This Acne-Fighting Skincare Routine Costs Less Than $50 (and a Trip to the Drugstore)

This Acne-Fighting Skincare Routine Costs Less Than $50 (and a Trip to the Drugstore)

It always seems as if breakouts are sneaking up on us at the most inconvenient times. Whether it’s right before a big date or spring formal, all important events seem to be accompanied by unwelcome guests. With a bit of research and trial and error, you’re bound to discover the products that work best for clearing up your skin. Finding a solid and affordable skincare routine that helped combat those pesky breakouts helped me attain glowing skin as well as boost my confidence level knowing that I now have better control over my skin. At the same time, it can be intimidating to search for new tips and products, so I’ve put together my simple acne-fighting drugstore skincare routine that will help clear your skin without clearing out your bank account.

Step 1: Cleanse

The Product: Simple Micellar Cleansing Water

Cost: $8

Dermatologist and Simple skincare expert Dr. Debra Luftman shared the secret behind micellar water with Elle, revealing that micellar formulas are made of micelles, or “tiny oil particles suspended in soft water.” They attract dirt, grime, and oil and act like a magnet to help draw out impurities without drying the skin.

Why I Love It: I’ve tried many cleansers that ended up being too harsh or leave my skin feeling oily, which sort of defeats the purpose. I love this micellar water because it leaves your skin feeling clean, refreshed, and hydrated. The two-in-one action of also removing makeup made it a no-brainer to add to a mighty yet gentle skincare routine.

Step 2: Exfoliate

The Product: Bioré Charcoal Acne Scrub

Cost: $8

When it comes to making sure all impurities are cleansed from the skin, an additional exfoliant can do exactly that in addition to helping to “slough off dead skin,” according to The Cut. With active ingredients like salicylic acid and charcoal, this gentle scrub will help give your skin the extra TLC it needs.

Why I Love It: Washing my face at night is highly anticipated after a busy day running around campus. I’m already a big fan of double cleansing, and there’s something so satisfying about also getting rid of lingering dead skin. While this scrub works wonders for your skin, I would recommend only using it a few times a week to avoid drying out your skin.

Step 3: Treat

The Product: Formula 10.0.6 So Totally Clean Anti Blemish Pads

Cost: $7

On the days where you’re looking for either a gentle exfoliation or to give your skin a little something extra, these salicylic acid-infused blemish pads are a must-have. Chicago-based cosmetic chemist Randy Schueller explained to Allure that the structure of the chemical is “more oil soluble so it can penetrate into the pores of the skin,” and can treat both pesky blackheads and whiteheads alike.

Why I Love It: Even with an infusion of 2% salicylic acid, these pads are still gentle enough to use on a daily basis. Once I added them to my daily drugstore skincare routine, I noticed an almost immediate difference. Suddenly, my skin was suddenly much less oily and troublesome blackheads began to disappear.

Step 4: Tone

The Product: Botanics 100% Organic Refreshing Toning Spritz

Cost: $11

Co-founder of Glow Recipe, Sarah Lee, explained to Allure that you should “use a toner as the first leave-on step that hydrates and treats.” Think of using toners as locking in all of the hard work you just put into detoxing your skin. Opting for formulas with natural ingredients like rosewater can help add another important layer to your routine. Jennifer Chwalek, a New-York based dermatologist, noted that its anti-inflammatory effects can be a great natural remedy for treating acne and redness alike, according to Elle.

Why I Love It: This rosewater-infused formula is one of the most fragrant and refreshing toners I have tried. I love spraying a layer on my face before moisturizing to help soothe and hydrate my skin after treating it with tough ingredients like salicylic acid. I also like to carry it with me in my backpack for a nice refresher any time my skin is feeling dull or dry during the day.

Step 5: Moisturize

The Product: CeraVe Moisturizing Cream 

Cost: $16

Moisturizing is the final, and arguably most important, step to any skincare routine to leave your skin both feeling and looking fresh. When it comes to suiting the needs of your skin type, make sure to pay attention to both ingredients and texture. For example, if you have dry skin, hyaluronic acid is your go-to to help maintain skin’s natural moisture, whereas if your skin is on the oily side, you may prefer a gel-like formula.

Why I Love It: This cream has become the go-to moisturizer in my drugstore skincare routine mainly because of its texture. The formula isn’t thick to the point where I feel oily, but it’s still thick enough to feel the moisture seeping into my skin. I also love the fact that it’s fragrance-free because I know it won’t irritate my sensitive skin.

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Opening image by Itzy Canales.

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