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From face tools to spot treatments, 7 dermatologist-approved solutions for acne

Because breakouts don't just disappear after your teens.
/ Source: TODAY

Adult acne can be difficult to manage, especially since there are so many different factors that can contribute to it. Everything from diet to age to skin type can affect how your body reacts, and the right solution isn't always one-size-fits-all.

If you're ready to treat stubborn breakouts or want to know the best ways to get ahead of them, NYC-based dermatologist Dr. Macrene Alexiades stopped by TODAY to share some of the best drugstore products, skin care devices and dermatologist treatments that you can use to combat acne.

Keep reading to discover these dermatologist-approved solutions — starting at just $6.

Drugstore products for acne seen on TODAY

Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Fighting Facial Cleanser

One key ingredient in the fight against acne? Alexiades says salicylic acid can be a big help. Not only can it help to unclog pores, but it can also help exfoliate the skin. This cleanser is formulated with the superstar ingredient and, according to the brand, can "boost delivery of acne medicine to help clear up acne and blackheads."

Clean & Clear Persa-Gel10 Acne Medication

Need a fast-acting spot treatment to help zap away blemishes? Alexiades recommends turning toward benzoyl peroxide for help. She recommends this gel from Clean & Clear, which is formulated with 10% benzoyl peroxide acne medication to help treat acne. It can be used up to three times a day to treat stubborn pimples.

Differin Acne Treatment Differin Gel

Alexiades tapped Differin gel, a strong Retin-A, as another treatment for acne prone skin. Hailed for its anti-aging benefits, the gel can be applied as part of your skin care regimen in order to reduce the risk of scarring and reduce the frequency of breakouts.

Skin tools for acne seen on TODAY

Lustre ClearSkin Solo

Alexiades recommends this red and blue light therapy device as one treatment method. According to the brand, the gadget promotes a photodynamic response from the skin that helps to destroy bacteria-causing acne.

Lumae Skin Microdermabrasion Rejuvenation Kit

To exfoliate the skin, Alexiades picked this device. The five-minute treatment uses tiny crystals to exfoliate the skin while the device vacuums up debris and impurities. The brand says the process itself improves circulation and collagen production, which can help acne-fighting skin care products be more effective.

Ziip Series GX Series

Though it is a bit of a splurge, Alexiades suggests this device for anyone willing to try an electric current facial. The brand says its "Energize" treatment contours, firms and tightens skin, which helps to improve the overall brightness and glow of your complexion.

More dermatologist-approved tips and tricks for acne

Board-certified dermatologist Dr. Rita Linkner of Spring Street Dermatology in New York City previously stopped by TODAY to fill us in on some of her favorite products, as well as some tips to help keep your skin clear and healthy. Some treatments start at home; others begin with drugstore products; still more might require a prescription or a visit to the dermatologist — but her advice can get you started on your journey to clear skin.


Trying to prevent acne in the first place can be one of the best ways to combat skin problems, and diet can play a role in keeping your skin clear. While there aren't any foods that you should be eating, Linkner recommends avoiding some options.

Try cutting back on dairy, particularly low fat or skim milks, and avoiding high-glycemic foods like potatoes, white bread, and short-grain rice.

Sensitive Skin

Depending on your skin type, you might want to try different things to combat adult acne. If you have sensitive skin, make sure to use non-foaming, cream-based cleansers. For extra support, use vitamin A products in your nightly routine.

Neutrogena Oil Free Acne Wash Cream Cleanser

This acne wash works to clear and prevent breakouts using salicylic acid and the brand's powerful Micro-Clear technology, which works to boost the delivery of acne medication to the source of breakouts. It's also gentle enough to prevent irritation and avoid over-drying without clogging pores.

Neova Radiant Wash with Buffered Acids

Clean and refine skin's appearance with this wash from Neova. Formulated with fruit acids that slough off dead skin and removes impurities, it's a powerful cleanser that also fights the appearance of dark spots and sun damage to keep your skin looking young and refreshed.

RoC Retinol Night Cream

Visibly reduce the appearance of lines and deep wrinkles with this retinol-packed anti-aging night cream. Oil-free, it won't clog pores. Apply it just before going to sleep, since skin is most receptive for repair and renewal at night.

Alastin 0.5 Retinol

This renewing retinol product delivers critical benefits to combat the signs of aging. The anti-inflammatory formula can be great for acne-prone skin, and potent hydrators can protect against skin dehydration.

Oily Skin

Oily skin can be tricky to handle on your own. If your skin is oily and your acne is due to hormones, try consulting with a board-certified dermatologist to see what treatment is right for you.

Pregnancy Acne

Linkner said that 40% of women struggle with acne during pregnancy. If you're looking for a way to combat a sudden flare-up, try using a foaming cleanser with glycolic acid, especially for breakouts on the body, and use an oil-free sunscreen so that you can protect your skin without clogging it further. Make sure that your products don't include retinol — according to Linkner, that's an ingredient to avoid while pregnant.

Neostrata Foaming Glycolic Wash

Cleansing and exfoliating, this wash helps reveal your clearest and most radiant complexion. With 18% glycolic acid, it helps remove impurities, unclog pores, and support cell renewal, and the formula includes grapefruit extract and plenty of antioxidants to leave your skin feeling healthy and refreshed.

Elta MD UV Clear SPF 46

This oil-free sunscreen can help calm and protect sensitive skin, especially skin that's prone to acne, rosacea, and discoloration. The mineral-based formula is lightweight and silky, and won't weigh down your skin.

Alastin Hydratint

This lightweight, broad-spectrum sunscreen provides daily protection from damaging rays. With an antioxidant-rich formula that shields against pollution damage and ingredients that improve skin hydration, it's great for keeping your skin as healthy as possible.

Acne Scars

Even once the acne is gone, you might still see its effects in the form of acne scars. Most common on the cheeks and temples, these scars can be bothersome or unsightly — so try consulting with a dermatologist about treatment options, like laser treatments or chemical peels, to reduce their appearance.