Dealing with acne doesn’t get any easier with age. Even after our teen years are long behind us, many of us are still battling pesky breakouts caused by any number of factors, from hormones, to diet, to dirty makeup brushes. Finding the right way to treat blemishes is almost as frustrating as the actual pimples themselves. But while trial-and-error is essential in finding the best product for you, some formulas can be further irritating, not to mention expensive—but they don’t have to be.
WATCH: I'm Obsessed: Kate Somerville EradiKate Treatment
Luckily, some of the most effective acne-fighting must-haves can be found at the nearest drugstore, so they won’t leave your wallet feeling too light. From cleansers to spot treatments, read on for some of the best cost-effective ways to tackle acne head-on for a clearer complexion.
1. Clean & Clear Advantage Mark Treatment
This unique spot treatment contains salicylic acid to kick blemishes to the curb, as well as glycolic acid, which peels away dry skin to help eliminate the appearance of post-breakout scars.
Clean & Clear | $8
2. Dial Acne Control Deep Cleansing Body Wash
Breakouts aren’t just limited to your face. Get rid of acne on other areas of your body prone to breakouts, like your chest and back, by sudsing up with a body wash that contains salicylic acid, an effective acne-fighting ingredient.
Dial | $8
3. Aveeno Clear Complexion Foaming Cleanser
Wash away dirt, oil and makeup with this cleanser formulated to prevent blemishes and breakouts without causing further dryness or irritation.
Aveeno | $7
4. Nexcare Acne Absorbing Covers
If you’re the type that can’t resist the urge to pop blemishes, stick these sponge-like covers on pimples to stop yourself from picking at them. Bonus: The pads work to absorb and clear the spot at the same time.
Nexcare | $8
5. Neutrogena Rapid Clear Stubborn Acne Leave On Mask
For spots that just wont quit, try applying Neutrogena’s full-face treatment to get rid of the pimples you currently have and prevent the ones you can’t see yet from reaching the skin’s surface.
Neutrogena | $10
6. Yes to Tomatoes Clear Skin Daily Balancing Moisturizer Lotion
This basic moisturizer hydrates acne-prone complexions without causing further irritations or breakouts, and has a pleasant vanilla scent—not tomato as one might think.
7. Burt’s Bees Natural Acne Solutions Targeted Spot Treatment
Battle blemishes naturally with Burt’s Bees spot treatment. Its main ingredient, tea tree oil, is a powerful acne fighter that quickly clears up isolated pimples.
Burt's Bees | $11
8. Bioré Pore-Unclogging Scrub
Clogged pores are a common—and preventable—cause of breakouts. Use Bioré’s deep-cleansing scrub two or three times a week to lift dirt and oil from your skin for a squeaky-clean, blemish-free complexion.
Biore | $6
9. Bio-Oil Skincare Oil
Amongst its bevy of uses, Bio-Oil is an effective way to treat acne scars left behind from previous breakouts. Its gentle formula works on all skin types and is fast absorbing, so it won’t leave grease marks on your pillowcase.
Bio Oil | $22