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A Dermatologist Shares Her 7 Favorite Products For Acne-Prone Skin

Throughout middle school and high school, I regularly applied massive dollops of maximum-strength benzoyl peroxide gel on my face in an attempt to banish teen acne. It mostly worked: My blemishes were either entirely gone or reduced in size, but I tolerated frequent redness, dryness, and even burning — and I sacrificed countless pillowcases and towels in the process (sorry, mom). 
Benzoyl peroxide is proven to be an effective spot treatment for breakouts, but now, at 32, I manage my acne (which often shows up as a cluster of blackheads on my nose, painful cysts that pop up during my period, or a dreaded whitehead that emerges at the most inopportune time) a little less aggressively: My current regimen includes a mix of products that contain both breakout-fighting actives and barrier-restoring ingredients, which helps keep zits — and bleach stains — at bay without damaging my skin's barrier (aka the outermost layer responsible for retaining moisture and providing protection from external stressors). The best part? They’re all available over the counter — and more specifically, in the aisles of my local Ulta Beauty store.
Of course, it’s entirely up to you if you choose to treat acne or simply let your skin do its thing (here’s to more skin positivity in 2023!), but tweaking your skin-care routine ever so slightly to incorporate specific kinds of products is an easy way to manage some mild to moderate acne, Camille Howard-Verovic, DO, FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist who works with Ulta Beauty, tells Refinery29. (To treat more severe acne, where inflamed pimples, painful cystic lesions, and scarring are frequent and significant, she recommends visiting a dermatologist for a prescription treatment or reaching for an over-the-counter retinoid, such as Differin Acne Treatment Gel.)
From backne-busting body washes and mattifying moisturizers to oil-free sunscreens and hydrating serums, click through to see — and shop — seven dermatologist-recommended products that work well for acne-prone skin (and don’t require a prescription).

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