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Post in Combination Skin

acne scars, active acne

Hey! So I have a combination skin type, my skin is oily around my T-zone and the overall rest is fine. I have been breaking out a lot recently on my cheek area and on my chin, I have some acne scars and I have a couple of big pimples that hurt when I touch them. I have used the "Cetaphil" cleanser for a while now and I see no results from it, even though I've been consistent with it. I would really like a recommendation product! But I don't want it to be too pricey, I'm trying to stay on a budget around $15-$20. 

Re: acne scars, active acne

Hi! I have the same problem. I will give you my skincare routine :


Cleanser : Laroche posay, effaclar micro-peeling purifying gel. (16$)

Serum : the ordinary, mandelic acid (6,70$), Versed, vitamin c (20$), the inkey list, niacinamide (9$)

Moisturizer : Clinique, moisture surge 100h (69$ for a 75ml) But this is pricey.


I hope this will help you! 🙂

Re: acne scars, active acne

Hi @yupcristal ! A few questions: 

  1. Which specific Cetaphil cleanser do you use? 
  2. Do you use any other acne products, especially any leave-on products, in your routine? 
  3. About those big painful pimples: are they deep below the skin surface, or have they come to a head? 
If your answer to number 2 is “no,” consider using a leave-on product that contains salicylic acid (BHA), benzoyl peroxide (if your skin's not sensitive to it), or azelaic acid. Those are a good few acne-fighting ingredients, and azelaic acid can help reduce post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (dark marks left behind by acne). Product suggestions: 
Some good Sephora-sold products are The INKEY List Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA) Blemish + Blackhead Serum 1 oz/ 30 mL , Paula's Choice Mini Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant 1 oz/ 30 mL , Paula's Choice CLEAR Daily Skin Clearing Treatment with 2.5% Benzoyl Peroxide 2.25 oz/ 67 mL , and The Ordinary Azelaic Acid 10% Suspension Brightening Cream 1 oz/ 30 mL . 

I'll also recommend Paula's Choice 10% Azelaic Acid Booster 1 oz/ 30 mL and tell you to go buy it direct from Paula's Choice: the brand's having a sitewide 20%-off sale right now, plus you can buy a travel size of this azelaic acid product for $8 USD. That'll let you test the product for a while and see how it works for you. I prefer the Paula's Choice azelaic acid, but I've had no big issues with The Ordinary's version. FYI, Paula's Choice sells travel sizes and/or sample foils of many products, and they frequently have sales. 😉 And if you're a Rakuten user, Paula's Choice is one of the cashback brands. 
Oh, and The Ordinary just released a new version of their BHA leave-on: The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Anhydrous Solution Pore Clearing Serum 1 oz/ 30 mL . I can't speak to that serum, having never tried it. 
An inexpensive drugstore OTC option is Differin Gel. It contains adapalene which is a retinoid. (Retinoids are vitamin A and its derivatives, including OTC retinol and Rx tretinoin.) Many people use Differin for acne control. If you go this route, be sure to start off sloooowly with this product: use it just once or twice a week (never twice on the same day) for a few weeks, then increase usage to 2-3 times a week, and keep gradually increasing usage until you're at a comfy-for-you frequency. You can also get prescription-strength adapalene from a doctor, but OTC strength might suffice. 
For number 3: if those pimples are deep below the skin, they might be cystic acne. A dermatologist or your primary care doctor can help with that. I know you want to stick to a budget, but if you can see a doc, I highly recommend it for this type of acne. If nothing else, a doc can assess/diagnose your skin and help you create an effective personalized skincare routine that won’t break the bank. That routine could include Rx-strength retinoids like tretinoin. I know a couple folks who take birth control to control cystic acne. It's all worth discussing with a doc. 
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