Much like your period, breakouts always seem to come at the worst time. It doesn't matter what plans you have; when acne flares up, it can take a serious toll on your self-confidence.
Having an effective plan of attack for treating pimples before they reach the surface can help keep your breakouts minimal.
Applying serums to acne-prone skin might seem like a bad idea, but the product won't necessarily make skin oiler. "With so many serums on the market, there is a product out there even for oily or acne-prone skin," says New York-based dermatologist Dr. Joshua Zeichner, MD. "The wrong serum may feel heavy or greasy, but the right serum can help absorb oil, mattify the skin, and may even treat acne breakouts."
Since serums are formulated with a higher concentration of active ingredients, they're more potent and able to reach the deeper layers of the skin. "Serums by definition are highly concentrated products designed to deliver a particular active ingredient into the skin," Dr. Zeichner explains. "They are not necessarily skin hydrators, but rather do a particular job, be it to brighten, calm, or strengthen the skin."
Acne-fighting serums are usually rich in salicylic or glycolic acids, two ingredients commonly found in spot treatments. These acids work the same way in serum-form, except they're able to treat bumps before they reach the surface of the skin and take shape.
Here, we've rounded up the seven best serums that stop and treat breakouts.
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1. Clnique Acne + Line Correcting Serum
The hard truth is that acne doesn't just disappear after you graduate high school. At a certain point, adult acne becomes an issue you're dealing with on top of anti-aging. Clinique's multitasking serum addresses blemishes, fine lines, and wrinkles in a single step.
Clinique | $45
2. Juice Beauty Blemish Clearing Serum
Sensitive skin types listen up: This organic blend is formulated with naturally-derived salicylic acid in conjunction with fruit acids, so it won't ever over-exfoliate your temperamental complexion.
Juice Beauty | $30
3. Sunday Riley U.F.O. Ultra-Clarifying Face Oil
If traditional blemish treatments leave your skin dry and flaky, try Sunday Riley's formula. It cuts salicylic acid with a hydrating milk thistle and cucumber seed oil base. Chamomile and neroli are also included to soothe redness and irritation.
Sunday Riley | $80
4. No7 Beautiful Skin Blemish Defense Serum
Infused with willow bark, this serum works wonders at soothing any existing irritation and redness, while clearing any lingering dirt and makeup that's clogging your pores.
No7 | $18
5. Mario Badescu Anti-Acne Serum
Don't underestimate the power of this tiny bottle; a thin layer is all you need to keep breakouts under control, thanks to salicylic acid, its hero ingredient.
Mario Badescu | $20
6. Renee Rouleau Anti Cyst Treatment
All pimples are annoying, but painful cystic acne is in a category of its own. These blemishes can take weeks or even months to heal. Instead of visiting a dermatologist for a pricey cortisone shot, apply this treatment to speed up the recovery time.
Renee Rouleau | $46
7. Glossier Super Pure Serum
When you’re stressed-out, it can trigger your skin in the form of a breakout. This water-gel serum keeps complexions in check by clearing skin of the excess oil and dirt that’s congesting your pores. Niacinamide (vitamin B3) is also included in its formula to minimize redness.
Glossier | $28