizer

FEW black/whiteheads:

At night, after washing your face apply one of the following on full face:

  • Vichy Normaderm acne lotion or
  • homemade acne moisturiser or
  • Instanatural Acne moisturizer
  • Then apply only on big comedones, if needed:
  • Garnier Skin natural Pimple control Pen or
  • Neutrogena Rapid Clear Anti-acne gel

MANY black/whiteheads:

At night, after washing your face apply one of the following on full face:

  • Neutrogena rapid clear defense lotion

FEW red or pus-filled pimples:

At night, after washing your face apply on the pimples one of the following on full face:

  • Instanatural spot treatment or
  • Dessert Essence Touch stick or
  • Homemade spot treatment or
  • Paula choice clear acne treatment if no response with above

FEW black/whiteheads with FEW red pimples:

At night, after washing your face apply one of the following on full face:

    • Uptown Anti-acne serum or
    • Art Natural Anti-acne serum or
    • Pure Body Anti-acne treatment

Then, apply one of the following apply on the red pimples as spot treatment:

    • Instanatural spot treatment or
    • Dessert Essence Touch stick or
    • Homemade spot treatment or
    • Paula choice clear acne treatment if no response with above

FEW black/whiteheads with MANY red pimples:

At night, after washing your face apply one of the following on full face:

        • For oily skin: Acne.org 2.5% benzoyl peroxide
        • For combination skin type: Paula choice clear acne treatment

Consult a dermatologist if:

      • All above cases of acne not showing improvement within 1 month
      • You have many black/whiteheads with many red or pus-filled pimples
      • You have dry or sensitive skin with any type of pimples
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