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They told us we’d get wrinkles as we aged…but they didn’t tell us our teenage zits would never actually go away for good. (And is it just us or does it seem like the old Clean & Clear no longer works?) Adult acne is undeniably frustrating—but finding the right products can help. Here are ten that have proven their effectiveness.

RELATED: 7 Things That Might Be Causing You to Break Out


Naturopathica AHA Purifying Night Serum

This overnight treatment reduces congestion and soothes irritation at the same time. An effective blend of salicylic, glycolic and hyaluronic acids unclogs pores, sweeps away dead skin cells and locks in moisture all at once.

BUY IT ($54)


Mighty Patch Hydrocolloid Acne Absorbing Pimple Patch

If you’ve never used a pimple patch, you’re missing out. It’s basically a small hydrocolloid bandage that you slap on a zit to absorb all the gunk and impurities (and keep you from picking). The result? A smaller, flatter blemish in just a few hours. (Our editors rave about this brand.)

BUY IT ($12)


Paula’s Choice 10 Percent Azelaic Acid Booster

Azelaic acid is an unsung hero for anyone with acne and sensitive skin, because it’s both an anti-inflammatory and antibacterial ingredient. This silky-smooth cream works on bumpy textures, dark spots and angry, red blemishes.

BUY IT ($36)


Mario Badescu Drying Lotion

When those surprise whiteheads surface seemingly out of nowhere, all it takes is a dab of this calamine and sulfur blend to shrink the suckers overnight.

BUY IT ($17)


NeoStrata Foaming Glycolic Wash

Our food and wellness director recommended this glycolic acid-based face wash to us, saying, “Thanks to my teenage years on Proactiv, I was completely hooked on benzoyl peroxide, thinking that it was the only thing that would ever work on my (still-at-age-30) acne-prone skin. This face wash isn’t overly drying like benzoyl peroxide, but the grapefruit extract still keeps my oily skin and (now very occasional) breakouts in check.”

BUY IT ($40)


Differin Adapalene Gel 0.1 Percent Prescription Strength Retinoid

Once held under lock and key at your derm’s office, this retinoid is now available over the counter. It can take up to three months to get over the hump (expect some dryness and potential purging), but your patience will reward you with a very clear complexion.

BUY IT ($25)


LightStim for Acne

It’s a splurge, but according to one PureWow editor, this at-home blue light treatment is a godsend for lingering blemishes: “I don’t break out often, but when I do, it seems to last forever. Blue light therapy targets the layer of skin where acne forms, and I’m not kidding, it cleared my blemishes overnight. It felt like a nice warm light on my skin and I didn’t have to worry about spot treatments or layering skin care appropriately.”

BUY IT ($169)


Pixi Glow Tonic

This exfoliating toner is a best seller for a reason. With 5 percent glycolic acid, it’s just strong enough to sweep away pore-clogging debris, but the additions of aloe vera and ginseng keep it from totally drying out your face.

BUY IT ($15)


Omorovicza Deep Cleansing Mask

Most clay masks have a tendency to be drying; this one goes on like buttah. The white clay and magnesium-rich moor mud pull impurities out of your pores without causing flakes or leaving your face feeling tight.

BUY IT ($120)


La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo Acne Treatment

A whopping 10 percent addition of benzoyl peroxide wipes out acne-causing bacteria, and micro-exfoliating LHA (a type of acid) smooths any bumps. (And it’s got the French pharmacy vibes going for it, too.)

BUY IT ($37)

RELATED: 7 Must-Have Skincare Products for Breakouts

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