I honestly can’t remember not having pimples. Not to say that my skin hasn’t come a long way in the years since I walked the halls of my local middle school. I’ve gone from daily breakouts to the random zit, but either way, pimples have been a mainstay on my face my whole life. They come in different shapes, sizes, and textures depending on the day—usually under the skin—and the majority of the time, the pimples leave love notes—in the form of dark marks—behind on my face after they’re gone.
I have my go-to brands that have made vast improvements in my skin’s texture and number of surprise zits. But finding them hasn’t always been easy. There have been countless times where I thought a cleanser or exfoliator would clear up my stubborn acne for good, then find that a few days later I had a new zit coming in. Let’s just say that in the process of trial and error, there’s been a lot of error.
To help the rest of you hone in on creams, cleansers, and exfoliators that won’t break you out, we’ve rounded up 36 of the best products for acne-prone skin, according to dermatologists and women who’ve put them to the test IRL. Bonus: You can get many of these at the drugstore for under $20.