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Some treatments are designed for that panic-inducing moment when you see a spot and need it gone — yesterday. This is one of those. But it's not just a quick fix; pros love it because it takes a long-term approach and is packed with active ingredients designed to reduce the shadows and scars left by recurring breakouts. The actives include isodecyl neopentanoate, which boosts the skin’s moisture barrier, a trio of molecules (with really long names) that destroy acne-causing bacteria, and papain, an exfoliating enzyme.
Avène TriAcnéal Night Smoothing Lotion, $60, available at DermStore.
The skin-care equivalent of your most type-A friend (you know, the task-oriented, problem-solving Martha), this oil-free serum is beloved in the industry. The actives tackle fine lines and acne in one go — and the science is solid. Sloughing ingredients like glycolic acid and LHA clear your pores (fewer pimples) and boost cell turnover (fewer lines) — so it’s a win-win.
SkinCeuticals Blemish + Age Defense, $90, available at SkinCeuticals.
For the acne-prone, choosing a sunscreen is like navigating a minefield of possible breakouts and greasy complexions. Dermatologist Ranella Hirsch, MD, loves this formula, which “finally addresses oily skin still needing sun protection.” It sinks in quickly and sits comfortably under makeup, creating a protective layer that doesn’t exacerbate oil production or block pores.
La Roche-Posay Anthelios Clear Skin Dry Touch Sunscreen, $19.99, available at Ulta Beauty.
Ask a derm how to solve a specific skin problem (like zits!), and the first thing he or she will want to look at is your daily routine. That’s because each step is a chance to address the underlying issue. And for the first step — cleansing — Dr. Hirsch loves this lightweight foam, which removes oil, dirt, and makeup, helping to prevent breakouts by unclogging pores. Editors also love it because with .5% salicylic acid, it’s gentle but effective.
Aveeno Clear Complexion Foaming Cleanser, $9.99, available at Ulta Beauty.