Sometimes, when we’re glaring at an out-of-nowhere bump on our nose, we have to wonder whether anything will ever send acne packing for good. And, of the purported "cures" out there, which ones actually lead to the clear complexion we’ve always dreamed of — and which are just a bunch of hokum?
So, we decided to delve into the wild, weird, and often dubious world of acne treatments. From prescription-strength remedies (Retin-A! Accutane!) to kitchen-pantry saviors, such as apple cider vinegar, we’ve evaluated a host of blemish-battling solutions to separate the worthy from the whack. Some of the top dermatologists and aestheticians from coast to coast, each with a strong background in acne, gave us their thoughts on what’s brilliant (and what’s baloney).
While our experts agreed unanimously on some face fixers, their opinions were split on others. All agreed that, with few exceptions, treating acne is almost always a multi-pronged approach — and that it’s often a matter of managing acne, not eradicating it. (They also noted that not all acne is the same; a treatment may work wonders on blackheads, for instance, but do diddley-squat for cysts.)
We’ve rated the treatments accordingly. If it’s a sure, across-the-board yes or no, you’ll know — and as for those “maybe” votes, that’s where the meaty discussion happens.
Read on for straight talk on the real ways to treat acne. Because, if you’re anything like us, you just can’t wait to give those zits the kiss-off.
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Illustrated by Elliot Salazar