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The 8 Most Effective Types of Over-the-Counter Acne Treatments

Plus our product picks for each category.

News flash: Acne happens. No matter how diligent we are with our skin-care routines, or how mindful we are with what we eat and drink, there will come a day when a juicy zit pops up somewhere on your body. If that never happens to you, call us so we can study you for the sake of science. But the average person will eventually experience a pimple or two—in fact, there are 40 to 50 million Americans struggling with acne at any given time. So until science produces a cure for the most commonly diagnosed skin condition worldwide, we will settle for the most effective treatments we can get our hands on.

Unfortunately, many people have neither the means nor the time to visit a dermatologist once a bout of acne decides to make its presence known, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t worthwhile products available at your local pharmacy. We’ve identified eight of the most popular (and powerful) acne-fighting products you can buy without a prescription, as well as our current must-haves for each. Just remember to only use one or two at a time so you don’t overwhelm your skin. Read all about them below.

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The Face Oil: Shiffa Emerald Clarifying Face Oil, $75

Humans can’t produce linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid for skin-barrier health, so incorporating it into your skin-care routine is a must. And when used topically, studies have shown that it minimizes the size of microcomedones, aka a baby zit that’s threatening to become a full-blown blemish. That’s why this luxe oil has a permanent spot on our bathroom shelves.
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