14 Best Drugstore Acne Treatment Products Of 2024

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

Medically reviewed by Patricia Gaile Espinosa, MD Patricia Gaile Espinosa Patricia Gaile EspinosaMD facebook_icontwitter_iconlinkedin_iconinsta_icon
Written by , MA, Certified Skin Care Coach Oyendrila Kanjilal MA, Certified Skin Care Coach Experience: 2 years
Edited by , MA (English Literature), Certified Skin Care Coach Shiboli Chakraborti MA (English Literature), Certified Skin Care Coach Experience: 4 years
Fact-checked by , BTech Anjali Sayee BTech Experience: 7 years
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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 according to your acne type that is backed with positive reviews. 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
Check Price
Best Non-Comedogenic:CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser
Price on Amazon
Best Fragrance-Free:CeraVe AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion AM SPF 30
Price on Amazon
Best For Sun Protection:Neutrogena Clear Face Liquid Lotion Sunscreen
Price on Amazon
Best In Budget:Differin Adapalene Gel 0.1% Acne Treatment
Price on Amazon
Best For Shine Control:Neutrogena Rapid Clear Stubborn Acne Facial Cleanser
Price on Amazon
Best For Deep Cleansing:Clean & Clear Advantage Acne Spot Treatment
Price on Amazon
Best For All Skin Types:Burt's Bees Natural Acne Solutions
Price on Amazon
Best With Salicylic Acid:Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne and Redness Facial Cleanser
Price on Amazon
Best For Unclogging Pores:Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Fighting Facial Cleanser
Price on Amazon
Best Oil-Free Formula:La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo Dual Action Acne Treatment
Price on Amazon

The 14 Best Drugstore Acne Treatments Of 2024

1. Best Non-Comedogenic:CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser

4.6
CeraVe Foaming Face Cleanser Image: Cerave

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 reviewer’s experience of this amazing skin-clearing product.

Pros

  • Deep cleanses skin
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Soothes the skin
  • Evens out skin tone
  • Soothes inflammatory acne
  • 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

protip_icon Quick Tip
Use your fingertips to apply cleanser and gently massage for a minute, and wash it with lukewarm water. Do not scrub your skin, as this can further irritate acne-prone skin.

Why We Think It's Worth Buying

Almost 4,149 happy users have mentioned the value and quality of this product.

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

4.4
CeraVe AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion With Sunscreen Image: Cerave

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 an effective and gentle 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 understand if you would want to try and test the product yourself.

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.

Why We Think It's Worth Buying

The overwhelming 4,413 positive reviews on Amazon show how popular this product is with happy users.

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

4.5

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 acne prevention 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.

protip_icon Remember
Apply sunscreen 15 minutes before sun exposure. If you sweat a lot or go swimming, reapply after 80 minutes.

Why We Think It's Worth Buying

This product has received 2,427 reviews from customers on Amazon, indicating its popularity and reliability.

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

4.5
Differin Adapalene Gel 0.1% Acne Treatment Image: Differin

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 soothes inflamed skin. The water-based formula of this acne control 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 formula
  • 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

4.4
Neutrogena Rapid Clear Stubborn Acne Cleanser Image: Neutrogena

Want to test 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

4.5
Clean & Clear Advantage Acne Spot Treatment Gel Cream with 2% Salicylic Acid Acne Medication Image: Clean & Clear
Now 41% Off

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 dark spot treatment. It is made with witch hazel, which helps soothe the skin. Its vital acne-fighting ingredient is 2% salicylic acid. The salicylic acid penetrates the pores and clears all acne 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 lead to irritated skin
  • Not for cystic acne.

protip_icon Pro Tip
After cleansing your skin with the Clean & Clear Morning Burst Oil-Free Hydrating Facial Cleanser, use this spot treatment to help treat and prevent acne without over-drying the skin.

Why We Think It's Worth Buying

This product has garnered over 1,253 positive reviews on Amazon, and the number continues to grow.

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

4.3

Burt’s Bees offers natural acne spot blemish treatment for under 10 dollars! It is formulated with tea tree oil, 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

4.4
Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne and Redness Facial Cleanser, Soothing Face Wash with Salicylic Acid Acne Medicine, Aloe, and Chamomile to Reduce Facial Redness, 6 fl. oz Image: Neutrogena

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 help calm irritation, inflamed skin, and redness. This gentle facial cleanser clears the skin of dirt, oil, 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

4.6
Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Fighting Face Wash Image: Neutrogena

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 dermatologist-recommended results-driven 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.

Why We Think It's Worth Buying

The product has received 989 positive Amazon reviews from its users, stating its numerous benefits.

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

4.4
La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo Dual Action Acne Treatment Image: La Roche Posay

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 pimple patch on a ripe pimple or zit reduces the urge to squeeze or pop it. Over time, you will notice fewer acne scars and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) 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 Deep Cleansing Body Mask:Aztec Secret– Indian Healing Clay 1 lb – Deep Pore Cleansing Facial & Body Mask

4.5
Aztec Secret– Indian Healing Clay 1 lb – Deep Pore Cleansing Facial & Body Mask Image: Aztec Secret

The Aztec Secret Native Healing Clay contains 100% natural calcium bentonite clay.It deeply cleanses the pores on both your face and body. It works wonders in removing impurities and toxins from your skin. The clay mask helps to unclog pores, exfoliate dead skin cells, and leave skin feeling clean and rejuvenated by extracting impurities and toxins from the skin. Mix the clay with water or apple cider vinegar in equal amounts to create a smooth paste and apply it to your face or body. Let it dry completely for 15 to 20 minutes before rinsing it off with warm water. With regular use, it will lessen the appearance of pores, improve the appearance of acne-prone skin, and leave skin feeling smoother and more vibrant. The product is suitable for all skin types, including dry, oily, and combination skin.

Pros

  • 100% natural
  • No harsh chemicals or synthetic fragrances
  • Suitable for both the body and the face
  • Suitable for all skin types

Cons

  • Sensitive skin can experience brief redness

Why We Think It's Worth Buying

The extensive 9,397 rave reviews on Amazon prove why we are vouching for this product.

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

4.6
medicine for pimples - Neutrogena On The Spot Acne Treatment Image: Neutrogena

The Neutrogena On-the-Spot Acne Treatment is one of the best acne spot treatments if you want clear skin. It is a clinically-proven spot treatment cream for acne medication. It contains 2.5% benzoyl peroxide, which helps clear the skin in just one day! “Benzoyl peroxide is an FDA-approved medication for adult acne. It acts against Cutibacterium acnes. It can also act as a keratolytic and has mild effects on oil production of the skin,” says Dr. Patricia Gaile Espinosa, MD, Philippine Dermatological Society. This product 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 clinically-proven drugstore acne treatment is loaded with antibacterial properties and 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 a guide to skin care for acne and what to look for in a good drugstore acne treatment product.

How To Choose The Right Drugstore Acne Treatment 

Check out these acne skincare tips for getting the right product-

  • 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 have anti-inflammatory properties.
  • 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 or any other irritating ingredient.
  • 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. Choose products that have been tested by skin care reviewers and have received positive reviews.

Infographic: Key Ingredients To Look For In Drugstore Acne Treatment Products

Acne can deteriorate the look and texture of your skin. Multiple drugstore brands offer acne products that treat the condition. However, you need to pay close attention to ingredients that can reduce acne without damaging the skin. Check out the infographic below for a list of ingredients that you must look for in drugstore acne treatment products.

Key Ingredients To Look For In Drugstore Acne Treatment Products (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

The Bottom Line

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. For a delicate yet powerful cleanse, go for the CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser. The Differin Adapalene Gel 0.1% Acne Treatment has a water-based formula that helps treat acne and enhances the appearance of your skin. For severe forms of breakouts and acne, the Neutrogena Rapid Clear Stubborn Acne Facial Cleanser provides quick results. 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 enhance oil control and clear 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 by adopting an acne skincare routine.

Does acne go away naturally?

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

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