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There's no way around it: acne is one of the most troublesome and prevalent skin-care
problems that people (many people) struggle with throughout their lives, and not just as teens.
Yuck! "Acne affects approximately 95% of the population at some point during their lifetime,"
typically occurring between the ages of 11 and 50 (Source: Journal of Reproductive Medicine,
September 2008, pages 742-752).

Without question, anyone struggling with acne wants it to go away - as soon as possible. Many
of us have gone to great lengths, often hurting our skin in the process, to eradicate every
blemish, only to see them return in short order, and with our skin in worse condition. It's enough
to make any acne sufferer throw up their hands in despair and yell, acne really sucks!

But there is hope. There is new research showing that there are CLEAR answers that can lead
the way in dealing with this awful problem - if we are willing to let go of the myths and the
misleading information that is so rampant in the world of skin care!

Top

What Causes Acne?

Regardless of your age, gender, skin color, or ethnicity, what causes acne is the same across
the board (Source: British Journal of Dermatology, May 2000, pages 885-892). Understanding
the fundamentals of the problem will go a long way toward helping you obtain clear skin.

At the heart of the matter, acne is an inflammatory disorder. As a result almost everything you do
to combat it will fall under the heading of reducing or eliminating inflammation (Source: Clinical
Dermatology, September-October 2004, pages 360-366)

Keeping that overarching fact in mind, there is a whole series of physiological triggers that create
the environment on your skin that acne just loves, such as a buildup of dead skin cells,
increased oil production, and an accumulation of white blood cells and cellular debris (pus), all of
which ends up in redness, swelling, and the eruption of a blemish. Understanding how to
discourage or stop this sequence of events from taking place will allow you to create a
successful anti-acne skin-care routine at any age (Source: Expert Opinions in
Pharmacotherapy, April 2008, pages 955-971).

The five major factors (and one minor one) that contribute to the formation of blemishes
are:

1. Hormonal activity (primarily androgens, male hormones)


2. Inflammation
3. Overproduction of oil by the sebaceous (oil) gland (The oil gland is an important site for
the formation of active androgens, which control oil production.)
4. Irregular or excessive shedding of dead skin cells, both on the surface of the skin and
inside the pore
5. Buildup of bacteria in the pore, leading to inflammation
6. Sensitizing reactions to cosmetics, specific foods (rarely), or medicines

How Are Blemishes Created?

Inside an oil gland a type of bacteria called Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes) finds a perfect
environment for growth. Dead skin cells and excess oil in the oil gland provide just the kind of
conditions that P. acnes needs to thrive. As P. acnes settles in, thanks to an abundant supply of
sebum, it reproduces, which causes irritation and inflammation. That's why most blemishes are
red and swollen (Source: Cutis, January 2008, pages 81-86).

When things are going well, the sebum smoothly leaves the pore and imperceptibly melts on the
skin's surface, helping to keep the skin surface moist and smooth. When things aren't going well,
the pore becomes plugged with sebum (oil), tiny hairs and dead skin cells, the bacteria run
amok, and white blood cells are produced in abundance. These cells arrive at the site to fight the
bacteria. Inflammation sets in as dead bacteria and dead white blood cells accumulate (pus), and
a blemish seemingly pops out of nowhere.

Diet, Medicine, and Topical Acne Triggers

Most blemishes are caused by the factors described above, but diet, certain medicines, and a
sensitizing reaction to cosmetics also can generate breakouts in some people. Reactions to

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foods such as dairy products, gluten, shellfish, peanuts, too much sugar (glycemic load index), or
other allergies to food also can set off an acne breakout. A condition called acne cosmetica
(which is not the name of a bacteria) also can produce almost instantaneous breakouts when
certain skin-care, hair-care, or makeup products are applied. Identifying which, if any of these,
are true for you can make a significant and relatively immediate improvement in your skin. It
takes experimentation to see what is true for you.

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Acne Myths That Make Matters Worse

There are four major myths about skin care you must unlearn because they only increase
breakouts and will make your oily skin oilier.

Myth #1: You can dry up blemishes. Water is the only thing you can "dry up"; a blemish has
nothing to do with being wet. Drying up the much-needed water in skin damages the skin's ability
to heal and fight off inflammation, and it actually encourages bacterial growth. Absorbing oil that's
on the skin or in the pore is a radically different process from "drying up" skin.

Myth #2: Blemishes are caused by dirty skin. This mistaken belief often leads to harsh
over-cleaning of the face with soaps and strong detergent cleansers. That only increases the
risk of irritation and dryness, and does nothing to prevent blemishes (Source: Cutis, July 2006,
supplemental pages 34-40).

Myth #3: You can spot-treat blemishes. Although you can reduce the redness and swelling of
a blemish with a salicylic acid (BHA)-based product or with a benzoyl peroxide-based product
(both explained below), that doesn't treat the cause of the acne. Dealing with only the blemishes
you see means you are ignoring the blemishes that are in the process of forming.

Myth #4: If it tingles it must be working. Ingredients that make your skin tingle, like alcohol,
menthol, peppermint, eucalyptus, and lemon, show up in countless acne products yet there is no
research showing they have benefit for any skin type. These ingredients are irritating to skin,
and only make matters worse! Irritating the skin triggers stress-sensing nerve endings in the
pore, which in turn stimulate an increase in oil production (Sources: Archives of Dermatological
Research, July 2008, pages 311-316; Clinical Dermatology, September-October 2004, pages
360-366; Dermatology, January 2003, pages 17-23; Medical Electron Microscopy, March 2001,
pages 29-40).

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What You Shouldn't Do

There are certain basics for fighting breakouts that are essential if you are going to have any
chance of winning the battle, but there also are things that anyone struggling with acne should
not do, such as the following:

Avoid harsh or irritating skin-care products. Treating acne-prone skin gently is the best
way to go.
Avoid washing your face with bar soaps or bar cleansers of any kind.
Do not pick at blemishes! I know it's tempting, but doing so can cause the blemish to
rupture and increase the chance of scarring.
Avoid subjecting skin to extreme heat or cold. Hot compresses or ice cubes are not the
way to treat acne or to encourage healing.
Avoid thick, waxy hairstyling products, especially if your hair usually touches your
forehead.

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What You Can Do!


Gentle Cleansing

Cleansing the skin is vital, but it must be done gently. A mild, water-soluble cleanser helps
reduce oily skin and acne. Bar soaps and bar cleansers, however, can make matters worse
because they leave a film or residue on the skin that can clog pores and block the anti-acne
active ingredients you apply afterwards. Bar cleansers and soaps also can be drying and they
tend to be alkaline, which makes the environment more favorable for bacteria, leading to an
increase in the bacteria content of skin (Source: Cutis, July 2006, pages 34-40; Dermatologic
Therapy, 2004, volume 17, supplemental 1, pages 16-25).

Salicylic Acid

Salicylic acid is an amazing multifunctional ingredient that addresses many of the systemic
causes of blemishes (Source: Seminars in Dermatology, December 1990, pages 305-308). It
also is exceedingly effective when used with with benzoyl peroxide (Source: Skin Pharmacology
and Physiology, May 2006, pages 283-289).

Salicylic acid is a derivative of aspirin (both are salicylates; aspirin's technical name is acetyl
salicylic acid) and it has some of aspirin's anti-inflammatory properties (Sources: Seminars in
Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery, September 2008, pages 170-176; and Archives of
Dermatology, November 2000, pages 1390-1395), which reduces inflammation, redness, and
swelling, thus significantly helping the skin heal, preventing scarring, and decreasing the chance
of further breakouts.

Salicylic acid also has antimicrobial properties (Sources: Antisepsis, Disinfection, and
Sterilization, by Gerald E. McDonnell, 2007, ASM Press, page 135; Preservatives for
Cosmetics, by David Steinberg, Allured Publishing, 1996 page 34; and Health Canada
Monograph Category IV, Antiseptic Cleansers), so it can kill the bacteria that cause acne.
Together, all of these properties mean that salicylic acid is one of the more multifunctional
ingredients in combating the causes of acne.

Salicylic acid is a tricky ingredient when used in anti-acne formulas. To be effective, the

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concentration must be at least 0.5%, but 1% to 2% is far more effective; plus, the formula's pH is
a critical factor, with a pH of 3 to 4 being optimal (Sources: Journal of Cosmetic Science,
January-February 2004, pages 65-80; and Cosmetic Dermatology, October 2001, pages 65-72).
In addition, the product must not contain any irritating ingredients, because such ingredients
cause inflammation, which you must avoid as much as possible. Fortunately, well-formulated
salicylic acid products do exist, and I've listed the best options in this report.

Benzoyl Peroxide

Benzoyl peroxide is considered the most effective over-the-counter choice for a topical
antibacterial agent in the treatment of blemishes (Sources: Dermatologic Clinics, January 2009,
pages 33-42; British Journal of Dermatology, August 2008, pages 480-481; and Dermatology
Therapy, March-April 2008, pages 86-95).

Benzoyl peroxide penetrates into the pore and kills acne-causing bacteria, preventing
inflammation. Benzoyl peroxide has a low risk of irritation and it does not have the potential to
create bacterial resistance, which some prescription topical antibiotics and some antibacterial
agents do (Sources: British Journal of Dermatology, August 2008, pages 480-481; and
Dermatology Therapy, March-April 2008, pages 86-95).

The concentration of benzoyl peroxide in products ranges from 2.5% to 10%. A 2.5% benzoyl
peroxide concentration is far less irritating than a 5% or 10% concentration (not irritating the skin
is always the goal), and it can be just as effective. If your skin doesn't respond to the 2.5%
concentration, then you could try the 5% and then the 10% concentration.

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Alternative Treatments

Experimenting with what works is an important way to create a viable anti-acne routine. A gentle,
non-irritating skin-care routine is vital, but not everyone can tolerate or find success using
benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid. There are other options worth investigating, as described
below, although the research behind them is not nearly as impressive as it is for benzoyl
peroxide and salicylic acid.

Tea Tree Oil has some interesting research demonstrating it to be an effective antimicrobial
agent. But when compared with benzoyl peroxide, a 5% concentration is necessary to have an
efficacy similar to that of 5% benzoyl peroxide (Source: The Medical Journal of Australia,
October 1990, pages 455-458). That sounds even but the problem is that there are no skin-care
products being sold that contain an effective amount of tea tree oil. The highest concentration of
tea tree oil I've ever seen in a product is less than 0.5%, which makes it ineffective for treating
acne. Pure tea tree oil is typically a 3% concentration diluted in a carrier oil, so even that isn't
strong enough.

Niacinamide and nicotinic acid are derivatives of vitamin B3. There are a handful of studies
showing they can be helpful for improving the appearance of acne, which most likely is the result
of their anti-inflammatory properties. When included as part of a great anti-acne skin-care routine
as described in this report, they contribute to a powerful combination of products to combat the
events taking place in skin that is fomenting acne (Sources: Journal of Cosmetic Laser Therapy,
June 2006, pages 96-101; and Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, April 2004, pages 88-93).

Prebiotics and Probiotics are microorganisms that occur naturally in the body and are present
in many of the foods we eat, such as yogurt. In vitro research has shown that prebiotics and
probiotics have some activity against the bacteria that lead to inflammatory conditions, of which
P. acnes certainly qualifies (Sources: Advanced in Biochemical Engineering/Biotechnology,
volume 111, 2008, pages 1-66; and International Journal of Cosmetic Science, February 2007,
pages 63-64). Although that's good news, the research on prebiotics and probiotics related to
topical application and their effect on acne is non-existent, so their benefit remains theoretical.

Fatty Acids are an interesting group of ingredients that can have an effect on breakouts, but
exactly how, either positively or negatively, is not clear. For example, while it is thought that
some omega-3 fatty acids such as linoleic acid may have anti-inflammatory properties, which can
be helpful for acne, other research shows it can increase oil production (Source: British Journal
of Dermatology, March 2007, pages 428-432).

Other fatty acids, such as lauric, oleic, and palmitic acids, can have an antibacterial effect on P.
acnes. However, stability is an issue; that is, the fatty acid must be carefully formulated to ensure
it can exert an antibacterial action before breaking down (Sources: Biomaterials, August 2009,
pages 6,035-6,040; and Journal of Investigative Dermatology, April 23, 2009).

Sulfur can have some benefit as a disinfectant for breakouts (Source: American Journal of
Clinical Dermatology, June 2004, pages 459-462). However, when compared with other options,
it is a strong ingredient for use on the skin, causing more irritation then needed to fight
acne-causing bacteria.

Diet can have both a positive and negative effect on acne. As mentioned above, certain
reactions to food can cause blemishes. On the other hand, theoretically, a diet high in foods
known to have anti-inflammatory properties, such as antioxidants and beneficial fatty acids,
potentially can fight acne from the inside out (Source: Lipids in Health and Disease, October
2008, page 36).

What About All That Oil?

Too much oil is primarily a result of hormonal activity (Source: Journal of the American Academy
of Dermatology, December 2001, pages 957-960). When too much oil is produced it easily gets
mixed up with dead surface skin cells and then blocks the pore. Now you've got problems
(Source: International Journal of Cosmetic Science, June 2004, pages 129-138).

Topically there is very little you can do to change how your body produces hormones, which are
the primary way to affect oil production. (Orally, birth control pills can be helpful in this regard,
but they don't work for everyone.) However, because oil production also can be stimulated by

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irritation on the surface of the skin, eliminating anything that irritates the surface of skin without
imparting a benefit is critical.

From a skin-care routine point of view, absorbing oil with clay masks works well as a temporary
fix, as long as they don't contain irritating ingredients. From a cosmetic point of view, powders,
mattifying foundations, and primers are all options worth test driving to see how they work for
you. Of course the best one's to consider are listed in this report.

What to Do When Over-the-Counter Options Fail

Despite some really great over-the-counter options, some acne conditions just won't give up
easily. In those situations, you need to see a dermatologist! The options from dermatologists are
numerous and the rule of not irritating the skin remains paramount.

Prescription topical antibiotics. There are several topical antibiotics to consider, too many to
discuss in great detail in this report. The main ones to discuss with your dermatologist are
erythromycin, clindamycin, minocycline, and tetracycline. These can be used alone, but a good
deal of the research indicates that a greater benefit can be derived from combining one of these
antibiotics with benzoyl peroxide to create a far more potent, effective treatment. When combined
with benzoyl peroxide, the antibiotics act more quickly, they are significantly more effective
against inflamed and total lesions, and they are better tolerated, which should improve usage
(Sources: Dermatology Clinics, January 2009, pages 25-31; British Journal of Dermatology,
January 2008, pages 122-129; Journal of Cutaneous Medical Surgery, January 2001, pages
37-42; and American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, 2001, volume 2, issue 4, pages 263-266).

Oral antibiotics can be extremely effective in controlling acne (Sources: Cutis, August 2008,
pages S5-S12; and International Journal of Dermatology, January 2000, pages 45-50), but as
effective as they are, they also pose serious risks that you must consider. Oral antibiotics kill
good bacteria in the body along with the bad, and that can result in chronic vaginal yeast
infections as well as stomach problems.

In addition, the acne-causing bacteria can become immune or resistant to the oral antibiotic you
are taking (Source: American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, 2001, volume 2, issue 3, pages
135-141). That means that if you have been taking an oral antibiotic to treat your acne for longer
than six months, it can, and almost always does, stop being effective (Source: Seminars in
Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery, September 2008, pages 183-187).

New research about taking low dosages of oral antibiotics to fight acne is changing the concern
about bacterial resistance and adaptation. "Sub-antimicrobial" doses of oral antibiotics taken
long term can improve acne while minimizing, if not completely eliminating, the problem of the
bacteria becoming resistant. It seems that lower doses of oral antibiotics have anti-inflammatory
benefits instead of antibacterial benefits, but they still kill P. acnes (Sources: Journal of Drugs in
Dermatology, December 2008, pages 1149-1152; The British Journal of Dermatology, February
2008, pages 208-216; and Journal of Drugs in Dermatology, September 2007, pages 878-880).
However, that doesn't mean you won't still suffer possible systemic effects; so, regardless of
whether you opt for regular or low dose oral antibiotics, be sure to go over the pros and cons
with your physician.

Dapsone: The New Kid on the Block

Dapsone is a topical disinfectant gel available by prescription in 5% strength. The brand name
for this anti-acne drug is Aczone, and it is made by Allergan (of Botox fame). Dapsone is a drug
of the sulfone family of pharmaceuticals, and its relation to sulfur explains its antibacterial
activity.

Double-blind, large-scale studies examining dapsone's effectiveness on adolescent acne (paid


for by Allergan) have shown that it is well-tolerated and that it brought about "clinically
meaningful" improvements in acne lesion count after 12 weeks, with improvements continuing
with ongoing usage. Side effects were similar to those of the "vehicle gel," which Allergan did not
identify in the studies.

Although Aczone is an option for inflammatory acne and research on its efficacy is positive,
what's lacking are critical comparative studies with other known, established anti-acne drugs
(both prescription and over-the-counter). New doesn't necessarily mean better, so unless
benzoyl peroxide, retinoids, and salicylic acid have failed you, Aczone is not the first line of
defense by any stretch of the imagination (Sources: Cutis, February 2008, pages 171-178, and
November 2007, pages 400-410; Journal of Drugs in Dermatology, October 2007, pages
981-987; and Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, March 2007, pages e10-e10).

The Azelaic Acid Alternative

Azelaic acid 15% gel was approved for the treatment of rosacea in the United States in 2008, but
in many European countries it also has been approved for the treatment of acne vulgaris
(common acne) , where it has demonstrated success. It is definitely on the A-list of options for
treating acne (Sources: Journal of Drugs in Dermatology, January 2008, pages 13-16; and
Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, August 2000, supplemental, pages 47-50).

Retinoid Therapy: Vitamin A for Acne

Tretinoin (Retin-A, Avita, Atralin, and generics) and other vitamin A derivatives such as
tazarotene (Tazorac, Avage) and adapalene (Differin) can play a significant role in an acne
treatment routine. All of these prescription drugs are classified as retinoids.

Retinoid is the general category name for any and all forms of vitamin A. Prescription retinoid
options are basic treatments for blemishes because they change the way skin cells are formed in
the layers of skin as well as in the pore, improving exfoliation and unclogging pores, thereby
producing a significant reduction in inflammatory lesions.

Topical tretinoin and many antibacterial agents have complementary actions, and they work well
together, but if your antibacterial agent is benzoyl peroxide, then you must apply them separately
and at different times because the benzoyl peroxide will render the tretinoin ineffective if applied

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together. The solution is to use benzoyl peroxide in the morning and your tretinoin product at
night. Alternatively, you could use Differin, which is not negatively affected by combined,
concurrent use benzoyl peroxide (Sources: American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, June
2008, pages 369-381; Clinical Therapy, June 2007, pages 1086-1097; and Journal of the
European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, December 2001, page 43).

Oral Supplements for Acne?

There is very little research indicating that vitamins, herbs, or minerals of any kind or in any
combination have any effect on breakouts. A handful of studies have compared oral antibiotics to
zinc, with zinc showing some benefit, but there are far more negatives than positives. Zinc is not
a benign supplement-high doses can be toxic. Plus increased levels of zinc means the body
requires more copper and manganese. There is a very fine line between safe and unsafe
amounts of oral supplementation of zinc (Source: Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and
Biology, January 2006, pages 3-18).

Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) is touted as being effective for acne. However, there is only one
study supporting this notion and it dates from the early 1980s (Source: International Journal of
Dermatology, 1981, volume 20, pages 278-285). There is no current research showing this to be
an effective treatment.

Vitamin A is another oral supplement thought to be helpful for acne. In one study showing it to
have a positive impact, the participants were given 300,000 IU per day. Considering that the
recommended daily allowance is only 10,000 IU, the dose of 300,000 IU is large enough to be
possibly toxic and is not recommended. Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin, so the body stores
what it doesn't use, which is what causes problems when excess amounts are consumed.

There are a couple of studies pertaining to the use of standardized ayurvedic herbs for
managing acne, but "standardized herb" is not defined, so myriad concoctions abound (Sources:
Journal of Ethnopharmacology, November 2001, pages 99-102, and December 1995, pages
127-132).

Birth Control Pills

Some birth control pills have been shown to reduce acne lesions and oil production, in part by
decreasing androgens (male hormones), which are largely responsible for causing blemishes.
Birth control pills are a combination of different synthetic estrogens and progestins. Some
progestins can increase the amount of androgens in the body, while others block the production
of androgens. Because androgens stimulate oil production, blocking androgens for those prone
to breakouts and oily skin is a good thing.

As a result, some of the birth control pills that block androgens have been approved by the FDA
and other regulatory organizations for the treatment of acne, including Ortho Tri-Cyclen (active
ingredient norgestimate/ethinyl estradiol), YAZ (active ingredient drospirenone/ethinyl
Estradioland), and Estrostep (active ingredient norethindrone/ethinyl estradiol). Diane 35
(chemical name ethinylestradiol cyproterone acetate) has been approved in Canada.

Keep in mind, however, that there are risks associated with taking any type of birth control pill,
and you should discuss that with your doctor. Birth control pills also should not be the sole
therapy for acne; rather, they can serve as a good adjunct for those with mild to moderate acne.

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The Best Anti-Acne Products:


Your Over-the-Counter Shopping Guide

The products in the following lists are superior anti-acne options from which you can create a
viable anti-acne skin-care routine. They encompass the four steps that are essential for
obtaining clear skin: gentle cleansing, exfoliation, killing P. acnes bacteria, and absorbing excess
oil.

It takes experimentation with well-formulated, effective products to find the ones that work for you
and the most effective routine. In terms of budget, there are brilliant options in all price ranges,
so price is completely irrelevant to finding the best products.

It is important when you begin experimenting to give any anti-acne routine at least 4-6 weeks
before judging its effectiveness. If the products you choose seem to not be working after using
them consistently for 4-6 weeks, then consider other options, up to and including those available
by prescription. Also, if your skin reacts negatively to the products you are using, stop using
them and consider other options; your skin does not need to get worse before it gets better.

Note: Complete reviews of every product listed can be accessed on my subscription-based Web
site, Beautypedia.

Consider Paula's Choice CLEAR Anti-Acne System

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Because I have struggled with acne to one degree or another all of my life I understand how
frustrating and depressing it can be. Even more depressing is the fact that most acne products
make skin red and irritated increasing oil production and breakouts. After decades of researching
which ingredients can truly improve acne-prone skin and which ones can make it worse, I
created my own product line, Paula’s Choice CLEAR. The standard I use to rate all acne
products is the excellence I used to formulate mine. Without question they will make a CLEAR
difference for your skin.

CLEAR Regular Strength Anti-Acne System

CLEAR Normalizing Cleanser - Pore Clarifying Get ($10.95 for 6 oz)


CLEAR Targeted Acne Relief Toner - With 2% Salicylic Acid ($18.95 for 4 oz)
CLEAR Acne Fighting Treatment - 2.5% Benzoyl Peroxide ($16.95 - 2.25 oz/67 ml )

CLEAR Extra Strength Anti-Acne System

CLEAR Normalizing Cleanser - Pore Clarifying Get ($10.95 for 6 oz)


CLEAR Extra Strength Targeted Acne Relief Toner - With 2% Salicylic Acid ($18.95 for 4
oz)
CLEAR Extra Strength Acne Fighting Treatment - 5s% Benzoyl Peroxide ($16.95 - 2.25
oz/67 ml)

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Best Gentle, Water-Soluble Cleansers for Acne:

Alpha Hydrox Face Wash ($5.99 for 6 ounces)


Boots Expert Anti-Blemish Cleansing Foam ($5.29 for 5 ounces)
Boots No7 Beautifully Balanced Purifying Cleanser, for Oily/Combination Skin ($7.99 for
6.6 ounces)
Clean & Clear Daily Pore Cleanser, Oil-Free ($5.49 for 5.5 ounces)
Clean & Clear Foaming Facial Cleanser, Sensitive Skin ($5.49 for 8 ounces)
Clinique Liquid Facial Soap Mild Formula ($15 for 6.7 ounces)
Dior Self-Foaming Cleanser ($29 for 5 ounces)
Dove Cool Moisture Foaming Facial Cleanser ($6.49 for 6.76 ounces)
Good Skin Perfect Balance Gel Cleanser ($12.50 for 6.7 ounces)
Jan Marini Bioglycolic Bioclean Cleanser ($29 for 8 ounces)
Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cleanser, For All Skin Types ($17.50 for 5 ounces)
Laura Mercier Oil-Free Gel Cleanser ($35 for 8 ounces)
Laura Mercier One-Step Cleanser ($35 for 8 ounces)
Mary Kay Deep Cleanser Formula 3 ($12 for 6.5 ounces)
MD Forte Replenish Hydrating Cleanser, Glycolic Free ($25 for 8
ounces)
Neutrogena Fresh Foaming Cleanser ($6.59 for 6.7 ounces)
Neutrogena One Step Gentle Cleanser ($7.49 for 5.2 ounces)
Olay Foaming Face Wash, for Sensitive Skin ($4.49 for 6.78 ounces)
Patricia Wexler M.D. Dual Action Foaming Cleanser ($16 for 5.1 ounces)
Paula's Choice CLEAR Normalizing Cleanser ($10.95 for 6 ounces)
Paula's Choice Skin Balancing Cleanser ($15.95 for 8 ounces)
Paula's Choice One Step Face Cleanser for Normal to Oily/Combination
Skin ($15.95 for 8 ounces)
Patricia Wexler M.D. Dual Action Foaming Cleanser ($16 for 5.1 ounces)
Peter Thomas Roth Gentle Foaming Cleanser ($32 for 6.7 ounces)
Ultraceuticals Gentle Cleansing Gel ($36 for 6.76 ounces)
Zia Natural HydraClean Face Wash ($9.95 for 5 ounces)

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Best Topical Disinfectants (Benzoyl Peroxide) for Acne:

Clean & Clear Persa-Gel 10, Maximum Strength ($5.89 for 1 ounce)
Clearasil StayClear Tinted Acne Treatment Cream ($6.29 for 1 ounce)
Clearasil StayClear Vanishing Acne Treatment Cream ($6.29 for 1
ounce)
Clinique Acne Solutions Emergency Gel Lotion ($13.50 for 0.5 ounce)
Kate Somerville Anti-Bac Clearing Lotion ($39 for 1.7 ounces)
Mary Kay Acne Treatment Gel ($7 for 1 ounce)
Oxy Oxy Spot Treatment ($5.49 for 0.65 ounce)

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Paula's Choice CLEAR Acne Fighting Treatment ($16.95 for 2.25


ounces)
Paula's Choice CLEAR Extra Strength Acne Fighting Treatment ($17.95
for 2.25 ounces)
ProActiv Solution Repairing Lotion ($21.75 for 2 ounces)
Rodan + Fields Step 3: Unblemish Acne Benzoyl Peroxide Treatment
($47 for 1.7 ounces)
Serious Skin Care Clearz-It Acne Medication ($17.50 for 2 ounces)
Stridex Power Pads ($6.99 for 28 pads)
Zapzyt 10% Benzoyl Peroxide Acne Treatment Gel ($5.29 for 1 ounce)

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Best Beta Hydroxy Acid (Salicylic Acid) Exfoliants for Acne:

Clinique Skin Conditioning Treatment ($65 for 1 ounce)


Cosmedicine Speedy Recovery Acne Treatment Daytime Blemish Lotion SPF 15 ($40 for
2 ounces)
Cosmedicine Speedy Recovery Acne Treatment On-the-Spot Gel ($18
for 0.23 ounce)
Estee Lauder Fruition Extra Multi-Action Complex ($73 for 1.7 ounces)
Jan Marini Factor-A Plus Mask ($81 for 2 ounces)
Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Stress ontrol 3-In-1 Hydrating Acne
Treatment ($7.99 for 2 ounces)
Nu Skin Clear Action Acne Medication Night Treatment ($38 for 1
ounce)
Paula's Choice CLEAR Targeted Relief Acne Toner with 2% Salicylic
Acid ($18.95 for 4 ounces)
Paula's Choice CLEAR Extra Strength Targeted Relief Acne Toner with
2% Salicylic Acid ($18.95 for 4 ounces)
Paula's Choice 1% Beta Hydroxy Acid Lotion ($18.95 for 4 ounces)
Paula's Choice 1% Beta Hydroxy Acid Gel ($18.95 for 4 ounces)
Paula's Choice 2% Beta Hydroxy Acid Lotion ($18.95 for 4 ounces)
Paula's Choice 2% Beta Hydroxy Acid Gel ($18.95 for 4 ounces)
Paula's Choice 2% Beta Hydroxy Acid Liquid ($18.95 for 4 ounces)
ProActiv Solution Clarifying Night Cream ($28.75 for 1 ounce)

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Best Oil-Absorbing Products for Acne and/or Oily Skin:

Bioelements Restorative Clay Mask ($30 for 2.5 ounces)


Biore Purify Self Heating Mask($7.99 for 2.08 ounces)
Boots Botanics Conditioning Clay Mask ($8.99 for 4.2 ounces)
Clinique Pore Minimizer Instant Perfector ($17.50 for 0.5 ounce)
Cosmedicine Medi-Matte Tint Oil Control Lotion SPF 20 ($42 for
1.35 ounces)
DHC Mineral Mask ($35 for 3.5 ounces)
Jan Marini Factor-A Plus Mask ($81 for 2 ounces)
Kiehl's Rare Earth Facial Cleansing Masque, for Normal to Oily
Skin Types ($20 for 5 ounces)
Nu Skin Epoch Glacial Marine Mud ($24.70 for 7 ounces)
Paula's Choice Skin Balancing Carbon Mask ($14.95 for 4
ounces)
Paula's Choice Skin Balancing Super Antioxidant Mattifying
Concentrate ($24.95 for 1 ounce)
Skinceuticals Clarifying Clay Masque Deep Pore Cleansing Skin-Refining Masque ($42
for 2 ounces)
Smashbox Anti-Shine ($27 for 1 ounce)
The Body Shop Tea Tree Oil Face Mask for Normal, Oily, or Blemished Skin ($15.50 for
4.8 ounces)

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Best Lightweight Moisturizers for Dealing with Acne Accompanied by Dry Patches or Flaky Skin:

Boots Expert Sensitive Light Moisturizing Lotion ($5.99 for 6.7 ounces)
Boots Expert Sensitive Hydrating Serum ($7.49 for 1.6 ounces)
BeautiControl Cell Block-C P.M. Cell Protection ($36.50 for 1 ounce)
CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion ($12.99 for 12 ounces)
Clinique Super Rescue Antioxidant Night Moisturizer, for Combination Oily to Oily Skin
($42.50 for 1.7 ounces)
Clinique Turnaround Concentrate Visible Skin Renewer ($37.50 for
1 ounce)
Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Concentrate Recovery
Boosting Treatment ($85 for 1 ounce)
Estee Lauder Nutritious Vita-Mineral Radiance Serum ($40 for 1
ounce)
Dermalogica AGE Smart Map-15 Regenerator ($85 for 0.3 ounce)
Good Skin All Calm Moisture Lotion ($24.50 for 1.7 ounces)
Isomers Absolutes Anti Redness Serum ($29.99 for 1 ounce)
MD Formulations Critical Care Calming Gel ($39 for 1 ounce)
MD Formulations Moisture Defense Antioxidant Hydrating Gel ($45
for 1 ounce)
Olay Regenerist Daily Regenerating Serum ($19.49 for 1.7 ounces,
available in regular or fragrance-free, with the fragrance-free option
being preferred)

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Cosmetics Cop: Skin Care & Makeup Tips & Reviews http://www.cosmeticscop.com/antiacne2009.aspx#avoid

Paula's Choice Skin Balancing Moisture Gel ($18.95 for 2 ounces)


Paula's Choice HydraLight Moisture-Infusing Lotion ($18.95 for 2
ounces)
Paula's Choice Super Antioxidant Concentrate, for All Skin Types ($24.95 for 1 ounce)
Prescriptives Intensive Rebuilding Lotion ($80 for 1.7 ounces)
Prescriptives Redness Relief Gel ($50 for 1 ounce)
Prescriptives Super Line Preventor Xtreme ($48 for 1 ounce)

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