The 14 Best Drugstore Acne Treatments That Experts Love

Once you find the products that work for you, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be 100% in the clear. There is such a thing as user error, after all. Both Hartman and Aguilar shared some other tips for treating acne with us:

Be consistent: “Commit to consistency. The products and the regimen are secondary to a commitment to actually using them regularly,” Hartman says. “This one simple tactic will take you farther than the most expensive product or in-office procedure.”

Start small: “The biggest mistake one can make when shopping for OTC drugstore acne treatments is buying and doing too much,” Aguilar explains. “It’s best to start small and with the basics. For example, a new cleanser and moisturizer is a great way to start. Then maybe after two weeks, a new product can be introduced. Acne doesn’t clear up in a day, so going home with a cart full of new products isn’t going to help. It’s best to start minimal, asses, and reevaluate what is and isn’t helping.”

Follow the directions: Aguilar says this is another mistake. “I once received an email from someone asking for help,” she recalls. “He left an acne mask on overnight! The instructions had clearly labeled the mask to be rinsed off after three to five minutes. He gave himself a severe chemical burn.”

Only using one ingredient: Aguilar adds that some people might make the mistake of making a single ingredient the bathroom star. “You don’t need a salicylic acid cleanser, followed by a salicylic acid serum finished with a salicylic moisturizer,” she says. “A single star ingredient can alter your pH, making your skin feel uncomfortable and creating an imbalanced skin flora.”

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