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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 Treatment Cleanser: Caudalie Vinopure Pore Purifying Gel Cleanser, $28

If you suffer from blackheads, aka one of the hardest forms of acne to eliminate completely, then it’s time you added salicylic acid to your skin-care routine. Grape and rose water prevent this potent formula from drying out your skin or causing further irritation. Use it at night after you’ve removed your makeup or double-cleansed for clear pores and minimized redness.
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