A slightly dramatic title, I'll give you that and I am by no means suggesting that I - nor anyone else - afflicted with acne or any other skin condition for that matter are a lesser person, but let's face it, some days it does really grind you down. I've came to terms that I will never have textbook perfect skin and on the whole I am okay with that; then again there is nothing wrong with trying to improve your complexion should you wish. With that in mind, I do have some staple products that I use regularly - if not daily - that are suited to my often problematic skin needs (with not a hint of Clearasil in sight), no I am not a skincare expert but sometimes the best recommendations do come from those who are fighting the same battle.
I have two staple cleansers that are mostly reserved for when I have an acne flare up, they are both worthy of a space on any bathroom shelf but more so if you find you have blemishes more days, than not. For my morning (or A.M cleanse) I use Murad Time Release Blemish Cleanser as it is non-foaming, blemish specific cleanser that also boasts some anti-ageing properties - an area the beauty market in general seems to neglect, seemingly it seems we all outgrow blemished skin in our teens, which we all know to be wrong. Murad Time Release Blemish Cleanser contains Salicylic Acid to gradually help care, treat and prevent blemishes; to ensure that the complexion is not stripped of moisture, or ever uncomfortable, this cleanser has also been formulated with Amino Acids (anti-ageing) and Hyaluronic Acid (deeply hydrating). You can find the Murad Time Release Cleanser here - link.
I do frequently wear make-up and although I have no doubt that the Murad Time Release Blemish Cleanser would sufficiently remove even the heaviest of base products, I do prefer to call upon Pixi Glow Mud Cleanser for all my evening cleansing needs. Again this is non-foaming cleanser and as the name suggests, it is mud, which admittedly does take a little getting used to. The bonus is that mud is a natural deep cleanser and often the main competent in many a blemish busting treatment, so along with removing all traces of the day, Pixi Glow Mud Cleanser acts as a daily treatment for problem skin types - rather clever wouldn't you agree? Cleansing is not all Pixi Glow Mud Cleanser offers, for those like myself who are a little heavy handed and perhaps not entirely comfortable with manual exfoliators (i.e facial scrubs), this daily face-wash-come-treatment contains no less than 5% Glycolic Acid and Avocado Oil (nourishing) for daily, yet gentle removal of dead skin cells. Blemishes or not, everyone needs to try Pixi Glow Mud Cleanser sooner or later, you can find it here - link.
Admittedly, I am not the biggest advocate of toners as most don't really do much for my current needs, one toner that I will forever have a place for in both my heart and bathroom, is Liz Earle Instant Boost Skin Tonic. Much like you'd hope, Liz Earle Instant Boost Skin Tonic tones and with continued use it will gradually brighten the complexion, but its real power and reason I recommend it to all that will listen, is based on its skin soothing properties. No toner - or general facial mist for that matter - has ever come close to cooling or comforting my skin quite like Liz Earle Instant Boost Skin Tonic can. One quick application will not only cool and calm the skin but it can help to reduce redness and if you are feeling particularly crafty, you can decant a small amount of Liz Earle Instant Boost Skin Tonic into a spray bottle and create your own refreshing spray. If any toner will change your mind on this particular category of skincare, it is this. You can find Liz Earle Instant Boost Skin Tonic here - link.
I know I can't convince everyone that a daily, stand alone SPF for your face and neck is one of the best skincare and personal investments you can make but if you are going to dabble with facial acids you really do have to protect your skin from environmental aggressors such as UV light. As you may, or may not know, many acidic skin treatments can leave the skin temporarily sensitised and more prone to sun damage, all of which can be prevented by applying SPF. I do use a daily SPF but I have nothing that I would deem notable for those with acne prone skin, I do however have an additional product that I use alongside my facial SPF - Nip + Fab Post-Glycolic Fix Moisturiser SPF30. Yes the addition of the SPF is wonderful but I use it as it is a great, gentle everyday moisturiser that has been formulated for the use of overly exfoliated or acid treated skin, and as such is a complete wonder product for easily irritated and sensitised skin. Nip + Fab Post-Glycolic Fix Moisturiser SPF30 is light, instantly hydrating and ideal for wearing under make-up, acne or not, if you need a good daily, high quality moisturiser this is one I wholeheartedly recommend. You can find Nip + Fab Post-Glycolic Fix Moisturiser SPF30 here - link.
Despite being an adult (a.k.a over 18), I haven't quite reached the age in which I focus my attention of anti-ageing products - I know eventually the need will arise but for now it is a little premature. Much like my day-to-day moisturiser, I don't have a typically acne friendly night cream as such, rather I have a moisture rich formulation that doesn't clog my pores nor further enrage my quick to react skin type. If you have yet to try it and don't require anything other than a quick, light, hydration boost from your night cream, perhaps Clinique Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief will serve you as well. As someone with oily skin, it is the texture of this moisturiser that impresses me the most - a light, refreshing gel that instantly and continuously hydrates the skin without overwhelming; a perfect companion to the sometimes overly drying blemish-solving remedies. Admittedly it might not be the best choice for anyone who does want to tone, tighten and uplift but for those simply looking for the equivalent of a tall glass of water for their skin, look no further. You can find Clinique Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief here - link.
With a million and one, blemish treatments on the market it is difficult to where to start, and/or what is worthy of the splurge. Admittedly much like choosing a moisturiser or cleanser, all complexions are different, even if they do share a similar skin complaint but two, I find to be tried, tested and true are:
Murad Advanced Blemish and Wrinkle Reducer - a light, silken serum that hydrates, gently exfoliates, helps to visually plump the appearance of fine lines, all the while targeting blemishes. I find this serum to be particularly wonderful for helping to reduce both the size and redness of any existing blemish and the hyper-pigmentation they can often initially leave behind. Find it here - link.
Glam Glow Thirsty Mud Hydrating Treatment - The problem with so many skin care products aimed at acne and/or blemish prone complexions is that they ultimately further dry out the skin. Yes, I do want to reduce and prevent blemishes but not at the expensive of my overall skincare health. One mask that I use weekly that is wonderfully cleansing, purging (i.e it will bring any trapped dirt and oil to the surface of the skin) yet hydrating is Glam Glow Thirsty Mud Hydrating Treatment; unlike other mud based treatments this allows you to deeply cleanse without further dehydrating the skin - a must for blemish prone skin types and/or those with dry complexions. You can find it here - link.
For those on medication related to a skin condition that leaves both the skin and lips parched, there is one lip balm that is seldom mentioned but worth its weight in gold - Clarins HydraQuench Moisture Replenishing Lip Balm. It heals, it protects, it deeply conditions and it contains an SPF15 - if all else has failed you thus far, try this. Find it here - link.
As someone who has all but battled adult acne for the last few years, I can truthfully say that eventually there is light at the end of the tunnel, sometimes you just have to hang in there and be persistent with both your skincare routine and any necessary medical assistance. I have extensively wrote about my adult acne experience here, sadly when I switched over to Disqus the comment section was lost but trust me when I say you are not aloe.