Drugstore Skincare for Acne-Prone, Sensitive Skin

I've created several posts on drugstore make up, like my make-up faves and my drugstore dupes posts, so at some point it just made sense to do a similar post on skincare. While I love trying new make-up any time new launches hit the stores, I am a little less adventurous when it comes to skin care. The products I am sharing about today are not only affordable, but have earned a permanent place in my bathroom because they work. 

To give some background, I have combination/oily skin that is pretty sensitive. I struggled with acne for a while throughout my teens (face, shoulders, back - it was the worst). After a few years and several dozen trips to a dermatologist, I've grown out of those consistent breakouts, but I still get a few blemishes here and there; and I am still very particular about what skincare products I use. I look for hydration for glowing skin but steer clear of anything pore clogging or heavy.

To give a quick disclaimer, I am not a doctor. I would never presume to tell you exactly what your skin's needs are and how best to treat a problem you may have. I simply want to share about my experience with these products because they have worked for me! A lot of these products were recommended to me by dermatologists over the years, and some I simply found by a fun game called trial and error. I know a lot of girls and women feel stuck and frustrated because they are overwhelmed with the choice of products in front of them and don't know where to start. If you have similar skin to mine, this may be a good reference point for you. Please keep this in mind, and enjoy!

1. PanOxyl Acne Foaming Wash 10% - Let's jump into this head first and start with the products that I’ve used and trust to fight acne. This foaming wash is a super hero when it comes to body acne. A dermatologist recommended this to me in high school, and I swear by it. This is pretty strong stuff, so it should only be used on your body - would not recommend for the face - and only on the broken out areas (in other words, don’t wash your whole body with it). I don’t get body breakouts anymore so I don’t use this much currently, but I went through several tubes throughout high school and college. I could tell a significant difference in the time it took for a breakout to heal while using this product - it’s awesome!

2. Clean and Clear Persa Gel Benzyl Peroxide Spot Treatment - You might notice a pattern here. Benzyl peroxide products work best for my skin when it comes to clearing up acne. This spot treatment is great for isolated breakouts or small areas. I still use this stuff when I get a random hormonal breakout, and it clears up in a matter of days! Also, quick tip on breakouts that I want to touch on - take your moms advice and do not ever, ever pick at a breakout! This is something I was told constantly by mom, doctors, etc. but it really is the worst thing you can do. It creates a larger sore than the blemish itself and can leave scarring behind! Definite no-no. Just put this spot treatment on before bed at night and be done with it!

3. Cerave Moisturizing Lotion - This is another recommendation by a dermatologist that I still use to this day. It's a great lightweight moisturizer that really nourishes your skin without being too heavy. The phrase my doctor told me to look for in make up, moisturizer, sunscreen, etc. is “non-comedogenic,” which means it won’t clog your pores. This moisturizer is formulated with essential ceramides and hyaluronic acid, key ingredients for glowing, healthy skin. Another quick tip: if you have acne, it is so important to moisturize you skin. If you strip your skin of all hydration, you’re prompting it to produce more oil, causing more breakouts. Please don’t neglect a good moisturizer, guys!

4. Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel - While we're on the subject of moisturizers, this is another one I can't live without. The formula is, as the name would suggest, a gel consistency with a cooling factor when you apply it. It's lightweight but still packs a big moisture punch, and also boasts hyaluronic acid in the ingredient list (another trend... once I find something I like when it comes to skincare, I stick with it). I primarily use this product in the summer time because the cooling sensation and light, gel formula make this a great daytime product to layer under make up or sunscreen.

5. Garnier Miscellar Cleansing Water - This product has been all I have used for the past year or so to remove make-up. Before I go in with face wash in the evening, I first want to remove all of the foundation, concealer, etc. so the cleanser I'm using can actually penetrate the skin and do its job. This cleansing water honestly removes every bit of makeup from my skin without any harsh rubbing. I simply put the product on a cotton pad and use it all over my face. Get's the job done, no mess, and no skin irritation.

6. L'Oreal Pure Clay Mud Mask - There are several products in this mask line. I've tried two of them and am a huge a fan! So much that I want to try the rest of the product line. The red mask is designed to "exfoliate and refine" the skin. I really feel  like this product does an awesome job of removing all of the dead skin; after using, my face feels so smooth, and my pores look smaller! The black mask is designed to "detox and brighten." I feel so refreshed and clean after using this one. You can actually see it working as it's drying down and bringing all of the dirt and oil out of your pores. For someone who wears make up every day, these masks are lifesavers! I typically use a mask once or twice a week and have been rotating these lately. They're so good!

7. Dove Beauty Bar - All I have to say is, "Thanks, mom." Dove beauty bars are not only my mom's choice of facial cleanser, they were also a product (you guessed it) a dermatologist recommended. Sometimes simplicity is key. This formula contains mild cleansers that purify your skin without stripping its natural moisture. I have used this as my morning cleanser since college and love the way it leaves my skin feeling fresh, clean, and smooth! This is a great product for all skin types, especially sensitive skin. Highly recommend it.

There it is, guys. Affordable skincare products that are also effective! I hope this was helpful to any of you who are in need of some suggestions in the skincare department. If you suffer from acne or inflamed, sensitive skin - I feel your pain. I know it's frustrating. Just work on narrowing down your skin's needs to determine what works best for you. Hopefully some of these products are a good starting point! Have a great week!


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