9 Acne Products Beauty Editors Swear By

Photographed by Collins Nai.
Here's a universal, and unfortunate, truth: We all get zits. Pre-teens, adults, men, women, and, yes, even beauty editors with bathrooms that look like drugstores.

And while editors don't display their go-to blemish-clearing formulas front-and-center (that's reserved for Tom Ford perfumes), don't be mistaken: They have entire arsenals. They’re not all emergency formulas, either. That’s because after years of talking to dermatologists (never about themselves, no, never), they've learned that clear skin starts long before you spot the spot. Ahead, find out what those in the industry use to tackle troublesome skin.

The grown-up guide to dealing with acne. Read more from The Acne Diaries here.

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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.
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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.

Blemish + Age Defense, $90, available at SkinCeuticals.
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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.
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— PAID —

When it's sweltering outside, the last thing you want is an oily face. This mattifying product keeps your skin shine-free for up to eight hours. Add SPF 15 to the mix, and you have a multitasking hero that'll become a mainstay in your skin-care arsenal.

Murad Oil-Control Mattifier, $39.50, available at Murad.
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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.

Clear Complexion Foaming Cleanser, $9.99, available at Ulta Beauty.
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Here’s something you may not realize: According to dermatologist Ellen Marmur, MD, “most acne is due to skin-barrier dryness — fix it and your acne will relax and vanish.” She swears by Previse Nutrify Serum Skin Types 1-6 (she recommends a few drops all over), followed by SkinMedica HA5, a super-hydrator.

Previse Nutrify Serum Skin Types 1-6, $48, available at Previse.
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The gold standard for tackling breakouts is benzoyl peroxide, which fights the bacteria that causes pimples. This drugstore formula is a must in our medicine cabinets because it has the highest concentration of benzoyl peroxide you can get your hands on (10%) without a prescription. Apply it twice a day to problem spots, but look out for dryness and reduce the dosage accordingly if needed.

Clearasil Ultra Rapid Action Vanishing Cream, $7.99, available at Walgreens.
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There are plenty of formulas to unclog pores and kill bacteria-causing zits, but none seem to address the oil production that leads to pimples. This formula is a new favorite because rather than soak up sebum with tiny sponges (a short-term solution), it inhibits the enzyme that makes your skin produce too much of it in the first place. It also attacks bacteria and exfoliates with a papaya enzyme. So clever.

Avène Cleanance Expert, $26, available at Avène.
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Pat on a few drops of this light serum before your moisturizer, or mix it into an acne-treatment mask to combat the drying effects. The hyaluronic acid will keep your skin moisturized, while the niacinamide takes down redness.

Skin Inc. Vitamin B3+ Niacinamide Serum, $45, available at Sephora.
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When you wake up with a breakout, you don't have to choose between "letting the skin breathe" (which we know is a myth) while treating it and covering it up with foundation and concealer. Do both with this tinted sulfur-and-zinc-oxide treatment, which masks the evidence while drawing out oil.

Dermalogica Concealing Spot Treatment, $26, available at Ulta Beauty.
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