If you're struggling with acne, don't panic! We've pulled together all the best acne products recommended by the TSR community.
OK, so it’s not the most glamorous subject, but let’s talk acne. If you feel self-conscious about your acne, you’re far from alone - in a recent survey, 48.6% of TSR users said that they struggle with acne, with almost 20% of users dealing with severe acne. It can make you feel bad about yourself, affect your confidence and make you not want to go out when your skin’s not at its best, and it’s really frustrating when nothing seems to work to get rid of it.
According to the NHS, acne is a common skin condition that primarily affects the face, but may also affect other oily body parts like the back or chest, and causes spots, oily skin and inflammation. Spots may take the form of blackheads, whiteheads, papules (small, red bumps), pustules (like papules, but filled with pus), nodules (hard lumps beneath the surface of the skin) and cysts, and often first appears during puberty. Acne isn’t the same for everyone, but there are several common ways to manage acne, ranging from medical intervention to high-street acne products and skincare.
How to manage acne
Before we go any further, if your acne is moderate (widespread whiteheads and blackheads with many papules and pustules) or severe (lots of large, painful papules, pustules, nodules and cysts, possibly with scarring), it is advisable to consult your GP for help. They may be able to refer you to a dermatologist, prescribe medicated creams like benzoyl peroxide, antibiotics, tablets or for women, the combined contraceptive pill to help manage acne.
For mild acne, maintaining a good skincare regime and over-the-counter products may be enough to help you combat spot-causing oils and dirt build up, but if it’s making you feel rubbish about yourself and it’s not going away despite your best efforts, it might be worth booking an appointment with your GP to make sure there’s nothing else going on.
Best cleanser for oily skin
One of the most important tools in your acne-fighting kit should be a great cleanser to help you zap those zits and maintain good facial hygiene. The key here is to go for antibacterial ingredients, like tea tree oil, and soothing ingredients, like witch hazel and oats.
In the TSR forums, user shameful_burrito is a big fan of the Clean and Clear Deep Cleansing Lotion for Sensitive Skin. In this thread, user Angelgirl recommends The Body Shop’s seaweed range for oily and combination skin, and hezzlington suggests Bulldog’s oil control range for a user with blackhead-prone skin.
You can find more of the best cleansers for oily skin in this article.
Best exfoliator for oily skin
While it’s tempting to use exfoliators to scrub away oil, people with acne need to make sure that they’re not making the problem worse by scratching spots and making them more likely to scar. Instead of opting for the scrubbiest exfoliator you can find with harsh exfoliating particles, it’s best to go for a gentler formula that won’t irritate spots or red patches to give your skin a proper chance to heal. The TSR community’s favourite exfoliators for oily skin range from bargain drugstore scrubs, like username3590460’s recommendation of Bioré’s Charcoal Anti-Blemish Scrub, to high-end luxury brands like a recommendation from timeofflight for Paula’s Choice BHA Exfoliant.
If you want to see more of our users’ suggestions, take a look at our list of the best exfoliators for oily skin.
Best primer for oily skin
Those of us who wear makeup know that a bit of radiance is hot right now. Key phrase: ‘a bit’. Nobody wants to be touching up their foundation every hour or fight a losing battle against makeup that just doesn’t want to stay put, which is why if you have oily skin, a primer needs to be an essential part of your skincare and makeup regime. If you have acne, a primer can also create a barrier between makeup and your skin to help protect it from further irritation. A fave of the TSR community is No7’s Airbrush Away Pore Minimising Primer, and Benefit’s POREfessional also gets loads of love on the forums.
To find the right primer for your oily skin, we’ve pulled together some of the best recommendations from the TSR community. It's your time to prime!
Best moisturiser for oily skin
Moisturiser and oily skin… yikes. Loads of people worry that adding more moisture to an oily face will just make matters worse, but the trick is to choose wisely. The best moisturiser for oily skin is anything light that won’t clog up pores, and ideally one with ingredients to mattify shine and balance your oil production. One great recommendation from the TSR forums is Simple’s Light Hydrating Moisturiser, or if you want to look fresh and glowy instead of flustered and sweaty after a gym sesh, Clinique’s Post-Workout Mattifying Moisturiser is a solid option.
We’ve created a list of some of TSR’s fave moisturisers for oily skin to help you suss out which is right for you.
Which products should I use to tackle my acne?
While all of these products may help you with your acne in isolation, the best approach is to come up with a comprehensive skincare regime that works for you. Using a set of products designed for oily skin is one of the best courses of action you can take for mild acne, with cleansers and exfoliators removing spot-causing bacteria and dead skin cells, a primer to protect acne-prone skin from makeup and moisturiser to soothe an irritated face.
Some of the brands our users recommend time and time again are Simple, Liz Earle and The Body Shop’s tea tree range, but there are plenty of recommendations in the TSR forums if you’re looking for more tips for dealing with oily skin.