Just when you thought your teenage skin woes were over, a pimple pops up on your face. Trust us, we’ve all been there. And it always seems to happen when we’re under a lot of pressure or stress and hoping to look our best.
Best Acne Treatments Under $20
There are hundreds of acne treatments out there, with price tags ranging from a few bucks up to hundreds of dollars. And which are the best priced under $20? To answer that question, we scoured ratings and reviews across the big guys—Amazon, Target and Walmart. Read on for the best acne treatment according to the masses.
Iconic pimple patch
These things are pure genius—an invisible round patch that goes right over a blemish to deliver tea tree and Calendula oil. The patch protects the pimple from dirt and also camouflages it a bit.
Users say you can wear makeup right over the top of the patch, making it hardly noticeable. If that seems weird, then simply wear the patch at night to reduce the blemish while you sleep.
Puriderma Acne Spot Treatment
Puriderma’s all-natural formulation works like a dream on cystic acne—reducing the swelling and tenderness in a flash. While it’s called a “spot treatment,” Amazon reviewers say they use it for acne prevention, too. The active ingredient is tea tree oil, which works without irritation or burning. So a few dabs in the oily T-zone doesn’t hurt to ward off future breakouts before they start.
Sailor by Captain B spot treatment
Sailor by Captain B is another all-natural spot treatment that zaps redness and irritation from your blemishes. Cruelty-free and vegan, this organic formula—made from white willow, juniper, witch hazel and aloe—comes in a roll-on applicator. Users love the smell, too.
Differin acne treatment
Traditionalists will love Differin, a once-daily topical retinoid developed by dermatologists. In clinical studies, Differin reduced acne breakouts by 87 percent. It’s a water-based formula that works to clear and prevent blackheads, whiteheads and clogged pores. One reviewer says, “this is the best product out there for acne.”
Acne Free Scrub
Use Acne Free exfoliating scrub daily to keep skin soft and clear from blackheads. The key ingredients are Salicylic Acid, charcoal and jojoba, which team up to remove impurities, clear away dead skin while soothing irritation.
Vassoul Blackhead Remover Mask
When you need to get rid of blackheads fast, this mask may do the trick. The manufacturer recommends placing a warm towel over your clean face to start. Then spread the mask over your face and wait 15 minutes. Once it’s dry, peel it away. Users say blackheads came off with mask, leaving their skin smooth and bright. Easy peezy!
Longer-Term Acne Treatments
Of course I understand the emergency of waking up with a pimple on the day you landed a first date with the hottie in the office. But there is more to acne management than swapping out your cleanser or spot treatment. You may find that lifestyle changes provide the most lasting acne therapy.
Ugh, I know how that sounds. “Lifestyle changes” sounds like I’m about to lecture you about eating salads all day and logging double-digit miles on the treadmill running. Not exactly. Depending on the cause of your acne, you may need only small tweaks to get it under control for the long haul.
Food Allergies Cause Acne
Acne is the inflammation of a plugged hair follicle. Secretions form in the follicle, clogging it, and various forms of acne can occur afterward. Some studies have shown specifically that allergies to sugar and dairy can cause acne.
Cystic acne—those large and irritated blemishes—in particular is associated with food allergies. You can try an elimination diet to see if your acne is related to an allergy.
Hormonal Imbalances Cause Acne
Out of balance hormones can be related to many systemic health issues. If that is the cause for your acne, it’s likely your hormones are causing other issues in your body too. Hormonal acne often appears at the jawline and chin.
Hormones can get out of whack when your diet doesn’t provide balanced nutrition and when you are exposed to chemicals from your external environment.
This is why some women see an improvement in their acne after going on birth control—the hormones are balanced and the acne relents. A safer route though is to balance your hormones with a diet that provides nutrients and fatty acids. This is an easy, but solid read on how to balance hormones with diet and lifestyle changes.
Clearing your life of as many toxins as possible will help your hormones stay in balance. Too many products on the shelves contain fake estrogens—just look for word paraben in shampoo, conditioner, soap, laundry detergent, lotion. Or, BPA in plastics. Try switching out your bodycare products for paraben-free formulas and ditching plastic cups and water bottles.
The Wrong Skin Creams Cause Acne
If you’ve struggled with acne for a long time, it’s likely you’ve tried many different products with varying results. The thing is, your skin is as unique as you are. You may do better with a gentle, all-natural product. Or your skin may prefer something harsher, like the Proactive line. If you’re tired of experimenting, talk to a dermatologist about your history and get a recommended treatment plan.
Supplements That May Help Acne
Essential for almost every part of a healthy body (brain, heart, joints, blood), the fatty acids in fish oils balance hormones and reduce inflammation, making them front line in the treatment of acne.
Vitamin D is a pre-hormone essential to hormone balance and a healthy immune system.
Probiotics work in your gut to fight inflammation and support a healthy immune system. They’re almost always necessary in rebalancing the body after neglect.
Zinc helps reduce scarring from past acne and it helps control the amount of oils produced by your skin glands.
Vitamin B Complex
Vitamin B complex is essential for hormone balance among many other things, such as neurological functioning.
Some women swear by Vitex as a treatment for hormonal acne and PMS symptoms as well. Talk to your doctor before starting on Vitex.
Alternative Acne Treatments
Acupuncture has long been a crucial part of alternative health care practitioners in hormone balance. To find a local service, consult this guide.
An herbalist can create a custom formula geared to treat acne. To find one near you, consult this guide.
Regular exercise is the most basic and easily accessed of acne treatments. And, of course, there are other benefits too—a calmer mind, stronger heart and faster metabolism.