I’ve tried so many acne products in the past decade from drugstore to expensive brand name products that I wanted very much to cure my acne. It didn’t happen though and often times it would just leave my skin feeling extremely irritated and dry.
Acne isn’t something that is easy to beat because there can be so many different causes of the condition. I’m sure if you currently have acne issues or suffered from it in the past, it can sometimes bring a sense of hopelessness when you feel like there is no light at the end of the tunnel.
It wasn’t until I found the following effective acne treatments that I finally had a glimmer of hope that there were products out on the market that weren’t just a waste of money.
Effective Acne Treatments That Won’t Break The Bank
Combining the use of natural remedies to holistically reduce my acne alongside the 4 effective acne treatments I talk about in this post, they have both helped change my skin for the better.
These effective acne treatments won’t break the bank, are good value for money, and most importantly, they work! I always make sure to have these products readily available on hand in case of any emergency breakouts when it’s that time of the month or when I get stress acne.
1. The Acne.org 3 Step Regimen
The Acne.org Benzoyl Peroxide (BP) 2.5% Treatment is probably one of my favorites out of my list of effective acne treatments because this stuff works!
The 3 Step Regimen
I bought the starter kit for less than $45 and really thought it was worth the price. Each bottle came with 8 oz of product. It’s recommended to use the 3 step regimen together, which includes the:
If you are trying out this product for the first time, I would recommend buying the entire regimen. You can always experiment by substituting the moisturizer or face wash with your own products and see how it goes from there.
If I’m really low on funds and can only buy one product, which should that be?
If you were low on funds and could only choose one product to buy out of the 3 step regimen, I would recommend buying just the Benzoyl peroxide (BP) 2.5% treatment. The bottle comes in a variety of sizes and purchasing it in a larger size would be the best value.
How To Apply
The product is applied a little differently than others so it took me a while to get used to using it. The treatment instructions state to spread the cream to cover your entire face so that it can treat existing breakouts as well as prevent new ones from forming. After trying this method, I prefer this rather than only dotting the treatment on active spots because it’s a more proactive way to treat the acne.
Similar BP 2.5% treatments are available in drugstores such as Clean & Clear or Clearasil. However, they aren’t as cost effective as this one because they come in extremely small tubes. If you had to use the cream for your entire face, you would be spending an unreasonable amount of money each month for the product.
Simultaneously using this treatment and the specific method of application seemed to be more effective in reducing my acne compared to other products on the market that I tried.
I experienced dry, flaky skin for the first few weeks, but I knew that my skin needed to experience dryness before seeing any results. Within a month, the dryness normalized and my cystic acne bumps disappeared. I was pretty happy with the smooth condition of my skin. All that was left were red hyperpigmentation marks which would fade with time.
The only thing that I disliked was that it was not as easily accessible as other drugstore treatments because you can only order these products online. However, I do think the clear skin you get with this product is worth the hassle of waiting for it to be shipped to you because it produces wonderful results! Just take into account how long shipping will take and be sure to repurchase the bottles before you run out.
2. Mario Badescu Drying Cream
The Mario Badescu Drying Cream is a great product for stubborn, cystic acne bumps and is something that I will reach for right away when I know that a large bump is about to form. If I dab this early on, it gradually reduces the size within a few days of applying it each night.
It comes in a creamy consistency and is a light beige color. If you have a lighter skin tone, you can probably pull off using this both during the day and at night time under makeup if you camouflage it well.
Sulphur is the main acne fighting ingredient. I have found that this is a great acne fighting ingredient that my skin really likes. It’s not as harsh, irritating, and drying like how benzoyl peroxide may be so it reduces the chance of getting dry, dehydrated, and flaky skin.
One thing that I wasn’t too crazy about this cream was that it does smell quite strongly of sulphur (imagine constantly whiffing burnt tires or rotten eggs). If you don’t have a sensitive nose and don’t mind the smell, then this shouldn’t be an issue.
The cream does dry out pretty quick if you open it every day. It can also be unsanitary because the product comes in a tub. However, these can be easily remedied by using a clean Q-tip or a small spatula to scoop the product out each time instead of using your fingers. For the great results, these definitely aren’t deal breakers for me and I will continue to repurchase this.
This comes in a 0.5 oz tub for $17. It’s slightly more pricey than drugstore products but the quality and effectiveness is great. I find that a tub can last me up to 6 months of daily use before the cream dries out.
3. Mario Badescu Buffering Lotion
The Mario Badescu Buffering Lotion is another one of the 4 effective acne treatments I would recommend you to try if you suffer from large cystic acne bumps. Unlike the Drying Cream, this one doesn’t have a noticeable scent which is great if you have a sensitive nose! This comes in a white liquid-powder formula where you shake the two together in the bottle to mix the product. Once the formula has been mixed, you dab it on your cystic acne right when you feel that they are about to form.
This helps lessen the bump before it starts to form a nodule if you act quick enough. If the bump has already fully formed, it still helps to reduce the redness and size of the cyst at a much faster rate than if you were to have left it alone.
I like how this product didn’t dry out my skin and it feels like I don’t really have anything on my face. There are so many treatments out there that make your skin feel uncomfortably dry or heavy, but this product doesn’t leave much residue.
For $19, you get 1 oz of product. It may be a little pricey, but again, it is a great product that works. This has lasted me for over a year of daily use, which is a great deal!
4. La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo
La Roche-Posay is a French brand that my sensitive skin seems to enjoy. They have a variety of products catering to different skin types and all of their products are paraben-free.
Please note that there are 2 different versions of this product and they don’t have the same ingredients. In Canada, they sell the French version, which contains 0.5% salicylic acid. There is also a US version available which contains 5.5% benzoyl peroxide but I have not personally tried that one.
I really like how the Effaclar Duo is so effective yet gentle on my sensitive skin. You only need a little dab of this on your pimples and they will reduce greatly in size overnight.
A lot of other products have a much higher percentage of salicylic acid yet don’t yield significant results. They also may cause dry, dehydrated, and flaky skin with daily use but this product doesn’t cause any irritation at all even if I use it every day.
I also like how it doesn’t leave long-lasting hyperpigmentation marks after bumps have disappeared.
To recap, I talked about the following 4 effective acne treatments in my acne fighting journey:
- The Acne.org 3 Step Regimen: Great for both small pustules and large cystic bump
- Mario Badescu Drying Cream: Great for both small pustules and large cystic bumps
- Mario Badescu Buffering Lotion: Great for large cystic bumps
- La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo: Great for small pustules
There are so many products on the market targeted to acne sufferers but many aren’t effective or cause more harm to the skin than good. After many years of trial and error and a ton of money spent experimenting with so many brands, I have finally found that these are the effective acne treatments that work for my skin when I’m breaking out. I will continue to repurchase these products forever (or until they stop producing them) along with natural skincare remedies.
I hope that if you are able to ever try some of these products, that they work for you just as they’ve worked for me.
Don’t forget to check out the rest of my acne series here:
- How To Effectively Cure Back Acne
- Deep Cleansing Masks For Acne-Prone Skin
- Over-The-Counter Acne Products You Need To Avoid That Just Don’t Work
- 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 effective acne treatments that you love? Feel free to share!