My Favorite (and super affordable!) Skincare Products

As a teenager, I always loved a homemade face scrub and DIY mask because they’re fun, they feel good and they leave you with visibly and satisfyingly smooth skin (skincare gods, please forgive me). However, being someone who struggles with oily, sensitive and acne-prone skin, it wasn’t until recently that I realized walnut face scrubs and coconut oil masks were doing nothing but damaging my skin and clogging my pores, which only made my breakouts all the more frequent and dramatically worse. It’s no secret that breakouts and cystic acne are not only painful nuisances, but also take a major toll on your self-confidence. They’re just… the worst. Like, the absolute worst.

After much trial and error, it wasn’t until this past March that I finally developed a simple and straightforward skincare routine comprised of affordable and accessible products that have successfully treated my breakouts, dark spots and acne scars. While I know that skincare is a very complex subject and that there isn’t a uniform, all-encompassing solution for everyone, I encourage you to check out the ingredient lists of and, perhaps, try out a couple of these products if you’re struggling to find remedies that work for you and your skin.

  1. The two most popular and highly-recommended anti-acne ingredients are probably salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide. With that being said, I’ve tried products formulated with both ingredients and have found that benzoyl peroxide has been the most effective treatment for my breakouts. Again, everybody’s different, so I encourage you to experiment with both treatments and see what works best for you.

    This particular cleanser is formulated with 10% benzoyl peroxide, making it a powerful product that delivers fast and dramatic results. What I also love about it is that it never seems to dry out or strip my skin of moisture; it’s very hydrating and leaves your skin feeling clean and soothed of any irritation. However, I don’t recommend using it more than once per day since the ingredient concentrations are so high. It could cause irritation and provoke some nasty breakouts.

  2. Niacinamide is an incredible ingredient, not just for fighting acne, but for lightening dark spots, pigmentation and improving overall tone and complexion. I cannot recommend it enough.

    Incorporating this serum into my routine has helped significantly, as I’ve found myself reaping all the benefits of this ingredient. The texture of the serum is very smooth, it absorbs well into the skin and it doesn’t leave you with any traces of an oily or sticky residue. Even if you don’t struggle with acne, this can still be beneficial as a preventive measure for fine lines and wrinkles. It’s also a good treatment for dark undereye circles.

  3. Before you judge the packaging, I want to begin by noting that this is a product from India and, based on what my mom tells me, a staple in almost every Indian household (and for good reason). This cream is an ayurvedic product formulated with turmeric and sandalwood: the two most notorious skincare ingredients in India (Priyanka knows what’s up). Every time I visit my family in India, their solution to every skincare concern is haldi (turmeric) and chandan (sandalwood)... and it seems to work without fail every time. 

    Anyway, the great thing about this product is that it’s a kind of two-for-one deal. Not only is it a great moisturizer, but turmeric and sandalwood oil are natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory agents that are remarkable for treating a whole host of skin problems, including acne, wrinkles, scarring, tone, brightness, etc. 

    I’ve recommended this product to so many of my friends, and they’ve always been pleasantly surprised by the results. My point is: don’t knock it ‘til you try it.

In addition to these products, I always make sure to go in with sunscreen. It’s probably the most important step in any skincare routine, so please, don’t neglect sunscreen. I can’t stress it enough: it’s so, so important.

I know skincare can be really frustrating and discouraging when you’re not seeing any results despite your research, efforts and consistency. If that’s the case, I hope something on the list above can help. You can also find so many resources dedicated to helping people develop and hone a skincare routine that will deliver results. Whether that’s through blogs, YouTube channels, estheticians or dermatologists, don’t be afraid or ashamed to reach out and seek their advice.