One of the few skin struggles just as likely to strike in your pre-teen years as it is in adulthood is acne. Though we tend to hide our breakouts behind layers of makeup and Instagram filters, it’s a completely normal condition that shouldn’t be shrouded. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, up to 85% of individuals from age 12 to 24 will experience some form of acne—that’s a lot of people!
Board-certified dermatologist Dr. Mona Gohara, MD describes acne as “an inflammatory skin condition that can give you bumps or deep cysts on your face, chest back, or body. It’s common in puberty, perimenopause, and the years in-between,” she says. These bumps, or cysts, she explains, crop up due to the accumulation of excess oil and dead skin cells that clog the pores, serving as an environment for bad bacteria to flourish. The result? Whiteheads, blackheads, and deep, inflamed nodules Gohara says can be quite tender. Ouch.
Though there are plenty of internal factors that contribute to acne, there are external solutions that can help. As you can imagine, selecting the proper topical skincare products is paramount. Gohara recommends seeking out known acne-fighting ingredients like benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid to encourage clear skin, and thankfully, decades of research has lead to an endless supply of products that can treat acne and breakouts of all kinds. Ahead, check out 7 of the best skincare brands for acne, and shop our edit of top picks for acne-prone skin.