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The Best Acne-Fighting Products for Specific Skin Types

Acne doesn’t discriminate: It doesn’t stay away, simply because you may also be dealing with other skin conditions and concerns like sensitivity, eczema, hyperpigmentation or dryness.

“Acne is a complicated condition,” Dr. Dennis Gross, a board-certified dermatologist based in New York City and the founder of Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare, tells Fashionista. “Contributing factors can range from anything from genetics or hormonal changes to weather and even products. If you are not using the correct ingredients to target the root cause of your specific type of acne, it is not going to get better.”

Despite the many ups and downs of treating acne, finding products that work well with your skin type — without exacerbating another condition — all comes down to the right balance of ingredients. New York City-based board-certified dermatologist Dr. Nkem Ugonabo typically turns to benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, sulfur, glycolic acid and retinoids like tretinoin when treating her patients with acne. “I often recommend people look for a cleanser with acne-fighting ingredients, such as benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid depending on the type of acne,” Dr. Ugonabo says. “I also recommend using an oil-free, non-comedogenic moisturizer that hydrates the skin without contributing to additional breakouts.”

Dr. Carol Cheng, a board-certified dermatologist and pediatric dermatologist based in Santa Monica, Calif. recommends similar ingredients when it comes to treating comedonal acne (i.e. those annoying deep, flesh-colored bumps). For inflammatory and hormonal acne treatments, however, she may call for prescription-strength treatments, like clindamycin and dapsone or spironolactone.

“If a patient has more sensitive skin or eczema, it can be a barrier to using some of the acne products which may cause more dryness or irritation to the skin, such as stronger topical retinoids or AHA/BHA-containing products,” Dr. Cheng says.

For combating acne without risking an eczema flareup or flaky dry patches, Dr. Cheng recommends Peace Out’s Redness + Clarifying Mist, a gentle hypochlorous acid-based spray packed with zinc, arnica and a blend of three types of clays that was developed to fight redness and excess oil for all skin types, including those with eczema, dermatitis and rosacea. Dr. Gross recommends his brand’s 2% BHA Breakout Solution, which is formulated to treat every type of acne without irritating the skin or leaving it parched.

“People think that acne treatments need to be intense to work — but this isn’t true,” he says. “To treat acne, you need to achieve balance in your skin. If you go from one extreme to the other, your acne isn’t going to clear up.”

Ahead, we’ve rounded up 19 acne-fighting products — including cleansers, serums, spot treatments and moisturizers — that play well with other skin concerns, including sensitivity, eczema, rosacea, hyperpigmentation, dryness, oiliness and combination skin. Keep scrolling to see (and shop) them all.

Best for sensitivity/eczema/rosacea: Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare 2% BHA Breakout Solution, $38, available here

Best for sensitivity/eczema/rosacea: Tower28 Beauty SOS Daily Rescue Facial Spray, $28, available here

Best for sensitivity/eczema/rosacea: Peace Out Redness + Clarifying Mist, $28, available here

Best for sensitivity/eczema/rosacea: First Aid Beauty Deep Cleanser with Red Clay, $24, available here

Best for hyperpigmentation: Topicals Faded Brightening & Clearing Serum, $38, available here

Best for hyperpigmentation: Hyper Skin Gentle Brightening Gel Cleanser, $28, available here

Best for hyperpigmentation: Luna Daily The Repair Treatment, $56, available here

Best for hyperpigmentation: Bubble Day Dream Tone & Texture Serum, $17, available here

Best for dry skin: Cocokind Postbiotic Acne Serum for Clear and Balanced Skin, $20, available here

Best for dry skin: Rosen Skincare Glowing Honey + Kojic Moisturizer, $22, available here

Best for dry skin: The Inkey List SuperSolutions Acne Clearing Moisturizer 2% Novoretin, $20, available here

Best for dry skin: Hero Cosmetics Clear Collective Clarifying Prebiotic Moisturizer, $13, available here

Best for combination skin: Innisfree Bija Salicylic Spot Serum, $18, available here

Best for combination skin: Cosrx Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence, $25, available here

Best for combination skin: CeraVe Acne Foaming Cream Cleanser BPO 4%, $19, available here

Best for combination skin: Sofie Pavitt Face Mandelic Clearing Serum, $54, available here

Best for oily skin: Good Molecules BHA Clarify Gel Cream, $10, available here

Best for oily skin: Hygiene Hero Beyond Blemish Bar, $18, available here

Best for oily skin: Derma E Acne Deep Pore Salicylic Acid Cleansing Wash, $17, available here

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