Are you sick of constantly buying acne products that don’t seem to help the problem? You’re not the only one!
If so, you’re not the only one!
I’ve tried so many over-the-counter acne products throughout the years that I’m pretty sure I’ve thrown hundreds of dollars down the drain on products that only gave me mediocre results or did nothing for my skin. If you’ve battled with acne as well, I’m sure you’ll understand the pain of trying a bunch of products only to be disappointed when a product doesn’t work as expected.
So without further ado, here is a list of acne products I’d recommend you to stay far, far away from because I’ve had bad experiences with using them. Learn from my mistakes and save your money!
1. Clinique Acne Solutions Clear Skin System Kit
The first product to top off my list of products to stay far, far away from is the Clinique Acne Solutions Clear Skin System Kit. I really tried giving this product a chance because I generally enjoy Clinique’s products. But unfortunately, this was the worst acne kit that I’ve tried so far.
This kit ruined my skin for a very long period of time and it consequently made me spend a lot more money to heal the damage it caused. I’m so lucky that the damage was only temporary and not permanent.
I really tried giving this product a chance because I generally enjoy Clinique’s products. But unfortunately, this was the worst acne kit that I’ve tried so far. It ruined my skin for a very long period of time and it consequently made me spend a lot more money to heal the damage it caused. I’m so lucky that the damage was only temporary and not permanent.
The kit comes with 3 products:
- Cleansing Foam
- Clarifying Lotion
- All Over Clearing Treatment
These products contain so much alcohol that they unnecessarily stripped my skin of its natural oils, causing my skin’s natural moisture barrier to be damaged for a long period of time. I remember having to constantly blot my face because it was producing so much oil yet it was extremely dehydrated on the surface. My skin texture became very crepey looking and I had fine lines etched all over my face. What a mess!
2. Clinique Anti-Blemish Acne Solutions Clinical Clearing Gel
As I stated previously, I do generally like Clinique so I was also pretty unimpressed with this product.
The 1% salicylic acid was much too weak to fight my moderate acne effectively. I applied the gel to my spots religiously both day and night and it took more than a week just for small pustules to flatten, which is pretty disappointing. It may possibly work for you if you have extremely mild acne. In my opinion, the only positives about this product were that it was fragrance-free and didn’t cause dry flakes.
3. St. Ives Blemish Control Apricot Scrub
The St. Ives Blemish Control Scrub is another product very highly ranked on my do-not-ever buy list. I absolutely do not recommend this product to use on your face regardless of the severity of your acne.
The scrub has large granules that supposedly help to exfoliate the dead skin off but they are just too abrasive for the skin. These will leave little cuts all over your skin and damage your skin’s texture.
I definitely learned my lesson from using this when I was younger. My skin would always look more rough and dehydrated after using this and I wondered why. I finally connected the dots after doing some research and figuring out that this product was the reason why my skin had dehydration and texture problems.
If you do use this product, use it sparingly (maybe only once a week) and very, VERY (I repeat!) gently on your skin. I’d probably just stick to using it on your body if you don’t want to waste leftover product.
4. Clean & Clear Persa-Gel 5 and 10
The Persa-Gel has been around forever since I was a kid and you can still get either the 5% or 10% benzoyl peroxide versions in drugstores.
I tried both versions when I was much younger and still a skin care novice. At the time, I was uneducated and believed that the higher the percentage of benzoyl peroxide I used, the better results it would give me! Oh, how I was so wrong…
I was unpleasantly surprised when it burned my skin as I dotted it on to my spots. It was too irritating to use on my sensitive skin and the red hyperpigmentation marks left behind would take forever to fade.
5. Clearasil Daily Clear Vanishing Acne Cream
This was a mediocre product that has also been around for a long time. I didn’t hate it or love it although I do remember buying it a few times just to give it another chance each time. It’s similar in texture and smell to the Clean & Clear product above. I won’t repurchase this again because it just didn’t wow me or give spectacular results.
6. @tmosphere Tea Tree Oil Antibacterial Facial Stick
I had never heard of @tmosphere before seeing two of their products on the shelves at Shoppers Drug Mart.
This acne stick contains tea tree oil, which is what drew me to it in the first place. I liked how this product felt more natural and gentle compared to others. It also seemed to contain the right blend of tea tree oil so that the tea tree smell wasn’t too overwhelming.
The product is packaged in a roller ball applicator which I felt was a little unhygienic. The idea of having to roll the same applicator over and over again when you had a new active breakout just doesn’t sit too well with me.
In terms of the result, I did feel that it helped to calm down some of my smaller acne spots and whiteheads but it really didn’t do much at all for my cystic acne. I needed help with both types of acne at the time so this just didn’t cut it.
7. Sebamed Clear Face Anti-Pimple Gel
I found this at a health food store one day and thought I would try more natural acne products. I really wanted to like this product because it claims that it’s:
- pH 5.5 balanced
- Contains less harsh chemicals compared to others available at regular drugstores
I really liked the idea of using a pH balanced acne product. Many of the products I was using were too harsh for my sensitive skin and as a result, the surface of my skin was very dehydrated. I wanted something that wouldn’t damage my skin’s natural moisture barrier.
The results sadly did not blow me away. I found that it mostly helped with small acne bumps and whiteheads but did nothing for my cystic acne.
It also had a very greasy formula that kind of reminded me of Vaseline so I couldn’t wear it under makeup during the day. I wanted something stronger to combat my spots and preferably something that wouldn’t pill under makeup.
8. Noxzema Triple Clean Anti-Blemish Pads
This product contains 2% salicylic acid and comes in a stack of circular cotton pads soaked with liquid.
I truly did not like this product for my face because I found that it was much too harsh for facial skin. The alcohol content is very high – so much that I was hit with an extremely strong whiff of alcohol each time I opened the jar. The smell would continue to linger long after I wiped the pad over my skin.
I also found that as I continuously opened and closed the jar from use, the liquid would start to quickly evaporate. By the time I reached the bottom of the jar, the remaining pads were already dry and unusable. What a waste of money!
Because I didn’t like this product for my face, I finished the jar (with what was left of the semi-dry pads) by only using this whenever I had body acne. The skin on your back is less sensitive and seems to be much better suited for this.
I would really recommend you to stay away from using this on your face, especially if you have sensitive skin!
9. Proactiv Solutions Kit
Lastly, I couldn’t finish this list without talking about the infamous Proactiv. Although you can’t get these products anymore as the line has been revamped now with their new brand, Proactiv+, I wanted to input my thoughts on the old formula when I used to use it back in the day.
This was probably one of the first acne products that I tried at the age of 12. It came with:
- Renewing Cleanser
- Revitalizing Toner
- Repairing Treatment
- Refining Mask
I found that most of the products in the kit really dried out my skin due to the high alcohol content. I remember my skin becoming extremely oily to compensate for the lack of moisture.
The only part of the kit that I enjoyed using was the Refining Mask because it was very effective on small spots. This contained sulfur and I liked using it as an acne spot treatment instead of an all-over mask.
Now that you know which acne products are on my do-not-ever-buy list, head on over to see my list of favorite acne products that are both effective and won’t break the bank!
Keep in mind that these are my opinions based on my skin type and how I reacted to each active ingredient. If you have a similar skin type to me (oily, sensitive skin with surface dehydration), you may want to avoid these the next time you’re looking for new acne products.
Don’t forget to check out the rest of my acne series here:
- How To Effectively Cure Back Acne
- Affordable & Effective Acne Treatments That Won’t Break The Bank
- Deep Cleansing Masks For Acne-Prone Skin
- My Experience With Prescription Acne Medication And How They Didn’t Work For Me
- How To Cure Your Acne With Natural Remedies
What are some of the worst acne products that you regret buying? Feel free to share!