The Under-$25 Acne-Friendly Products This Skinfluencer Swears By

Welcome to Acne Week, a five-day stretch where we get real about pimples, zits, cysts, and every bump or blemish in between. From skin-soothing products R29 editors swear by to exclusive deals on the most breakout-friendly beauty brands, we’re kissing the concept of “bad skin” goodbye and exploring why acne is so much more than skin deep.
"Friends have always come to me for [skin care] recommendations," digital creator Cathy Cao (better known as her online moniker Cathy on Skincare) tells me during a video call. "So I thought, why not put myself online and talk to people as if they were a friend of mine." Even though Cao only debuted her YouTube channel during the pandemic, her well-researched, honest videos quickly resonated with fellow beauty enthusiasts — 171,000 subscribers (and counting).
"I used to think that I needed to spend $60 on a moisturizer for it to be good," says Cao. "But then, I started looking into ingredients and doing research [into product formulations]. I used to be an investment banker and startup founder, so scientific research is super important to me." From ingredient explainers to viral product reviews, Cao has quickly built a following, thanks to her informative yet wildly digestible content — which includes plenty of product recommendations for oily and breakout-prone complexions.
With all that in mind, we asked Cao to curate her ultimate under-$25 haul of acne-quelling cleansers, moisturizers, spot treatments, and more. Keep clicking to browse, read, and shop her 12 choice picks in the slides to come.
At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. All product details reflect the price and availability at the time of publication. If you buy or click on something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.

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