5 of the Best Acne-Fighting Treatments

My favourite topicals.
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Michelle Villett
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My favourite topicals.
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Nothing ruins your day faster than an emerging sp0t, smack dab in the middle of your chin. As if that weren't enough, try being a beauty editor: the pressure to have flawless skin (along with perfectly blown-out hair and manicured nails) is intense. As a result, I've tried more than my fair share of blemish-busting treatments (I won't even get into the diet side of things—those are stories for another day). Here, a few of my favourite topical treatments:

Avène Diacnéal Skincare Lotion

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If you've got sensitive skin, start slowly with this cult-favourite acne cream (yes, it's that powerful). Available at most drugstores, it dries up zits almost overnight, thanks to a combination of glycolic acid and retinaldehyde (which is in the retinoid family and speeds up exfoliation). It's also paraben-free and non-comedogenic . Since it's extremely drying, I save this one for emergencies only.

Dermalogica Concealing Spot Treatment


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I often wonder if what people use to camouflage their zits isn't actually causing the problem. The solution? This new treatment, which simultaneously covers and treats blemishes. Dab it on spots before applying foundation and they might just be gone by the end of the day, thanks to ingredients like zinc oxide, salicylic acid and sulfur. I wasn't sure I'd like the texture at first since it seems quite watery, but if you let it sit a minute it dries down nicely and covers well.

UPDATE: I've decided I don't like this product all that much. It seems to dry down to this crusty finish... not appealing.

ilike Organic Skin Care Herbal Clay Spot Treatment

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This is like a clay mask in wand form, which works surprisingly well to dry up blemishes without causing the dreaded flakiness that plagues those of us with sensitive skin. I love that there are only three ingredients on the label: herbal clay, zinc oxide and clove oil. It also doubles as a concealer, although I haven't tried it for that purpose yet.

Laboratoire Remède Intensive Double Serum

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This is a new and improved version of one of my favourite acne treatments, the Double Oxygenating Booster. And hear this: nothing—I repeat, nothing—could dissolve a blemish faster than that stuff. (You could actually feel the product tingling, which was très satisfying.) The new version adds 10 percent vitamin C to the oxygenating active formula and can be used either all over the face under moisturizer, or as a spot treatment.

Clear Clinical Acne Treatment Cream

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Formulated by Toronto dermatologist Dr. Lisa Kellett of DLK on Avenue, this 5 percent benzoyl peroxide cream is gentle enough to use all over your face, but still fight blemishes. The secret? Moisturizing rosehip oil.