14 Best Drugstore Acne Treatment Products Of 2022

Achieve clear, healthy, and radiant skin without burning a hole in your pockets.

By Oyendrila Kanjilal, Certified Skin Care Coach
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The road to clean and healthy skin can be a long and unpredictable one. The urge to throw any product on your zit to make it go away is real and can be an expensive affair. To avoid yourself from blowing up your entire paycheck, go for the best drugstore acne treatment. These easy and over-the-counter products contain salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, and retinol which unclogs your pores and exfoliates your skin. Check out a list of drugstore acne treatments you can incorporate into your skincare routine.

Top Picks
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Best Non-Comedogenic:CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser
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Best Fragrance-Free:CeraVe AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion AM SPF 30
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Best For Sun Protection:Neutrogena Clear Face Liquid Lotion Sunscreen
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Best In Budget:Differin Adapalene Gel 0.1% Acne Treatment
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Best For Shine Control:Neutrogena Rapid Clear Stubborn Acne Facial Cleanser
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Best For Deep Cleansing:Clean & Clear Advantage Acne Spot Treatment
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Best For All Skin Types:Burt's Bees Natural Acne Solutions
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Best With Salicylic Acid:Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne and Redness Facial Cleanser
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Best For Unclogging Pores:Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Fighting Facial Cleanser
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Best Oil-Free Formula:La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo Dual Action Acne Treatment
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The 14 Best Drugstore Acne Treatments Of 2022

1. Best Non-Comedogenic:CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser

To treat acne, keeping your skin clear of dirt and oil is very important. The CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser is developed by dermatologists and helps remove dirt and oil without disrupting the skin barrier.

It contains hyaluronic acid that hydrates the skin and leaves it feeling supple. The three ceramides even out uneven skin tone. The niacinamide helps soothe acne inflammation. The gel texture of this foaming cleanser is non-comedogenic and has no skin irritants or fragrances. Most importantly, this anti-acne foaming cleanser does not make the skin feel dry and stretched after use. This is definitely one of the best drugstore acne products. Click here to check out a detailed personal review of this product.

Pros

  • Deep cleanses skin
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Soothes the skin
  • Evens out skin tone
  • Leaves the skin hydrated and feeling soft
  • Hyaluronic acid moisturizes the skin
  • The foam gives a feel-good experience
  • Fragrance-free
  • Does not irritate the skin
  • Developed by dermatologists
  • Can be used to remove makeup
  • Ideal for normal to dry skin
  • Value for money

Cons

  • Not for oily skin

2. Best Fragrance-Free:CeraVe AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion

Moisturizing your skin and keeping it hydrated is the second most important step for fighting acne and restoring your skin’s health. The CeraVe AM Moisturizing Lotion comes with SPF 30 and works perfectly for the daytime.

The innovative invisibleZinc technology spreads micro-fine zinc oxide evenly and easily. The three types of niacinamide in the lotion restore and maintain the protective skin barrier. The hyaluronic acid hydrates the skin, and the MVE controlled-release technology helps replenish ceramide, ensuring long-lasting moisturization.

It is a gentle and effective moisturizer for sensitive, acne-prone skin. This nourishing cream also helps protect from sunburn. CeraVe creates one of the best drugstore acne products, and this moisturizer with SPF is among the highly recommended ones. Here’s a personal review video to help you get a better understanding of the moisturizer.

Pros

  • Hydrates the skin all day
  • Ceramides restore and maintain even-textured skin
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Has SPF 30
  • Hyaluronic acid moisturizes the skin
  • Oil-free
  • Fragrance-free
  • Protects from sunburn
  • Spreads evenly and easily
  • Gentle and non-irritating
  • Value for money
  • Travel-friendly packaging

Cons

  • May leave a white residue.
  • Not for very dry skin.
  • Not for sensitive skin.

3. Best For Sun Protection:Neutrogena Clear Face Liquid Lotion Sunscreen

Neutrogena is one of the most trusted drugstore skin care brands. Its Clear Face Liquid Lotion Sunscreen with broad-spectrum SPF 55 can be used for the face and the body. It is one of the best sunscreens for acne-prone skin. It is stabilized with Helioplex technology and provides superior protection from UVA and UVB rays.

The lightweight texture gives the skin a weightless, matte finish. The product is non-comedogenic and dermatologist-recommended. It does not clog pores or cause the skin to breakout. It is free of skin irritants, like fragrance, and remains water-resistant for 80 minutes. Need more information on the sunscreen? Watch this video.

Pros

  • Broad-spectrum SPF 55
  • Can be used on the face and body
  • Stabilized with Helioplex technology
  • Provides superior sun protection from UVA and UVB rays
  • Dermatologist-recommended
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Water-light
  • Oil-free
  • Non-greasy
  • Does not clog pores
  • Water-resistant for 80 minutes
  • Fragrance-free
  • Gives a matte finish to the skin
  • Reasonably priced

Cons

  • Use with caution if your skin is prone to rashes.
  • May irritate sensitive skin.

4. Best In Budget:Differin Adapalene Gel 0.1% Acne Treatment

If you are looking for a drugstore acne treatment to reduce scarring, the Differin Adapalene Gel is your best bet. This FDA-approved gel acne treatment contains the retinoid, which helps regulate skin cell turnover and reduce inflammation. The water-based formula of this acne treatment gel is perfect for oily skin. It is alcohol-free and does not dry your skin out. It is fragrance-free and non-comedogenic.

The Differin Gel is cool and extremely gentle on sensitive, acne-prone skin. Apply it all over your face regularly twice a day to reduce new acne and scarring. This anti-acne retinol gel product leaves the skin with a flawless finish and even texture. It also helps reduce hyperpigmentation.

Pros

  • Contains retinoid adapalene
  • Non-comedogenic
  • FDA-approved
  • Clears pimples, whiteheads, and blackheads
  • Gentle and cool
  • Evens out skin texture
  • Prevents scarring
  • Prevents new acne formation
  • Water-based
  • Reduces hyperpigmentation
  • Fragrance-free

Cons

  • Not for spot treatment.
  • Too much product may irritate sensitive skin.

5. Best For Shine Control:Neutrogena Rapid Clear Stubborn Acne Facial Cleanser

Want a more budget-friendly cleanser for acne-prone skin? Try the Neutrogena Rapid Clear Stubborn Acne Facial Cleanser. It contains 10% benzoyl peroxide, a compound similar to salicylic acid and adapalene that help in acne treatment.

For less than 10 dollars, this facial cleanser deep cleans your skin, fights acne, and prevents future breakouts. What’s worth your money is that this daily face wash gives you smooth, clear, fresh, and oil-free skin. No doubt it is a favorite gentle acne cleanser for so many people around the world! 

Pros

  • Non-comedogenic
  • Deep cleans
  • Does not clog pores
  • Contains 10% benzoyl peroxide
  • Prevents future breakouts
  • Skin feels fresh, smooth, clean, and oil-free
  • Controls shine
  • Foaming, gentle cleanser
  • Costs under 10 dollars

Cons

  • May cause irritation to benzoyl peroxide-sensitive skin.
  • May make the skin too dry.
  • Not for people with dry skin.

6. Best For Deep Cleansing:Clean & Clear Advantage Acne Spot Treatment

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When it comes to treating acne, spot treatments work wonders. Clean & Clear is known for its facewashes. It has now come up with an effective anti-blemish spot treatment. It is made with witch hazel, which helps soothe the skin. Its vital acne-fighting ingredient is 2% salicylic acid. It penetrates the pores and clears blemishes.

The best part is, this is a quick-acting anti-acne solution. It starts working the moment you apply it to your skin. It dissolves the oil on the skin and reduces the size, swelling, and redness of the breakouts. The narrow tip tube allows for easy application on breakouts. It is travel-friendly and is truly a quick solution to your breakout emergencies.

Pros

  • Quick-acting
  • Reduces the size and redness of blemishes
  • Witch hazel soothes the skin
  • Doesn’t over-dry the skin
  • Suitable for all skin types
  • Reasonably priced

Cons

  • You may experience peeling of the skin.
  • Contains fragrance, may irritate the skin.
  • Not for cystic acne.

7. Best For All Skin Types:Burt’s Bees Natural Acne Solutions

Burt’s Bees offers natural acne spot blemish treatment for under 10 dollars! It is formulated with tea tree, yarrow, calendula, and parsley extracts. It is a clinically tested non-comedogenic spot treatment for acne. This works within 48 hours of application and visibly reduces the size and redness of acne. The natural ingredients help soothe the skin and make the skin smooth and clearer.

Pros

  • Salicylic acid helps reduce acne size
  • Works within 48 hours
  • Contains tea tree, yarrow, calendula, and parsley extracts
  • Natural fragrance
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Travel-friendly

Cons

  • Tea tree extract may irritate highly sensitive skin.
  • Expensive for the quantity.

8. Best With Salicylic Acid:Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne And Redness Facial Cleanser

When you have acne on your face, you need a special and gentle facewash. Neutrogena has formulated one such facial cleanser for acne-prone skin – the Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne and Redness Facial Cleanser. It is the number 1 dermatologist-recommended Oil-Free Acne and Redness Facial Cleanser.

It has salicylic acid, aloe, and chamomile. Its MicroClear technology boosts the delivery of salicylic acid and helps reduce pores faster. Aloe and chamomile reduce inflammation and redness. This facial cleanser is gentle, removes oil, dirt, and impurities, and unclogs pores without over-drying the skin. After use, it leaves your skin feeling clean, smooth, and fresh.

The packaging is great. It comes with a pump for easy and controlled dispensing of the product; and it offers great value for money.

Pros

  • Faster delivery of salicylic acid through MicroClear technology
  • Chamomile and aloe reduce inflammation and redness
  • Removes oil, dirt, and impurities
  • Does not over-dry the skin
  • Developed specifically for acne-prone skin
  • Unclogs pores
  • Value for money
  • Comes in two types of packaging

Cons

  • May cause hyperpigmentation on sensitive skin.
  • May make skin feel tight.
  • Not for oily skin.

9. Best For Unclogging Pores:Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Fighting Facial Cleanser

Along with acne, if you have blackheads and whiteheads, the Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Fighting Facial Cleanser can be a ready solution to your skin problems. This acne-fighting face wash deep cleans the pores, unclogs them, and removes oil and dirt efficiently. Its MicroClear technology helps in the faster delivery of salicylic acid. Salicylic acid helps reduce the size of the breakouts and clears up whiteheads and blackheads. Use this non-comedogenic, oil-free formula to unclog pores and get clear, non-oily, fresh, and smooth skin.

Pros

  • Deep cleanses the skin
  • Salicylic acid reduces the size of acne
  • Good for getting rid of whiteheads and blackheads
  • Oil-free
  • Gets rid of oil, dirt, and impurities
  • Non-comedogenic
  • MicroClear technology for faster delivery of salicylic acid
  • Value for money
  • Pump dispenser

Cons

  • May cause drying and peeling of the skin.
  • Can irritate sensitive skin.

10. Best Oil-Free Formula:La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo Dual Action Acne Treatment

La Roche-Posay is a reputed and trusted French drugstore brand. Their products are medical-grade and highly effective. The Effaclar Duo Dual Action Acne Treatment from LaRoche-Posay is one of the powerful acne treatments. It is dermatologist-tested, paraben-free, oil-free, fragrance-free, and suitable for sensitive skin.

It contains 5.5% benzoyl peroxide and micro-exfoliating LHA as active ingredients. These ingredients gently penetrate clogged pores and reduce acne by 60% in just 10 days. This acne treatment can also help one get rid of whiteheads and blackheads. The narrow nozzle tip allows easy dispensation of the product on affected areas. It absorbs fast and does not dry out the skin.

Pros

  • Non-comedogenic
  • Paraben-free
  • Oil-free
  • Fragrance-free
  • Dermatologist-tested
  • Reduces acne by 60% in just 10 days
  • Gets rid of blackheads and whiteheads
  • LHA ensures cell by cell exfoliation to clear dead skin cells and oil
  • Less amount goes a long way

Cons

  • An excess amount may cause skin irritation.
  • Super strong for sensitive skin.

11. Best Dermatologist-Tested:Acne Pimple Master Patch

The Acne Pimple Master Patch is a medicated pad or patch that you can stick on a pimple with pus (or when it has burst open). Popping ripe breakouts or accidentally bursting them without covering exposes their underlying layers to pollutants and infections. Applying an acne patch helps protect the skin against dirt and acne bacteria.

The Acne Pimple Master Patch starts absorbing oil and sebum the moment it is applied to the skin. The hydrocolloid protects wounds from dust and viruses in the air. It prevents the wound from worsening and helps skin heal faster. Applying an easy-to-use, convenient, and soothing acne patch on a ripe pimple or zit reduces the urge to squeeze or pop it. Over time, you will notice fewer acne scars and pigmentation on the skin.

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Reduces the urge to pop a pimple
  • Protects the skin from bacteria and dust
  • Hydrocolloid protects wounds from dust and viruses in the air
  • Easy to use
  • Absorbs oil and sebum
  • Acne treatment under 5 dollars

Cons

  • Some patches may not stick well.
  • May take time to work.
  • May not work for severe breakouts.

12. Best Easy -To-Use:Panoxyl Acne Foaming Wash

The Panoxyl Acne Foaming Wash is formulated with 10% benzoyl peroxide. It penetrates the pores and clears the skin of dirt, oil, and impurities. It also helps kill the acne-causing bacteria. This foaming face wash is a dermatologist-recommended face cleanser. It clears all acne blemishes and prevents the formation of new acne. 

Pros

  • Unclogs pores
  • Contains 10% benzoyl peroxide
  • Foaming face wash
  • Prevents new acne breakouts
  • Quickly penetrates pores
  • Kills acne-causing bacteria
  • Works on face, chest, and back

Cons

  • May have an off-putting smell.
  • The old formula may have changed.
  • Harsh for dry and sensitive skin.
  • Can not be used by people sensitive to benzoyl peroxide.

13. Best Anti-Inflammatory:Neutrogena Rapid Clear Acne Eliminating Spot Treatment Gel

The Neutrogena Rapid Clear Acne Eliminating Spot Treatment Gel is a powerful acne treatment. It works in just 8 hours! It is formulated with salicylic acid and witch hazel that help reduce breakouts, prevent new acne, and soothe the skin. Apply a thin layer to the affected spot to see a significant improvement overnight. Swelling and redness will also reduce. 

Pros

  • Contains 2% salicylic acid
  • MicroClear technology for faster delivery of salicylic acid
  • Witch hazel soothes the skin
  • Reduces redness and swelling
  • Clears clogged pores
  • Prevents new acne breakouts

Cons

  • Expensive for the quantity.

14. Best Lightweight:Neutrogena On-the-Spot Acne Treatment

The Neutrogena On-the-Spot Acne Treatment is one of the best acne spot treatments. It is a clinically-proven spot treatment acne medication. It contains 2.5% benzoyl peroxide, which helps clear the skin in just one day! It is a lightweight formula and absorbs quickly into the skin. It penetrates the pores and kills acne-causing bacteria and prevents new acne formation. This drugstore acne treatment offers long-lasting protection to the skin and helps it look healthy and glowing. 

Pros

  • 5% benzoyl peroxide
  • Less irritating
  • Penetrates pores and kills acne-causing bacteria
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Oil-free
  • Lightweight formula
  • Long-lasting protection
  • Does not dry skin out

Cons

  • Not for people sensitive to benzoyl peroxide.
  • Not for oily skin.
  • Expensive for the quantity
  • Does not work on ripe acne or pimples

These are the 14 best drugstore acne treatments of 2021. Before you buy any, here’s what to look for in a good drugstore acne treatment product.

How To Choose The Right Drugstore Acne Treatment 

  • Check if the acne treatment product has salicylic acid. It helps reduce acne breakouts.
  • Check if the acne treatment product has retinoids. Retinoids help unclog the pores and normalize skin cell turnover and prevent dead cells from clogging pores. Retinoids also reduce inflammation.
  • Check if the acne treatment has benzoyl peroxide. This acne-fighting ingredient kills acne-causing bacteria. However, if you have very sensitive skin, avoid an acne treatment that has more than 2% benzoyl peroxide.
  • Check if the acne treatment cleanser or moisturizer has soothing ingredients, like aloe.
  • Avoid acne treatments that contain fragrance.
  • If you are new to acne treatments, begin with a gentle cleanser and spot treatment gel.
  • Check if your acne treatment moisturizer contains SPF.
  • Avoid acne treatment products that have alcohol. It will dry your skin out and may cause peeling.

There are various reasons that trigger acne, and the cosmetics world offers way too many products to deal with the condition. Not just the confusion of selecting what works best for your skin type but these products also burn a hole through your savings. Well, the best drugstore acne products listed above are safer alternatives that help treat mild to moderate acne without blowing through your budget. Most of the products contain ingredients that help remove excess oil and clear the clogged pores to give you a spotless glow. These products are non-comedogenic, gentle, and oil-free. However, not all products suit every skin type, and you must carefully pick the products that suit your skin’s needs. Always do a patch test before if you have sensitive skin.

Why Trust StyleCraze?

Oyendrila Kanjilal, the author of this article, is a certified skin care coach with a passion for finding and reviewing the best skin care products on the market. She keeps an eye out for high-quality products from drugstore brands. For this article, she has conducted thorough research and carefully reviewed some of the best drugstore acne products. The products she recommends on this list are affordable, highly rated, and can help you get rid of acne issues without causing damage to your skin.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best over-the-counter medicine for acne?

The Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Fighting Facial Cleanser is one the most effective OTC skin care products that help unclog your pores easily and reduce acne.

How do I know if my acne is hormonal or bacterial?

Bacterial or fungal acne is prone to breakouts in any part of the body, but hormonal acne appears on the face. Also, hormonal acne is more prominent during puberty, periods, or if you are under medications.

How do dermatologists get rid of acne?

Dermatologists perform basic procedures of extracting and removing the clogged dirt from your skin and help get rid of acne.

How can I treat acne at home?

Apply masks made of fruit (grapes, orange) and vegetable (cucumber) extracts to treat your acne. You can also use creams, and oil-free face washes to remove excessive oil from your face.

Can treatment cure acne?

Yes, you can treat acne or diminish its appearance with proper eating habits and a skin care routine.

Does acne go away naturally?

Yes, sometimes, it goes away when your acne is hormonal. But lack of proper skin care can cause excessive breakouts, resulting in severe acne that might require intensive treatment.

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Oyendrila holds a master's degree in English Literature from the University Of Calcutta, West Bengal, and is a certified skincare... more

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