As a girl who grew up struggling with cystic, itchy red irritations, oily skin, and then eventually acne scarring, I can guarantee you that I’ve tried every acne wash on the market. So for everyone’s benefit, I’m going to give a run-down of my acne history and then a break-down of what worked for me, and what may work for you.
To start off, I have a hormonal disorder. It’s called PCOS, so with all my hormones out of whack, you can bet that my acne was not only consistent but also probably one of the worst cases of it possible. I also have that very oily Italian skin, which didn’t help matters, so I tried a lot of things in order to make it go away. Here’s a little breakdown of what I tried and what I would rate it:
1. Neutrogena Products
Neutrogena is a great brand for people with minor/inconsistent breakdowns who need a reliable daily skincare routine, but I don’t recommend this brand for people with hormonal acne or those who have constant flare-ups. If used, I advise against any kind of scrubs or washes with beads or similar textures because they make the breakouts worse. But I certainly commend Neutrogena on their toners!
Personally, I never had any success with Lush products. It always irritated my skin, turning it red and making it itch. I love the whole idea of it; natural products are always preferred, but it only ever made my breakouts worse.
Cetaphil is probably the best acne-care brand you can buy at a drugstore. It did as much as it could for a line without any specific acne-fighting chemicals and wasn’t irritating for my sensitive skin. I didn’t break out with active acne from dirt or oil, but unfortunately, it didn’t do enough for my cystic hormonal acne. Although, I highly recommend this brand for people who don’t have hormonal acne.
I remember being very excited to take the test and send in my pictures to get my own Curology line. But I was incredibly disappointed when after being on it for three months, all it did was make my skin worse. I broke out in places I never had before, the moisturizer was just too heavy on my skin, and the new breakouts I got were itchy and irritated.
Proactiv worked for my skin for about the first two months of use. However, I think the chemicals in it were simply too strong for my sensitive skin, and prolonged use made my skin extremely oily. I ended up breaking out really badly for months until I switched to a new wash.
Dermalogica is quite possibly the best acne-care line out there. I saw instant improvements in my skin from the very first wash. It works for my sensitive skin, replaces the moisture (making me less oily), and combats both the cystic and surface acne. My redness was gone, the bumpy texture of my skin smoothed, and the itchiness subsided. Unfortunately, it’s on the expensive side, which is why I had to stop using it. I recommend this brand for everyone, but especially those who struggled as I did.
Murad is what I’m currently using. It’s only $30 for the bundle (wash, acne cream, moisturizer) and another $30 for the scar removal serum. I haven’t broken out once while using this product, and it does the job, but the texture of my skin is not as smooth as it was while I was using Dermalogica. I recommend this brand for anyone who wants similar results to Dermalogica but for less money!
8. African black soap and witch hazel
This was another attempt at a more natural acne care line. If we’re being honest (which we most certainly are) I didn’t see any major improvements in my skin. I broke out a little bit, but it wasn’t too bad; although I think the breakouts resulted from a lack of acne-fighting chemicals. I recommend this for people who don’t typically break out but who need an inexpensive daily care regimen.