Welcome back friends!
A few weeks ago, I asked you to share with me your best acne fighting recommendations and today’s post is all the best advice straight from YOU! I’ve also included some advice of my own and what has worked for me over the years.
I wish you could have seen my skin in late middle school/early high school. I tried my absolute hardest to find photos but I think they are all saved on my super old computer (pre cloud days) and I didn’t really have social media then. I really struggled with bad acne for quite a few years and a lot of it was completely hormonal because as I grew up, my skin naturally began to clear.
In late high school, I saw a dermatologist who started me on Differin lotion. It was a prescription lotion containing adapalene 0.1% and it completely worked for me! I loved it and used it all through college and after. Until last month…. When I went to go refill the prescription and the price had gone up to $675. For lotion?! It’s a no for me. Even though this had been working for me for years certainly there were other things out there that would work at a better cost.
I asked all of you for your recommendations and these are your top recommendations!
Your Top Recommendation
Surprisingly enough, your TOP recommendation was Differin! What are the chances haha. A lot of you went through a similar instance where you were prescribed it back in high school and switched to the over the counter (OTC) version. Differin recently-(ish) put a generic OTC version of Differin on the market. Instead of a lotion, it is a gel!
It is only $13 (just some slight savings from the $675 lotion) and is sold at drugstores and on Amazon.
I was worried the gel was not going to be as effective as the lotion but was desperate for something so I bought it and gave it a try. I do think this product works just as well as the lotion, my only con is you get a lot less product per ounce in the gel version than you did in the lotion. The lotion would last me 10 months and I don’t anticipate the gel lasting longer than 30 days.
But for the price if it works, it works! I plan to set up auto-delivery on Amazon or invest in the bigger size.
Other Recommendations Straight from YOU!
- Epiduo Forte Prescription (requires a script!) lots of you recommended this as well
- This has the same adapalene lotion as the Differin at a higher dose combined with benzoyl peroxide! I am going to try this next if I don’t find the same results with the Differin Gel
- RetinA/Retinol (some levels of strength require a script) Find one OTC here.
- Hydrocolloid Patches (use to flatten whiteheads overnight!)
- The Ordinary Salicylic Acid Mask
- Philosophy Microdelivery Exfoliating Facial Wash
- Bare Minerals Makeup (not as harsh on skin)
- Curology skin care line
- The Ordinary Zinc Serum
- Biossance Squalane Tea Tree Oil
- The Inkey List AHA Serum
- The Inkey List Glycolic Acid Toner
- Tea Tree Oil
- Elta Face Wash
Some other suggestions were to look on GoodRx to see if I could get the prescription for cheaper and to search for active ingredients and try to find a generic version. Love both of these ideas and thought I’d share in case you were also struggling to find a better alternative to an expensive product.
What Has Worked for Me Over the Years
I loved reading all your recommendations and sure enough had tried and used a few of the things you suggested in my skin care routine! The one I am curious to try is the Epiduo prescription because it contains the same ingredient adapalene that has been working for me! I will give that a try if I am unhappy with the OTC Differin Gel.
Every time I struggle with breakouts, I also go back to the basics I was doing in high school when I was really fighting acne on a consistent basis. I always recommend a benzoyl peroxide wash with at least a 5% strength of Benzoyl Peroxide. This acne fighting ingredient is an antimicrobial which means it works to kill bacteria on the skin. Acne=bacteria so be sure to look for products that contain antimicrobial ingredients when trying to fight acne.
Now that my breakouts are under control, I use a benzoyl peroxide face wash once a week and am sure to put a moisturizer on my face within a few minutes of use. Benzoyl peroxide really dries my skin out so I need to be careful with it but it does work wonders. This is the one I use and I used to use this one in high school which has a 10% ingredient concentrate.
Another thing that really helped clear up my skin was the use of Tretinoin or more commonly known as Retinol/RetinA. I have a whole blog post on the benefits of Retinol particularly on it’s anti-aging benefits here. I still use retinol even though I don’t have consistent acne anymore because it works to fight dark spots and repair acne scars (which I have a lot of).
The use of a toner has also really helped my skin because it works to get all the dirt and grime out of your skin. My favorite toner is one you actually recommended and it couldn’t be more affordable. The Inkey List Glycolic Acid Toner is only $11 at Sephora and the small bottle has lasted me months!
When I do have breakouts, I use the Mario Badescu Drying Lotion. This stuff dries up pimples literally overnight and I love how affordable it is. I have yet to find a drying lotion/spot treatment that works so quickly.
I notice such a difference in my acne routine when I am consistent. To me that has ultimately been what has helped me clear up my skin. Now I notice myself breaking out when I am stressed or slacking off on my skincare routine. When I have breakouts, I drink lots of water and double up on the use of retinol and the drying lotion I mentioned above.
Struggling with acne is no fun and I have totally been there so I know how hard it is on your overall mental health. The biggest thing to remember is that acne never defines you. True beauty comes from within and surround yourself with those who see inside the real you.