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Given that acne is the most common skin condition in the country, affecting as many as 50 million Americans at any given time, it's no wonder that there's such a market for effective treatments. Whether your skin troubles began in puberty or have struck for the first time in your 40s, you're probably searching for a solution that will get you looking and feeling better - as soon as possible.
There are many different approaches that acne products may take, and the right one for you often depends on the type of breakouts you're experiencing. Are you seeing occasional white- and blackheads, or large, painful blemishes that cover most of your face? Is your skin oily all the time, or does it fluctuate with hormonal changes and/or stress? Is acne affecting just your face or other areas of your body too, like your back and chest?
Monday, November 28th
Zenmed has been "creating products with a conscience" for more than two decades. The company believes that healthy skin should be available to all - no prescriptions or expensive cosmetic treatments required. All of the products sold by Zenmed are made in their own labs; small-batch production means that everything you buy is fresh and at maximum potency for superior results.
Many acne products to choose from
There are several different product lines offered by Zenmed that could be helpful in treating your acne problem. Here are several you may want to consider:
Create your own unique routine
You can also mix-and-match among any of Zenmed's products, both the components of the bundles we described as well as other standalone acne treatments. We would suggest checking out the Moisturizers category and finding an SPF product to complement your acne regimen, since the ones included in their Acne line don't contain sunscreen (note: when we visited the Zenmed site for this evaluation, their SPF30 Oil-Free Moisturizer was out of stock and not expected to be available for almost a month). On bundles and a la carte orders alike, you'll get free shipping if your order is at least $75; otherwise, you'll pay a flat-rate fee of $6.95.
Get a personalized recommendation from an expert
Still feel like you're wandering in the wilderness, unsure which acne products to start with? Zenmed's got you covered: just go down to the Ask An Expert link at the bottom of the site. You'll provide your name, email and age range, then answer some questions about your skin situation. Oil levels? Is aging a concern? How important is it to have mainly natural products in your skincare routine? Your info will be passed along to Zenmed's on-staff esthetician and product expert, who will email you with a personalized set of product recommendations.
Several ways to save
How about savings? As we browsed the Zenmed site, we got a 20% discount pop-up if we entered our name and email address. There was a stock-up sale sitewide as well, offering a $20 discount on orders of $100+; later, that promo changed to a bonus AVT Cream with any $100+ purchase. So, keep an eye out for any limited-time promos that might be in place during your shopping trip.
Another way to save with Zenmed is through their complimentary rewards program. Once you create an account (you don't complete your purchase as a guest), you'll automatically get cashback credit points that can be redeemed for free products. Enter your birthdate to get a free bonus on your big day, and get even more points by interacting with Zenmed on social media. You earn one point for every dollar; the "exchange rate" isn't going to blow you away (100 points = $5 in rewards), but if this becomes your go-to acne treatment routine, why not get a little something in return?
60-day money-back guarantee on every product, every time
Speaking of returns, Zenmed offers a 60-day, money-back guarantee they call the "People Pleaser" . Try any of their products for up to 60 days and get a full refund (minus any shipping fees). We love that this isn't restricted to "your first order" or "the first purchase of any particular product" , like some of Zenmed's rivals stipulate. Just be aware that you'll also have to return any free items you got with your purchase (like that AVT cream we spotted in the promo).
Excellent products, extraordinary results
Everywhere you look, you'll find glowing praise for Zenmed, both for the company as a whole and on specific products. It's hard to find anything in their inventory that doesn't average four stars or greater, over hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of reviews. Even outside of the ratings on the Zenmed site, customers are very loyal to this brand - because of the results the products deliver, they wouldn't even consider looking elsewhere. When you see multiple customers saying they've used Zenmed treatments for more than 10 years - to the point where no one even realizes that they have a skin condition (like rosacea) - that's a good indicator that this is a brand you can rely on.
#1 among acne products
We're pleased to keep Zenmed at the top of our ranking for acne products. Whichever treatment regimen you select (or have customized for you), it's absolutely risk-free to give it a try for 60 days. You can trust that your products will be fresh, shipped directly from Zenmed's lab to you, and that you will have access to their team of experts if you have any questions. This should be the first place you go for relief from acne - or any other skin conditions you may have.
After a patient told him that she found the cost of seeking care for her extreme acne prohibitive, dermatologist Dr. David Lortscher founded Curology in 2013. As a company, Curology believes in making skincare accessible and affordable to all. If you're on TikTok or Instagram, you've probably heard of Curology through one of their customer testimonial videos. Their results are impressive - 93% of surveyed Curology customers reported noticeable improvement in their skin's quality after using the product for three months or more.
Extremely affordable - plus a free trial
A bottle of custom Curology formula will run you only $19.95 per month (billed bi-monthly at $39.90), making them one of our lowest-priced brands. However, your first-month's supply won't cost you a thing.
Answer some questions and upload photos
Before you receive your first bottle for free, you will need to provide the Curology team with your skincare goals by taking their quiz and uploading a few makeup-free selfies. Do you want to reduce fine lines? Fade your dark spots? Treat your acne? Your custom formula will be tailored to your priorities, skin type, and medical history.
Custom blend of top-quality ingredients
Each custom bottle contains up to three of the following active ingredients: Clindamycin, Azelaic acid, Tretinoin, Niacinamide, Zinc Pyrithione, Tranexamic acid, Metronidazole, and Ivermectin. No irritating salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide here. Tretinoin, however, is a much sought-after vitamin A derivative that works to prevent fine lines, smooth skin texture, and reduce acne, but it can be expensive to obtain without a prescription and difficult to work into a skincare routine without causing irritation. Curology's custom formula saves you the trouble and the cost.
Low-cost, three-step routine
Curology's recommended evening routine consists of three simple steps that will take you under five minutes to complete: first, wash your face with their gentle, no-clog cleanser; then apply a pea-sized amount of your custom formula; finally, moisturize. All three Night Routine products together (Cleanser & Moisturizer Set + Formula) will run you $59.90 bi-monthly. Curology's Morning Routine drops the formula and finishes off with their newest product, a non-comedogenic mineral sunscreen, priced at a reasonable $14 bi-monthly.
Plenty of extras you can add to your subscription box
Need a quick fix for a budding pimple? Is "bacne" bothering you? Maybe you're unsatisfied with the lip balm you picked up from the checkout line the last time your lips were chapped. Curology's got a whole line of options for you to mix and match in your monthly subscription box. Here's a comprehensive list of all their products and prices.
Night Routine is particularly effective
After trying Curology for ourselves, we can wholeheartedly recommend the Night Routine set. With the sunscreen, your mileage may vary - some customers have reported a burning sensation after applying it, while others have lauded it as their new favorite SPF.
Excellent customer service
In our experience, Curology's customer support is responsive and competent. Any concerns or questions you have about your skincare progress will be answered promptly by your licensed provider; changes to your prescription can be made just as fast, and your bottle comes with your name on it. Cancel your subscription (excluding items purchased with the Buy Now button) for any reason within 90 days of receiving your first bottle and get all your money back.
An affordable, bespoke acne routine you should try
We'd like to give Curology five stars, but their Better Business Bureau listing currently appears as "not rated" due to ongoing updates. But hey, 4.5 stars is nothing to scoff at. And, given that this is the only acne product in our review that is absolutely, 100% customized to your particular skin, ingredient by ingredient, we can confidently say that Curology is a contender for our highest ranking if they keep up the good work in the future.
The philosophy behind Paula's Choice products is "smart, safe beauty" . Everything they sell is good for your skin, effective, and backed by cited, scientific research. No matter what you buy here, it will always be fragrance- and cruelty-free. You may have seen Paula's Choice products in retail stores like Sephora and Nordstrom, but you'll get full access to everything the brand offers through the PC online store.
Long list of ingredients you won't find here
Before we tell you what you can expect in Paula's Choice acne products, we think it's pretty impressive to look at what ingredients they avoid. It's a long list: 1,4 dioxane, abrasive particles (like pumice, salt, or sugar), alcohol, aluminum powder, essential oils, formaldehyde, fragrant plant extracts, nanoparticles, phthalates, sodium lauryl sulfate, synthetic dyes and fragrance, talc, and toluene. If you have very sensitive skin, allergies, or tend to react to other acne treatments, Paula's Choice might be the perfect fit.
Start with the Clear Collection
There are quite a few products you can choose from in the Acne-Prone Skin section of the Paula's Choice store, from Pore Perfecting kits to Acne Body Spray. We recommend looking at the Clear Collection and then selecting from regular-strength or extra-strength kits. Each kit comes with three steps: AM/PM Cleanser, once-daily Exfoliant, and once-daily treatment (though each of those steps can be done twice a day if desired). Bear in mind that two of the three products in the Clear Collection have either salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide, in case you're sensitive to those. At the time of this review, the Clear kits were just $52; since it's recommended that you incorporate one product at a time into your routine, over the course of several weeks, your first purchase could last you quite a while as you put it to the test.
Free video consultations - or take the Routine Finder quiz
We really appreciate that Paula's Choice offers numerous ways to get help with any questions you have about their products, your overall skincare routine, or solving a tricky skin condition. First, you can click the Private Consultation link at the bottom of the site. Look for the Appointment link and set up a free 20-minute visit: choose which staff member you'd like or leave it set to "anyone" . You'll also find a link to the Paula's Choice Routine Finder, if you'd rather get started right away. Answer a few questions about your skin type and overall goals, and you'll get to choose between products in a 3-step Essential routine or a 5-step Advanced series.
Get a discount - in exchange for your email and number
When we visited the Paula's Choice site, we got a pop-up offering a 15% discount and free shipping if we signed up for their communications - but unlike most of their rivals, Paula's Choice makes you give not just your email but also your phone number to get the savings (not our favorite). If you go that route, prepare yourself for an onslaught of emails and texts, based on comments we read from some Paula's Choice customers.
Very generous return policy of up to 180 days
Paula's Choice acne products still come with one of the best return policies we've seen. You can return your items within 60 days of purchase for a full refund, and you don't need any RMA or approval beforehand. Between 61-180 days, you can return your purchase for store credit. The only stipulation? You can't return your used bottles completely empty, so leave a bit in the bottom.
Surprisingly low grade from the BBB
We were disappointed to see that Paula's Choice had a "D-" grade from the Better Business Bureau, for failing to respond to eight of the nine complaints filed there. That's not a ton, but it never paints a pretty picture when a big company ignores any of its customers.
Thousands of five-star reviews from customers
In contrast, we found hundreds of compliments from Paula's Choice customers - not just about the products but also specifically about the support team. Some people were so impressed, they said that other companies could take lessons from this one about how to do it right. And that doesn't even scratch the surface of the customer ratings left on individual products here. For example, there were more than 4000 reviews on Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant - and over 2500 of those were a perfect five stars. Not every product has that many (some we saw had less than a dozen) but it's still a good sign that those eight unanswered complaints aren't an indicator of a problem - with the company or the products.
Fantastic guarantee, effective acne products
Paula's Choice acne products work for many people when other treatments have failed. If that sounds like you, we highly recommend you start your experience here with a free 20-minute consultation with one of their skincare experts, and they'll check in with you down the road to see how your skin is progressing. You won't find a more generous satisfaction guarantee anywhere else - on acne products that are already reasonably priced. This is still one of our top picks among acne treatment options.
Murad was founded in 1989 as the first brand of clinical skincare products. The company is committed to science-backed wellness - for happier skin and happier lives.
How about a 30-day trial kit?
Murad has quite a few products in their Acne & Blemish department. Do you need a cleanser? A serum? Moisturizer? All of them? There are three easy ways to answer that question. First, you could start with their 30-day trial kit of their Acne Control products, priced at $36. It contains Murad's Clarifying Cleanser (1.5% salicylic acid), InvisiScar Resurfacing Treatment (to minimize post-acne scars), Rapid Relief Spot Treatment (to reduce active blemishes within six hours), and Oil and Pore Control Mattifier with Broad Spectrum SPF 45.
Take the quiz
Or, you could take the Murad Skin Quiz: you'll find the link at the bottom of the site and on various pages throughout. Answer questions about your skin, like any frustrations you have, what you're looking for in a cleanser, if you spend long periods of time in front of electronic devices (who doesn't?!), and so on. Your recommendations will be right there on the screen and will probably contain a cleanser, face and eye treatment, mask/peel, moisturizer and SPF protection lotion. Add all of the recommended products to your bag or pick and choose, no pressure either way.
Free video consultation - with a special gift
Still not sure? Schedule a complimentary video consultation with a Murad Skin Wellness Coach. He or she will assess your concerns and goals for your skin, teach you about your Skin Wellness Score, and give you personalized tips for a skincare routine and general lifestyle changes that can get your skin healthier. You'll even get a special gift if you make a purchase at the end of the consultation.
Lots of ways to get a discount
When we visited the Murad site most recently, there were a couple of ways to get a discount. First, there was a pop-up offering 20% off to new customers in exchange for signing up for the Murad email list. Also, at the top of the site, there was a link to a 20% discount for "Friends and Family" - but all you had to do was click there to get the code on the next page (no family or friends required, actually). You can also save by creating a Murad account and opting into their free rewards program. Earn points on every purchase that you can redeem for trial-size products to sample before you buy, for full-size products, or towards an order to bring down the total price.
An "A+" from the BBB - but also some complaints
We're glad to see that Murad continues to be "A+" rated and accredited by the Better Business Bureau - especially since we found several recent complaints about the company's customer service, regarding unprocessed refunds and some less-than-friendly interactions with the support team. We can understand their frustration, since Murad is very proud of their 60-day money-back guarantee.
Users still rave about these acne products
But, when you look at user reviews on individual Murad products, you'll see why this continues to be one of our higher-ranking options for acne relief. For example, the Acne Control Clarifying Cleanser had over 1,400 ratings during our evaluation, averaging a near-perfect 4.9 stars. Many comments were from customers who have used this product for many years, saying that it stops breakouts in their tracks overnight, doesn't overdry skin, and works great even on sensitive skin.
Worth the money if nothing else has worked
Murad is not a low-cost acne treatment regimen. Buy everything on your recommended product list and you'll easily spend $200+ on your first purchase. But, if you've struggled with acne for a long time and nothing has worked, it might be worth the investment to see if a Murad routine can help you get clear skin for the first time in a long time.
Mighty Patch is different from most of the acne products in our review. This is no large-scale, use-it-for-weeks regimen you have to follow to the letter. Instead, this treatment is intended to tackle those once-in-a-while eruptions that threaten to ruin your class pictures or a long-anticipated first date. Apply the hydrocolloid patch (overnight or whenever; they're fairly discreet) and let it work for 6-8 hours. Peel it off when it turns white, all to reveal a much smaller, flatter pimple.
Hydrocolloid is Hero's hero
So what, exactly, is hydrocolloid? According to Hero, the makers of Mighty Patch, it's "a medical-grade gel that gently absorbs and traps gunk." Yummy! The benefits of using a Mighty Patch are many: hydrocolloid is chemical-free and allergy-tested, and it won't be as harsh on your skin as a benzoyl peroxide-based treatment. Plus, when you've got that pimple covered up, you're much less likely to pick at or pop it - which can often lead to scarring down the line.
Take the quiz to see other recommended acne products
However, Hero's acne solutions aren't limited to the Mighty Patch. You can take a skincare quiz on the Hero site to see which of their products might help you get the clear skin you want. Answer six questions about your skin concerns, skin tone and type, your age, and the kind of recommendations you want (targeted products or a whole routine). You'll have to provide your email address to get your results (which we don't love), but at least it comes with a 10% discount on your first order. That's the same savings and offer we got as a pop-up, prior to taking the quiz.
Check out all of the acne-fighting options here
You can always browse the Hero shop without getting your quiz results. Categories here include:
Save with bundles, rewards program, and subscriptions
How about some savings? You can save anywhere from 10-40% by shopping Hero's bundles. Plus, Hero will give you free shipping if your order is $35+. You can also join Hero's free rewards program, Skin Squad. You'll get points when you join, shop, and follow Hero on social media. You can redeem your rewards at checkout, which may include some free products to try. Finally, once you know you love your Hero acne treatments, you can subscribe and save 20% - you'll see that on the item page, where you'll select between making a one-time purchase or subscribing for redeliveries every 30, 45, or 60 days. Be aware that you'll have a two-delivery minimum before you can cancel your subscription.
Over 100,000 five-star reviews
The real question is "Does it work?" When it comes to Mighty Patch, the resounding answer is "yes" . Out of more than 2,100 reviews on the Hero site and a whopping 100,000+ elsewhere, the average rating for the Mighty Patch Original is an impressive 4.6 out of 5 stars. See for yourself among the numerous before-and-after photos and comments left by actual users of this Hero product: you can even look for reviews by people who fit your profile (same age, same skin type, you get the idea).
30-day satisfaction guarantee
If you don't love your Mighty Patches or any other Hero product, reach out to their customer support email to start the return process within 30 days of purchase. You'll get a full refund (minus your original shipping costs), and they'll even give you a prepaid shipping label for sending it back.
Risk-free, effective acne treatments
Mighty Patch and Hero's other acne-fighting products are a safe bet if you're looking for something affordable to tackle your pimple problems. Hundreds of thousands of people have tried these treatments with plenty of positive results, and that 30-day refund policy should reassure you that you're not making a risky purchase here. Why not see if it works for you?
Dermala focuses on treating your acne by rebalancing your skin and gut microbiomes. Where traditional acne products use benzoyl peroxide to get at breakouts on the surface, this acne routine helps you over the long run by making everything that affects your skin better - not just zapping breakouts as they happen.
Super-personalized acne regimen
This acne treatment system gives you a personalized #FOBO (short for Fear Of Breaking Out) kit, using a science-based approach to treatment. Using the Dermala app, you'll track the health and progress of your skin. Your next round of treatment is customized based on your actual results. Maybe you've finally got your microbiome under control and you just need to maintain; your product recommendations will shift accordingly. Or you're detecting hormonal acne breakouts; your next kit will probably include something that addresses those.
Take the quiz for your customized routine
When you click on the Get My #FOBO Kit button, you'll be taken to the quiz that will determine where you'll start with the Dermala system. There are nine questions asking you to indicate the type(s) of acne you have, how often you break out, your age, your email address, and so on. Our custom recommendation included six different products: SCANTILY Pad (which does contain salicylic acid), SUPPLEMEANT to Be Vitamin Skin Mix (daily vitamin plus a "unique blend of natural ingredients" ) and Hormonal Acne Supplement (targeting hormonal acne with a natural element found in cruciferous vegetables), Best CLEANSE Forever, OAT So Sweet Daily Moisturizer, and PATCH Me If You Can (hydrocolloid acne pimple patches). You can see that Dermala likes to use some cute and punny names for their products.
Could get expensive, but there are discounts
If we added everything in our recommended list as a one-time purchase, our total would have been $205. Ouch. If we opted to subscribe, all of our times would be discounted by 20%. But, that's not the only way to save money here. We were almost overwhelmed by the different discount options that popped up while we browsed the Dermala site. Create an account to unlock rewards and perks! Join our SMS club and save 15% on your next order! Enter your email for 20% off! Needless to say, if you don't want to pay full price, this acne product offers ways to save - and that doesn't even include any discount promos featured at the top of the site (20% off for a seasonal sale at the time of this review, available for new and returning customers).
More info on the satisfaction guarantee, please
Dermala doesn't get as specific as we'd like with their satisfaction guarantee. They only say that if you're unhappy for any reason, you can contact them via email for a refund. We'd like to see it spelled out a little more clearly: does this apply no matter how long you've been a customer? Can you get your money back after 30 days? 60? 360? Does it apply only to your first purchase? These are the kinds of details we're used to seeing with Dermala's competitors. And, given that it can take up to eight weeks to see results with this acne product, it would be smart for Dermala to be more upfront with the refund details.
Clinically-proven results and lots of 5-star ratings
But, what we do like about Dermala is the science-y nature of their results. Visit their Results page to see for yourself - not just before-and-after photos, but outcomes from an 8-week clinical study that was performed independently (and in which participants didn't know if they were using Dermala's SCANTILY Pad or an over-the-counter drugstore remedy). And, science aside, more than 95% of customers leaving reviews on the Dermala site give the products a 4-or 5-star rating.
Up and coming acne products you should consider
Dermala is still pretty new on the market, so we can't quite give it our first-place ranking yet. But, we're excited to see what happens as more people get to know this line of acne products, and we love how it incorporates your actual data to give you ongoing recommendations. If you've tried traditional acne regimens to no avail, Dermala could be the approach you're looking for.
It's no exaggeration to say that Proactiv is America's #1 acne routine. The company has been innovating within the skincare industry for more than 25 years and has over 20 million customers around the globe. This acne product focuses on a multi-step skincare routine designed to break the acne cycle and heal your skin.
Choose from 3 systems here
There are three Proactiv systems to choose from:
Use the quiz to pick a treatment routine
Not sure which Proactiv routine is right for you? Take the quiz. You'll be asked to indicate how often you see blemishes, your main acne concern (redness, post-acne dark marks, and so on), skin type, whether or not you have body acne, your age range, and your preferred pronouns. At the end of the questionnaire, you'll be given the solution that best fits your answers.
Pricing can be confusing
Don't feel bad if you're a little puzzled by Proactiv's pricing - we were too. When you've chosen your regimen, you'll be asked to choose between Regular and Trial sizes, but the cost seems to be the same ($24.95, billed monthly, renewing every three months) and the Regular 90-day supply comes with free shipping while the Trial 30-day package charges $5.99. Pay more... to get less? We kept looking for something in the fine print that would explain why anyone would choose the trial size at a higher cost, but we never found it.
Some freebies and add-ons
At the time of this evaluation, subscribers could choose a free gift of Clear Skin SPF 30 moisturizer or a pore-cleansing brush. There were also some add-ons that could be included in the subscription, like an oil control duo or mark/scar duo, for $10 more per month.
Visit the Proactiv shop if you don't want to subscribe
Not interested in subscribing? That's okay too. You can click over to the Proactiv shop and buy individual products you need. Of course, you'll pay more per item when ordering this way, but it gives you mix-and-match possibilities that you won't have when buying one of their three ready-made routines. This is also helpful if you run out of something in a subscription sooner than you expected, you misplace one part of your routine and only need a new bottle of that product, and so on. Also, if you visit the shop instead of choosing a routine, you can make a one-time purchase of any of the three-step systems: maybe you want to buy the trial size for 30 days instead of going all-in? You got it: it'll be $30.60 as a one-off - and that seems like a great deal compared to three monthly payments of $24.95.
60-day money-back guarantee
Whether you subscribe or make an a la carte purchase, Proactiv offers a 60-day money-back guarantee, giving you plenty of time to try their acne products and see how they work for you. Your shipping and handling costs won't be included in your refund, though.
Subscriptions have had some issues lately
Proactiv gets the Better Business Bureau's highest accolades: an "A+" rating and accreditation. There were just over 200 complaints filed against Proactiv with the BBB in the year leading up to this review - mostly frustrations with canceling recurring shipments - but that "A+" means that this company is doing a satisfactory job of handling problems. Still, as we looked in other places, recent reviews frequently mentioned problems with subscriptions: not just difficulties in canceling them, but long-term customers whose orders arrived with missing products (no cleanser in the three-step system).
Reliable acne products that work for millions of users
Customer service issues aside, Proactiv is an acne product that has worked really well for a lot of people: almost 75% of its users give it a five-star rating, and those aren't even the (likely-filtered) reviews featured on the Proactiv site itself. The before-and-after, untouched photos are pretty compelling too. It's worth playing around with the three different regimens and possibly creating your own routine - you may find one cleanser too drying but one of the other Proactiv products will be a great fit, or you may need to add a moisturizer after Step 3. Proactiv doesn't quite earn our highest rating, but it's still a well-known approach to treating acne that has worked for millions of people.
Truly Clear takes a one-size-fits-all approach to acne treatment. It's a made-in-the-USA bar of soap that's almost 100% natural, with ingredients like aloe vera, goji berry and shea butter, plus acne-fighting salicylic acid.
One-step acne routine
If you choose one of their complete kits, you can expect the typical three-step regimen of Cleanse/Tone, Repair, and Hydrate. You'll follow those steps twice a day. In addition, Murad recommends that you make healthy lifestyle choices to help you get radiant, clear skin (unfortunately, the link to the Murad site that describes their Inclusive Health approach was broken when we tried to visit it).
A few options in addition to soap
There are several complementary products you can also get from Truly Clear. You can try their acne patches (called "Truly Gone" , how cute), cleansing pads, or a "confidence case" for storing your soap and keeping it fresh. Many of these products are available as a bundle, or can be purchased as part of a set. And, if you sign up for Truly Clear's mailing list, you can get a 20% discount on your (next) purchase. Just look for the pop-up as you browse the online store.
Lots of pricing and package options
What does Truly Clear cost? That depends on whether you buy a la carte or set it up as a subscription, and also whether you purchase a starter kit or other bundle. Here are some of the options:
30-day money-back guarantee
No matter how you buy Truly Clear, it comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee (minus shipping and handling). Will you need to take advantage of it? Probably not. Most of the reviews you'll see on the site give these products an enthusiastic five-star rating - just keep in mind that there aren't very many ratings to go by (just 60 on the bar of soap, at the time of this review, going back to 2018). Looking beyond the Truly Clear store to customer reviews left elsewhere, they're still positive - but not as uniformly so. Speaking just about the bar soap, about 80% give it a 4- or 5-star rating, while 10% of users say it didn't work for them. In that regard, it's very much like other acne products: works very well for many, not at all for others, and moderately so for some.
One-size-fits-most approach to treating acne
Should you give Truly Clear a try? If you're not opposed to using products with salicylic acid and you love the idea of a one-step acne solution, we'd say go for it. You're always backed by that 30-day guarantee; you should know within a week or two if it's too drying for your skin, and within a month if it's delivering the expected results. But, if you're hoping for a more comprehensive approach to skincare, including moisturizers and SPF lotions, you'll need to look at one of Truly Clear's rivals.
Exposed Skincare got its start in Seattle in 2002. The company focuses solely on treating acne, combining advanced science with natural extracts to give you clear, healthy, balanced skin. The multi-step approach used in their acne regimen should unclog your pores, kill acne-causing bacteria, regulate oil, and calm any redness.
Take a client assessment
On the Order page, we found a link to Exposed Skincare's helpful Client Assessment tool. You'll click buttons to indicate your overall skin profile, like your age and where you experience acne, and at the bottom it'll tell you which products are the best match (and which ones are only a partial fit for what you've described).
Consider the bundled acne routines first
While you can buy acne products individually here, most people start their journey with Exposed Skincare using one of their three kits:
Subscribe for automatic future deliveries
Be aware that when you place an order for any of the three kits, it enrolls you in a membership plan that defaults to automatic shipments every 60 days. You can switch it to a different schedule (from 30 to 180 days), but if you just want it as a one-off purchase (like we think most people will when it's their first experience with Exposed Skincare products), look for the link under the "Add to cart" button that says "Order without free membership" . You'll pay an extra $10 when buying through that link as a one-time order.
May contain ingredients you'd like to avoid
To learn about the ingredients of any of the acne products in your kit, you'll have to go over to the individual items' pages. For example, the Probiotic Complex in the Ultimate set contains Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Zinc, Copper, Chromium, Selenium, Lactospore, Milk Thistle Seed Extract, Fructooligosaccharides, Jerusalem Artichoke Extract, and Black Hull Walnut Extract. If you're sensitive to any common acne ingredients, like benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid, read the lists carefully before buying your regimen from Exposed Skincare - because we found both of those (and several others, like tea tree oil and witch hazel) in many of the descriptions.
Compelling before-and-after photos
How well do these acne products work? According to many customers, very well. We invite you to look at the numerous before-and-after photos to see for yourself. There are also 100 or so reviews on each individual product that give you an idea of what to expect as you use it. We noticed that the majority of comments left on the Exposed Skincare site were at least a year old, for what it's worth.
Guarantee isn't as impressive as it looks at first
Exposed Skincare's guarantee looks great on the surface: One year! Unconditional! But, the details explain that it only applies to the first kit that you buy - so if you try a new product in their line or have a problem with subsequent purchases, it doesn't look like you've got any options. At all. That wasn't really what we were expecting - especially since the 30-day guarantee only extends to unopened products.
Not the most friendly customer service anymore
We have mixed feelings about Exposed Skincare's reputation. Their "A+" rating and accreditation from the Better Business Bureau gets them off to a good start, with only a handful of complaints filed there. And yet, when we look at customer comments in other places, we see a pattern of unsatisfactory responses from Exposed Skincare's support team. For example, one rep was adamant that there's no restocking fees on returns of unopened items - and yet we had no problem finding a 10% fee clearly spelled out in the Terms and Conditions page. Other comments describe rude responses over the phone and via email, arguing with customers about the return policy, and so on.
Good but not great
All of that has led to Exposed Skincare dropping from one of our most-recommended providers of acne products to a "just average" rating. Some people see amazing results with their skincare routine - but for the people who don't, especially those who have a bad reaction to benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid, getting a professional, friendly response from an Exposed Skincare representative proves difficult far too often. You won't be out too much money if you give this acne treatment a try and can't get a refund, but we recommend seeing what higher-ranked brands have to offer first.
ClearPores is one of many products offered in the Skinception line. This acne treatment regimen uses three steps to get your skin looking great: a facial cleanser, dietary supplement, and a protection cream.
Definitely not an all-natural acne treatment
What's in each of these components? You'll definitely want to check out the ingredients lists, because this isn't an all-natural acne product line. For example, the Deep Facial Wash and the Protection cream both use salicylic acid (which can be harsh) and methyl-/propylparaben (which are often considered to be no-nos as potentially toxic ingredients). The oral supplement is more natural, with ingredients like dandelion root, echinacea and red clover - but again, make sure you're not allergic or sensitive to any of ClearPores' ingredients before you make your purchase.
See results in three weeks or less
The makers of ClearPores say that you should see noticeable results within the first three weeks. You may get improvements sooner than that, but it can take that long to disrupt the internal acne cycle.
Over $100 for a 1-month supply
This is not one of the most budget-friendly acne products on the market. If you buy a one-month supply, it'll cost you $99.95 plus $8.95 for shipping - and you'll just barely have seen how your skin responded during that initial three-week period. You'll save on the per-month cost if you buy a three- or six-month supply instead - if you're prepared to lay out almost $300 or $500, respectively. Ouch! At least the shipping is free when you buy the multi-month packages.
Needs to show more proof that it works
ClearPores and the Skinception brand are a part of the Leading Edge Health family, which has an "A+" rating and accreditation from the Better Business Bureau. That's a good start, but we're still not seeing much customer feedback on this acne product. Sure, you can read through some user-submitted testimonials (though you'll have to go to the website that specifically focuses on ClearPores, because there weren't any reviews on the Skinception page), but there were no authentic before-and-after photos, and no collection of unfiltered comments to consider.
Not moving in the right direction
That's just one of the reasons we can't rank ClearPores any higher in our ratings. Additionally, this acne product has moved in a less customer-friendly direction since our last evaluation. What used to be a 90-day satisfaction guarantee has been dropped to a 67-day period (60 days to try the product and 7 days to get it back to the return center). Plus, the price has increased by 50%, leaping from $64.95 to $99.95 for a one-month supply and from $169.95 to $279.96 on a three-month supply.
Better, less expensive acne products are out there
We don't have any concerns that Skinception/Leading Edge Health will honor the satisfaction guarantee if you try ClearPores and don't see results. But, with many other less-expensive options to try, especially treatments with hundreds (or thousands) of user reviews you can read for yourself, you're probably not going to be impressed by this acne product. Keep it in reserve as an alternative if you don't find what you're looking for in our higher-ranked acne solutions.
AcnEase promises to treat acne from the inside out, using a proprietary blend of herbs to fight existing blemishes and prevent new ones from forming. This is an oral supplement with no corresponding topical creams or other applications.
Proprietary blend of herbal ingredients
So, what's in AcnEase? The proprietary blend in these tablets includes Gardenia Fruit, Houthymia, Dandelion, Scierotium, Balsam Pear, and Leaf Mustard; inactive ingredients include dextrin and corn starch. AcnEase doesn't contain gluten, GMO or animal by-products, or phytoestrogens. If you're curious about the components of AcnEase, be sure to visit the Ingredients page to learn more.
You'll need 3-10 bottles
Your instructions for taking AcnEase will depend on several factors. Is your acne mild, moderate, or severe? Is it primarily on your face or does it affect your body too? Are you male or female? At the lowest end of the dosage spectrum (mild acne, teen or woman, under 180 lbs.), the recommended dosage is four tablets twice a day, over the course of a month. You'll need three bottles for that regimen. At the highest end (severe body acne, regardless of gender, age, or weight), you should plan on taking six tablets three times a day, over the course of six weeks. That course would require you to buy ten bottles. Once your acne problem is under control, you may want to stay on a maintenance dose of 2-3 tablets per day.
You'll pay anywhere from $85 to $250 for a full course of treatment
When buying AcnEase, the pricing is solely based on the number of bottles in the package. They're named according to the severity of your acne -mild to severe body/face - but the only difference is in how much you'll be buying at once. You'll pay $85 for three bottles and $250 for ten - but keep in mind that those quantities may only represent a month or six weeks of treatment.
60-day satisfaction guarantee
AcnEase comes with a 60-day satisfaction guarantee. You can get a full refund (minus shipping and handling) if you try the product for at least a month and don't see the results you're looking for. However, be aware that this guarantee only applies to one treatment on your first order - so you shouldn't stock up or try multiple product lines when you make that initial purchase.
Good luck getting help from customer service here
However, that guarantee is only good if the company actually honors it - and from what we've seen in customer feedback, that's a pretty risky proposition. If AcnEase works for you, that's great. We did see comments from a handful of people who said this treatment was worth the money. However, we saw many more complaints saying that not only did AcnEase not change the health of their skin, but there was also zero response from the company when requesting a refund according to the promised satisfaction guarantee. When we tried calling the contact number listed on the AcnEase website during the posted business hours, our call was repeatedly disconnected. Maybe that's why parent company Herborium only has a "C" rating from the Better Business Bureau?
Could be an expensive experiment
Yes, it's possible that AcnEase is the solution you've been looking for. But, it's going to cost you quite a bit to put it to the test - and you're really unlikely to get your money back if you don't get the results you wanted. There are other all-natural acne products in our review that you should try before risking your money on AcnEase.
CleaRx was developed to treat stubborn acne using maximum strength over-the-counter ingredients. It's designed to exfoliate, rejuvenate, and target pesky trouble spots.
Nothing novel in this 3-step acne regimen
CleaRx follows the usual three-step routine to fight acne:
You can only buy in multi-month packages
At the time of this review, there were three options for buying CleaRx: a two-month supply, four-month supply, or a six-month supply - priced at $59.12, $108.74, and $148.71, respectively. Those purchases would renew automatically at the end of the given time period. CleaRx doesn't have an online store where you can buy a la carte, so if you lose one of the three components in your care routine, you're out of luck until the next shipment.
Intriguing before-and-after shots
Looking at some of the before-and-after photos on the CleaRx site, we were willing to give this acne product a try. There are also some decent user reviews on the products, although we didn't see any recent ones (more current than two years ago).
Is anyone even working here now?
Unfortunately, we're not very confident in CleaRx's making good on their 60-day money-back guarantee. Their social media channels seem to have gone silent after 2020, and their "Contact Us" address goes to a PO box in South Dakota (not exactly a big corporate headquarters). Our call to their toll-free number left us on hold, waiting to be connected to a customer service representative. And, we weren't impressed by the typos we found as we browsed the site, either ("healthy, event toned skin" ).
Don't bother spending your money on these acne products
There's just nothing about CleaRx that stands out. Most acne products use a three-step system, and we don't see anything in this regimen that gives it any kind of advantage - over the competitor products in our review or even over what you'd find on the shelf at the store right now. Add that to a hard-to-reach customer service department and spelling errors on the site and it's no mystery why CleaRx is towards the bottom of our rankings. You'll get more from one of the more reliable, active brands in our review.
Acnezine takes a two-step approach to treating acne: an oral supplement and a topical cream. The problems with this acne treatment routine are almost too many to list, but we'll do our best to not miss any of the reasons you should avoid buying Acnezine.
Acne product ingredients shouldn't be a mystery
Our biggest problem with Acnezine (and its affiliated brands of Lucent Skin and Revitol) is a lack of detailed product information. You can see on the product images that the supplement contains hydrolyzed collagen and CoQ10, and the topical cream has benzoyl peroxide and aloe vera. If you want to know more than that, you have to buy the product and read the label - and that's even what Revitol tells you to do in the FAQ. That's unacceptable for most products, but even more so when people have to ingest what you're selling. Allergies, anyone?
Our next issue with Acnezine is the price. $59.95 for a one-month supply is on the spendy side, especially when you don't really know what you're getting or how long you should expect it to take before you see results. You can pay a lot less if you buy more than one month's supply at a time - $39.97/each for a three-month kit or $29.98/each when buying six months of product - but we'd hesitate to lay out that much cash for a product with undisclosed ingredients.
Conflicting satisfaction guarantee info
Related to that concern is the fact that there's no clear return policy or satisfaction guarantee when you buy Acnezine. In the product description, it says you've got a 90-day risk free trial and you can get a full refund if you're not happy. However, when you check out the money-back guarantee details in the FAQ, you see that it has to be "unused and unopened" in order to be eligible.
Zero customer service
When we tried calling the contact number for Acnezine (to clarify the return policy and ask about ingredients), it was identified as a business called "Breast Actives" (which was almost enough to make us hang up right away). We were finally connected to a random "customer service" person who asked which product we were asking about - and she came back and told us we had the wrong number because they don't carry anything by the name of Acnezine. In other words, if you have a horrible product reaction or you want to take advantage of that 100% guarantee, there's quite literally no way to do that here.
Worst acne product in our review
We've found similar issues with other products associated with the Revitol brand name. Our advice? Avoid anything this company sells. You won't get any customer support, no refunds, and you won't even know what's in the product unless you buy it.
Another factor when choosing an acne product is your experience with treatments in the past. Benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid are two of the most common ingredients in over-the-counter remedies: they're very effective for some, while others experience dry skin or rashes when using products that contain them. Also consider if you have any known sensitivities to natural ingredients like tea tree oil, aloe vera, or other botanicals. Check the ingredients list of any acne product you're considering to make sure it doesn't contain anything that's a known irritant for you.
A word of warning: know how they say that sometimes things get worse before they get better? No matter which acne treatment you follow, you may find that your acne actually increases at first. It's a process known as "skin purge" , and according to Medical News Today, it can happen as people use new products with ingredients that accelerate exfoliation and bring new skin to the surface. You might just have dry, flaky skin - or even more blemishes than before.
Fortunately, many effective acne products give you 60 days (or longer) to let the skin purge run its course and reveal your new, healthy skin underneath. You just need the patience to ride it out. Of course, if you're showing signs of an allergic reaction (rash, hives, stinging or burning sensation, itchy or watery eyes, and so on), discontinue use and check in with your doctor before trying a new treatment.
With so many different acne products on the market, you might be feeling confused about where to start. Not to worry. Here are some criteria you can use to narrow down the options and zero in on the ones that will likely be your best bet:
To help you get the clearest skin possible, TopConsumerReviews.com has evaluated and ranked today's most popular acne products. We're confident that this information will make it easy to find the right solution - and at the right price!
Acne is an embarrassing and often painful problem that can last a few days to several years. Unfortunately, many people don't know the ins and outs of acne to best manage their skin issues. Several mysteries shroud the truth when it comes to acne. For example, how your diet affects your skin and how acne is started are often misunderstood. Despite a concerted effort, people are often confused by their pestering pimples. Below is a list of common acne myths to help you better understand and deal with your skin problems.
Myth: Acne is caused by poor hygiene, and frequent/vigorous cleansing heals it.
Truth: Contrary to popular belief acne is not caused by poor hygiene. Acne is caused by a combination of dead skin cells clogging the pores, and an overproduction of oil. Yes, poor hygiene can contribute to this but a dirty face makes no difference, as long as the pores aren't clogged. Along that same note, it is important to wash your face. Most dermatologists recommend twice a day cleansing and, equally important, to not over-wash. In fact, many studies show that over-washing or scrubbing too hard is extremely bad for your skin and can rub it raw. Remember, the best way to keep your pores open and clean is by gently washing twice a day.
Myth: Acne is caused by junk food.
Truth: Most studies report there is no correlation between diet and acne. However, some people do insist that their skin looks better when eating healthier. As it is always a good idea to eat healthy anyways, do what works best for you. But don't expect miracle skin after eating carrots and celery.
Myth: Acne is just a cosmetic disease, and is nothing to worry over. You just have to let it run its course.
Truth: This is never correct. While acne is not life threatening, it is a skin condition that can be very painful and embarrassing. Self-esteem and self-confidence are part of being an emotionally healthy individual. Also crucial to note is that you don't have to let acne "just, run its course". There are many products out there that can help you achieve the complexion you want.
Myth: Acne only affects teenagers.
Truth: Acne can affect anyone, at any time, and anywhere. Age absolutely does not matter. Because of how acne develops, an increase in oil production which can be caused by a hormonal imbalance- teens are often the victims. But many adults, and even babies, can end up suffering from acne.
Myth: Tanning and lots of sun exposure can help clear acne.
Truth: It makes acne worse. This acne myth probably originated from people who could see that slightly tanned or dark skin would more easily hide acne. Saying that the sun or tanning can heal acne is incorrect. Sun exposure, in moderation, can be healthy for the skin and complexion but too much sun, which many people expose them to, is very unhealthy. Aside from drying out the skin, and killing skin cells, which can clog up pores, tanning or too much sun exposure is proven to cause skin cancer. The solution is to always wear oil free sunscreen when planning to be outside for prolonged periods of time.
Myth: There is a cure for acne- you just haven't found it.
Truth: There is 100% no cure for acne. People born acne-free are simply lucky. If you suffer from acne, many products can help reduce it and there are ways to prevent it. But nothing will forever take away the chance to develop acne and that's the ugly truth.
Myth: When having an acne breakout, you can't wear make-up.
Truth: With or without acne, you can always wear make-up. Some make-ups that are heavy or really oily can make your acne worse, but there are many different types of make-up. When suffering from an acne breakout, try powder or mineral based make-ups. These will allow your skin to breathe, and conceal your pimples.
Myth: To get rid of acne, simply pop the pimples.
Truth: Popping pimples is incredibly harmful to your skin and can lead to scarring and a worse onslaught of acne later. This is a very bad idea, and a falsehood to avoid.
Acne is a frustrating and difficult issue to deal with. Many people have turned to non-prescription, over-the-counter products to help deal with the symptoms of acne. Independent reviews of these products can help steer savvy consumers to therapies that have a greater chance of success.
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