Over-The-Counter Best Acne Treatment Products For Adults 2017

Acne can be very frustrating, especially for adults. It’s a problem more common than you think – statistics show that a massive 50 per cent of women are diagnosed with some form of adult female acne during their adult lives.

A treatment that worked so well during your teen years can be useless – or make acne worse. If this happens, you may wonder whether those blemishes really are acne. Then a question comes to your mind: Do adults get acne? The answer is a big YES, Adults do get acne!

Here is adult acne guide that covers everything you need to know and help you find to beat off adult acne for good!

What Causes Adult Acne?

Some people continue to get acne well into their adulthood. Today, more and more dermatologists are finding women in their 30s, 40s and 50s coming to their clinics with adult-onset acne. According to American Academy of Dermatology, women tend to get acne more frequently as adults than men do.

If you’re getting acne as an adult, it is likely to be occurring because of one or more of the following reasons:

(i) Fluctuating Hormone Levels: An imbalance in hormones, both in women and men, is the major cause of breakouts in adults.

Women usually suffer from fluctuating hormones:

(i) Around their periods

(ii) During pregnancy, peri-menopause, and menopause

(iii) After discontinuing (or starting) birth control pills

On the other hand men suffer hormonal imbalance when in extreme stress.

(ii) Stress: Many studies have observed a relationship between stress and hormone levels, which explains why we have acne flare-ups under stress. In response to stress, our bodies produce more androgens (a type of hormone). These hormones drive the oil glands to produce more sebum and stimulate the hair follicles in the skin, which can result into painful acne and blemishes.

(iii) Family History: If anyone of your blood relatives, such as a parent, brother, or sister has acne, you are more likely to suffer from it due to genetic and heredity factors. Findings from many research studies suggest that some people may have a genetic predisposition for acne.

(iv) Use Of Wrong Hair And Skin Care Products: If you have acne prone skin or suffer from adult acne, you should check the labels on the skin care and hair care products before you buy them. Make sure that you see one of the following terms on the label:

(a) Non-comedogenic

(b) Non-acnegenic

(c) Oil-free

(d) Won’t clog pores

Keep in mind that your moisturizer, cleanser, sunscreen, and all other beauty products have one of these terms on their labels. These products are least likely to cause or aggravate acne.

Another thing is to review that whether the product you’re using is drying out your skin. Because if your skin dries out your sebaceous glands are prompted to produce more oil to balance the skin moisture level. This again can block skin pores. Therefore, choose skin products that suit your skin type.

(v) Medication Side Effect: Acne can occur in adulthood due to side effects of some medicines. If you feel that a medicine is causing acne or aggravating it, continue taking the medicine — but consult your doctor who prescribed it. If your doctor thinks acne is a possible side effect, he may prescribe a different medicine. If you cannot take another medicine, consider following the acne treatments suggested in this article.

(vi) Undiagnosed Medical Condition: At times, acne and pimples develop because of some underlying medical condition. Once the medical condition is diagnosed and treated, the acne often go away on its on.

Top OTC Products For Adult Acne Treatment

Choosing best acne treatment system for adults according to their skin type and severity of the acne is the foremost important step. Some systems will work great for some and do nothing for others. That’s why I am making this list of the best otc adult acne products that will get rid of your acne, blackheads, whiteheads and even fade away the blemishes. Don’t worry; I will explain here for whom these systems might be great for and which systems you ought to avoid.

1. Basic Acne Treatment Kit by Exposed Skin Care

For all skin types, 60 day supply (Cleanser, Toner, Dual Treatment Serums)

Exposed Skin Care Acne Kit contains components that combine the power of Science and Nature to treat acne and pimples and guarantees a clearer and smoother skin within 30 days.


(i) Facial Cleanser: The facial cleanser is a Salicylic Acid based acne treatment infused with pro-Vitamin B5 that helps in gently cleansing and detoxification your skin without drying it out.

(ii) Clearing Tonic: This tonic penetrates deep into your pores to help remove blackheads and whiteheads. Furthermore maintains pH balance of the skin.

(iii) Acne Treatment Serum: This acne treatment serum is a Benzoyl Peroxide treatment which is an effective ingredient for combating acne and averts further blemishes and pimples.

(iv) Clear Pore Serum: This serum is a lightweight gel for preventing zits and pimples and rebalancing your skin while you sleep.

(v) Derm X – Cloth: It is a microdermabrasion cloth that can exfoliate your skin to get rid of dead cells, oil and dirt from the skin.

Suitable For: Normal, Sensitive & Oily Skin.


(i) This acne kit includes the Salicylic Acid acne treatment with 0.5% to 1% strength. Salicylic Acid works as a Keratolytic (peeling) agent that eliminates the dead cells layer of skin uncovering the clean skin beneath.

(ii) The presence of Benzoyl Peroxide in the Acne Treatment Serum helps unclog the skin pores, stop bacteria from growing and prevent acne pimples and cystic lesions.

(iii) The cleanser contains citric acid and pro-Vitamin B5, so detoxifies skin and controls excess production of oil by the sebaceous glands.

(iv) The components include Glycerin that helps in fading away fine lines, wrinkles and acne scars.

(v) The treatment contains many anti-oxidants and botanical herbs like witch hazel, green tea extract, sage leaf extract and tea tree oil, all of which are helpful in healing and soothing skin while clearing up your acne.

(vi) It’s safe to use, as it does not overpower your skin like many other acne products.

(vii) One kit lasts almost two months so it’s worth its price.


(i) This kit comprises of components that contain fragrance. So if you are allergic to perfume, it may not suit your skin.

(ii) The serum has phenoxyethanol, which is an aromatic alcohol and may cause irritation and burning sensation on sensitive skin.

(iii) It is not suitable for dry skin and can cause acute peeling on dry skin.

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2. Murad Anti-Aging Acne Anti-Age Starter Kit – 4ct

Murad Anti-Aging Acne Treatment Kit is a 3 steps procedure especially devised for adult acne sufferers. This starter kit prevents early signs of aging and fights to reveal a healthy, clear and acne-free skin.

Step 1: Time Release Acne Clearer

This high-performance, anti-aging acne wash helps treat breakouts and diminishes early signs of aging. Its magic continues working even after it has been rinsed off because it penetrates deep into pores.

Procedure: Massage a small amount of Time Release Acne Cleanser over dampened face and neck. Rinse with warm water and pat dry.

Step 2: Advanced Acne & Winkle Reducer

It is a clinically proven formula that reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles while Retinol and Glycolic Acid accelerate natural cell turnover and stimulates collagen production to improve skin tone and texture.

Procedure: ​Massage Advanced Acne and Wrinkle Reducer evenly over clean face, neck and chest.

Step 2: Renewing Eye Cream

Triple-benefit eye cream helps prevent under-eye aging, diminish dark circles and puffiness while illuminating the eye area for a youthful glow.

Procedure: Gently pat a small amount of Renewing Eye Cream onto the brow bone and beneath the eye.

Step 3: Anti-Aging Moisturizer

This ultra-light, fast absorbing moisturizer helps keep your skin moisture balanced and boosts hydration. Moreover, it prevents blemishes while defending against early signs of aging with broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection.

Procedure: Apply Murad’s Anti-Aging Moisture liberally to face, neck and chest.

Suitable For: Normal, Combination and Dry Skin.


(i) The time release acne clearer is formulated with 0.5% Salicylic Acid and works as a main component in dissolving the dead keratin plugs and regulating the skin cells to keep a healthy balance.

(ii) Ascorbic acid, another important ingredient, enables proper removal of excess oil and dirt from the surface of the skin so as to stop breeding of acne-causing bacteria.

(iii) Glycerin, a major ingredient in Acne and Wrinkle Reducer, acts as an emollient. So it treats all the oily skin conditions. Moreover it fills all the wrinkles and fine lines, minimizing their appearances.

(iv) In addition the Acne and Wrinkle Reducer contains amino acids that help the cells to produce more collagen and elastin, which make your skin look much younger.

(v) This acne treatment kit includes a 3 in 1 moisturizer that combats acne, controls wrinkles and hydrates your skin while providing UV rays safeguards.

(vi) This treatment is formulated using a number of natural botanicals such as Sesame Seed Extract, Willow Bark Extracts, Water Melon Fruit Extract and Clover Flower Extract, all of which act as anti-bacterial agents without being harsh on your skin.


(i) Time Release Acne Clearer and Anti-Aging Moisturizer have large amount of alcohol that can be abrasive for those who have sensitive skin.

(ii) The presence of alcohol can also lead to excessive peeling or burning of the skin.

(iii) This product is quite expensive.


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3. Acnefree 24 Hour Acne Clearing System Kit

This dermatologist preferred 3-step system for acne treatment is formulated using advanced micro-benzoyl peroxide that helps provide relief from painful acne and related symptoms throughout the day and night without worsening your skin conditions.


Step 1: Purifying Cleanser

Purifies, gently exfoliates dead skin cells and removes pore clogging acne bacteria, dirt, sebum and impurities leaving skin fresh and clean. Non-irritating formula. Delivers Benzoyl Peroxide directly onto skin to attach and eliminate bacteria.

Step 2: Renewing Toner:

Fused with Witch hazel, Chamomile and Aloe vera extracts this renewing toner gently removes dead skin cells, revitalizes and renews the skin. Deeply penetrates to remove excess oil leaving skin feeling cleansed, fresh and perfectly toned.

Step 3: Repairing Lotion

This lightweight anti-bacterial moisturizing formula, with fast working medicine, provides the most effective acne prevention product. Attacks bacteria to kill acne and blackheads before they start so as to prevent your skin from acne flare-ups all day long.

Suitable For: For all skin types and ethnicities. But may not be suitable if your skin is sensitive. So talk to your dermatologist first before using in case your skin is sensitive. For all ages – teens to adults.


(i) This system’s cleanser contains Benzoyl Peroxide that penetrates deep into skin pores and exterminates the P.acnes bacteria that causes acne and pimples.

(ii) This treatment is formulated with Dimethicone i.e. a skin-conditioning agent and provides relief to your skin from inflammation and redness caused by breakouts.

(iii) The renewing toner contains a variety of herbal extracts, including witch hazel, ginger, chamomile and aloe extracts, which work as natural astringents and provide calming effect.

(iv) The Repair Lotion contains Stearic Acid that helps maintain your skin’s moisture balance so as to provide complete hydration.

(v) Chamomile is hypoallergenic so has ability to neutralize skin-irritants. Moreover, it has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties that make the repair lotion very gentle.

(vi) Just a small quantity is enough. It does not make your skin greasy due to drying effect of Benzoyl Peroxide.


(i) This may cause irritation to your skin, if your skin is sensitive to Benzoyl Peroxide.

(ii) If you are using any other topical medications in addition to this product you might face excessive dryness and redness on your skin.

(iii) This product contains alcohol and multiple derivatives of parabens that might cause burning or peeling of skin in some cases.


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4. Neutrogena, Advanced Solutions Complete Acne Therapy System, 1 ct

Neutrogena Advanced Acne Therapy System is a three-step regimen, specially formulated using a combination of dermatologist recommended medicines. It deep cleanses and exfoliates your skin, gets rid of all the dead skin cells and excess oil build-up. Each acne medicine works differently, but together they provide a complete system for consistent clear skin. Perhaps the best acne product for adults.

Step 1: Skin Polishing Acne Cleanser

Skin Polishing Acne Lotion contains salicylic acid and microfine beads to exfoliate, deep cleanse and eliminate pore clogging dead skin cells as well as excess oil build-up to treat and help prevent acne.

Step 2: Acne Control Lotion

Overnight Acne Control Lotion contains benzoyl peroxide and other anti-acne ingredients to kill acne-causing bacteria and treat inflamed breakouts, pimples and blemishes while helping to prevent future breakouts as well.

Step 3: Oil-Free SPF 15 Lotion

This non-greasy Sun Shield Day Lotion with SPF 15 and DermaNaturals, a proprietary botanical complex, provides sun protection, calms skin and promotes the return of healthy-looking skin.

Suitable For: Normal Skin.


(i) The Skin Polishing Acne Cleanser and Acne Control Lotion provide you maximum protection from acne, blemishes, blackheads, whiteheads and even cystic acne because they contain Salicylic Acid and Benzoyl Peroxide as their active ingredients.

(ii) This kit comprises of a separate therapy, each for day and night. The Acne Control Lotion is meant for use at night and the Oil-Free SPF 15 Lotion should be used during daytime to provide protection from UV light.

(iii) The presence of Panthenol in the acne cleanser helps healing and soothing itching and irritation caused by breakouts. It also promotes the removal of dead cells and regeneration of new cells.

(iv) The acne cleanser also contains Menthol, which offers a cool refreshing effect after application. In addition it soothes and neutralizes your skin inflammation.

(v) The Oil-Free SPF 15 Lotion can be applied alone or under makeup after cleansing your skin as per your needs.


(i) The Acne Cleanser contains alcohol so avoid it if you have a sensitive skin or reduce its frequency.

(ii) The presence of alpha hydroxyl acid in this treatment product might increase skin’s sensitivity to the Sun, so limit your skin exposure to the Sun as much as you can to prevent sunburn.

(iii) The presence of paraben and fragrance in this product can be abrasive for acne-prone skin.

(iv) Due to the presence of Benzoyl Peroxide this product is likely to result into dryness on your skin so adjust its usage appropriately.


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5. La Roche-Posay Effaclar Dermatological Acne Treatment System, 7.5 Fl. Oz.

La Roche-Posay Dermatological Acne System contains multiple ingredients to target the major causes of acne that are known to dermatologists. Provides up to 60% reduction in acne in just 10 days.


Step 1: Medicated Gel Cleanser

Effaclar Medicated gel cleanser targets excess oil with 2.0% Salicylic Acid acne wash and in the process fights acne breakouts. Exclusive micro-exfoliating Lipo Hydroxy Acid helps detoxifies oily areas on the skin surface to gently provide precise cell-by-cell removal of debris, dirt and oil.

Step 2: Effaclar Clarifying Solution

This solution targets clogged pores with acne toner. The Glycolic Acid penetrates deep to unclog pores so as to provide smooth skin texture. The 0.5% Salicylic Acid Acne Medication helps to reduce any remaining mild imperfections.

Step 3: Effaclar Dual Action Acne Treatment

Targets blemishes with acne cream. The 5.5% Micronized Benzoyl Peroxide Acne Medication goes deep into skin to combat all types of acne blemishes and pimples, while Exclusive Micro-Exfoliating Lipo Hydroxy Acid offers precise cell-by-cell exfoliation to smooth skin texture.

Suitable For: Dry to Oily Skin and sensitive skin as well.


(i) Recommended for acne treatment, blemishes, blackheads, and whiteheads.

(ii) Oil free, Non-comedogenic, Fragrance free, Paraben free, so it is suitable for nearly all types of skins.

(iii) The medicated gel cleanser thoroughly exfoliates your skin and removes excess oil and cell debris that cause acne.

(iv) The kit contains a clarifying solution that unclogs your pores so as to clear all the bacteria trapped deep inside pores, so helps to remove even the stubborn blackheads and whiteheads.

(v) The cleanser contains citric acid, which helps clear the skin pores and provides your skin a natural glow because it acts as a whitening agent and eliminates dark spots and fights pigmentation.

(vi) The presence of silica, a skin conditioning agent, ensures skin hydration – so does not make your skin dry.

(vii) Reduces up to 60% of acne in 10 days. Visible results starting day 1. Reveals skin with minimized acne and clear pores within 10 days.


(i) The clarifying Solution contains alcohol, so be careful before using it if your skin is allergic to alcohol.

(ii) The presence of Salicylic Acid makes your skin sensitive to the UV radiation, which means that you will need to limit exposure to the Sun.

(iii) The dual action acne treatment needs to be stored at 20-25 degrees centigrade for stability and to maintain its efficacy.


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6. Proactiv+ 3 Step Acne Treatment System (30 Day)

Proactiv+ is a 3-Step acne-treatment system that ensures killing of P.acnes bacteria and delivers skincare at every step. Formulated not only to heal and clear acne, it also helps to diminish the evidence of past breakouts, restoring skin to its healthy-looking appearance.

Step 1: Skin Smoothing Exfoliator

In this step use a 4-in-1 daily face wash, which serve as a deep cleanser, a medicated treatment for killing acne-causing bacteria, a glycolic-acid toner and a mild exfoliator for removing all, impurities including oil and dirt, renewing and smoothing your skin’s surface.

Step 2: Pore Targeting Treatment

This step involves use of a gentle lightweight gel that clears acne blemishes using Smart Target benzoyl peroxide. This new technology is designed specifically for treatment of adult acne by combining micronized benzoyl peroxide with a revolutionary delivery system that helps guide medicine directly into pores to unclog them, clear blemishes and helps prevent new ones from forming.

Step 3: Complexion Perfecting Hydrator

The final step is using this state-of-the-art medicated moisturizer that has acne-fighting capability with an extraordinary range of added skincare benefits. This luxurious, nutrient-rich finishing touch is designed to leave your skin smooth, supple, even-toned, bright and radiant.


(i) The skin smoothing exfoliator contains glycolic acid and benzoyl peroxide. Both these acne-fighting ingredients help to restrain P.acne bacteria growth and remove dead skin cells.

(ii) The presence of Dimethicone retains moisture within your skin to neutralize the drying effect of Benzoyl Peroxide and promotes cell hydration.

(iii) Glycerin is good in reducing skin irritation, soothing inflammation, getting rid of blemishes and providing anti-aging effect.

(iv) The presence of Salicylic Acid in complexion perfecting hydrator stimulates cell turnover and Kojic Acid brightens your skin tone.

(v) The hydrator promotes collagen and elastin production to regenerate skin cells, which freshen up and rejuvenate your skin, free from adult acne.

(vi) It is paraben-free and contains anti-oxidants to soothe your skin.

(vii) It comes in a 60-day supply that costs a reasonable price.


(i) The complexion perfecting hydrator contains alcohol, which you should be careful about if your skin is allergic to alcohol.

(ii) This system contains fragrance, which might cause a little irritation in case of sensitive skin.

Suitable For: Oily, Combination and Sensitive Skin.


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7. Neutralyze Moderate To Severe Acne Treatment Kit – Maximum Strength 3-Step Anti Acne Medication Includes Face Wash (3.3 Ounce), Clearing Serum (1 Ounce) + Synergyzer (1 Ounce)

Neutralyze® treatment is good for moderate to severe acne. Clinically proven 95% effective, delivers amazing results. You will begin to see a noticeable improvement in as little as 2-3 days. Can be used by teens as well as adults; both by men and women.


Step 1: Face Wash Gentle For Even Sensitive Skin

Neutralyze Face Wash, a powerful cleanser with mandelic acid that rapidly kills acne-causing bacteria and helps prevent future breakouts. Gentle exfoliation removes dead skin cells and heals damaged skin to reveal the natural complexion you were born with. This luxury wash is creamy and texture-rich, making your skin feel refreshed, rejuvenated and hydrated after every use.

Step 2: Clearing Serum

Salicylic combined with the skin rejuvenating ability of mandelic acid, penetrates deep to heal existing acne lesions and blemishes. This low pH acne-fighting formula works vigorously to clear acne, fade dark spots & correct uneven skin tone. Controls oil, unclogs & reduces the size of pores, provides a more balanced and even skin tone.

Step 3: Synergyzer

Reduces redness and irritation to visibly improved complexion and significantly enhances the overall health and condition of your skin.


(i) Reduces redness, inflammation & irritation. Promotes healing to help get rid of acne quickly and improves complexion.

(ii) Gets rid of cystic acne, pimples, blemishes, whiteheads, blackheads, acne scars and post acne marks.

(iii) Innovative science-based acne treatment formulation comprising of prescription grade Salicylic Acid (BHA) and Mandelic Acid (AHA) to correct blotchiness, minimizes the appearance of pores, fine lines and wrinkles, revealing youthful and attractive skin.

(iv) Reinforces your skin’s natural healing capabilities and renders acne totally powerless. Brings troubled skin back to a neutral state of clear, calm, even-toned, glowing health.

(v) Non-comedogenic, fragrance-free, paraben-free.

(i) Not strong enough for deep, cystic acne.

(ii) Be cautious while applying to sensitive skin.


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8. Obagi CLENZIderm M.D. System, (3 Count)

Three-step acne treatment with clinically proven benzoyl peroxide to help control adult acne. Complete acne treatment specifically formulated for normal to oily skin to help treat acne where it starts.


Step 1: Use daily care foaming. It contains salicyilc acid to soak deep into pores to clean them out, dry up oils, and remove dead skin.

Step 2: After step 1 use Pore therapy. It also contains salicylic acid, which penetrates deep into skin pores to cleanse them thoroughly.


(i) You can apply the above two steps twice a day.

(ii) The cleanser as well as Pore Therapy contains menthol, which has a great cooling tingle for on painful, swollen, or inflamed acne.

Step 3: Once a day follow up the above two steps with a thin layer of benzoyl peroxide therapeutic lotion.

Note: Both the above ingredients, salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide, and lead to drying out or peeling of skin, if you use them too much. If you notice so, drop the above steps once a day or every alternate day.

Caution: Avoid the product to come in contact with your eyes to avoid stinging.


(i) Penetrates to reach bacteria in the pores. P. acnes—the bacteria that causes acne—flourishes in the pores, making it difficult to reach. CLENZIderm M.D. with 5% benzoyl peroxide (BPO) is uniquely formulated to target acne at the source.

(ii) Reduces acne breakouts in as little as 1 week

(iii) Continues to reduce acne lesions through 12 weeks of use

(iv) Proven effective in treating mild to moderate acne

(v) Helps prevent future breakouts


(i) Not for dry skin.

(ii) Contains sulfates

(iii) May have drying adjustment period


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