With over 2,600 stores in 34 countries worldwide, Sephora is the biggest beauty name in the world.
They also carry over 250 brands and over 78,000 products, including makeup, skincare, perfumes, self-care items, and so much more.
So with all this, it’s safe to say that you would have no problem finding products for any skin concern you may have.
However, if you don’t know where to start, this is the first article of what I plan on turning into the “Sephora series,” and in this article, I will list the 20 best Sephora products for acne-prone skin.
The Ordinary – Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% – $6
Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% is one of the most popular products by The Ordinary and for a few good reasons.
It has worked wonders for so many people, and it is especially loved by oily and acne-prone skin due to the two main active ingredients.
As we already know, niacinamide is an incredibly beneficial ingredient for every skin type and can also tackle multiple concerns, including hyperpigmentation, redness, texture, excess oil, and acne.
On the other hand, zinc is an incredible mineral that helps soothe and repair the skin, which is why it’s exceptionally good for inflammatory conditions such as acne.
This product can help balance excess oil production, soothe irritation, improve hyperpigmentation and texture, and most importantly – get rid of mild breakouts when accompanied by other acne-fighting ingredients.
RELATED: Best Niacinamide Products Under $30.
The Ordinary – Azelaic Acid Suspension 10% – $8
The Azelaic Acid Suspension 10% is a hit for many but a miss for some.
The product has a matte finish and is great for oily, acne, and rosacea-prone skin, as well as for someone who is dealing with post-inflammatory redness due to previously having acne or contact dermatitis flare-ups.
However, since it’s a suspension, this product is filled with silicones. Silicones aren’t necessarily bad in skincare and are an affordable ingredient that’s easy to formulate with and helps slow down transepidermal water loss.
But the issue with these types of products is that they will pill and ball on the skin’s surface and generally don’t sit well under other cosmetic products such as sunscreens and makeup.
RELATED: Best Products For Acne by The Ordinary.
OTZI – Multi-Acid Drip AHA/PHA Serum – $35
The Multi-Acid Drip Serum by OTZI is a concentrated treatment designed for skins dealing with concerns such as acne, dryness, irritation, sensitivity, and pigmentary issues.
As it says in its name, the serum contains a multi-acid blend of 2.6% AHA and 7% PHA to gently lift dead skin cells from the skin’s surface and reveal a smoother and glowier complexion underneath.
Besides that, the serum also contains 0.49% willow bark, which is considered to be the milder alternative to salicylic acid, effective in clearing out the pores from acne-causing gunk.
Lastly, the serum is boosted with a soothing Korean tea blend, including cherry blossom, green tea, chrysanthemum, cedarwood, and adlay, to deliver a potent antioxidant punch into the skin and calm irritations.
First Aid Beauty – Niacinamide Dark Spot Serum – $42
The First Aid Beauty Radiance Niacinamide Serum is a great, non-irritating option that aims to reduce the appearance of active acne as well as pigmentary issues such as dark spots, UV-induced damage, mild hyperpigmentation, discoloration, uneven skin tone, as well as superficial post-acne scarring.
The product contains a low percentage of niacinamide, boosted by soothing licorice root extract and golden kiwifruit, which has antioxidant properties due to being rich in vitamin C as well as another carotenoid antioxidant known as Lutein.
RELATED: Best Antioxidant Serums.
The Inkey List – BHA – $11
The Beta Hydroxy Acid by The Inkey List is an affordable serum for when you are dealing with more stubborn acne, and you need something to stay on your skin as an overnight treatment.
This lightweight serum contains 2% salicylic acid as well as 1% low molecular hyaluronic acid to help retain moisture in the skin.
It’s very simple, lightweight, and easy to use. However, avoid using it more frequently than a few times a week as overusing salicylic acid could potentially lead to dryness and irritation.
The Inkey List – PHA Exfoliating Toner – $11
PHA Toner is a gentle chemical exfoliant that’s most suitable for sensitive and reactive skin.
The main active ingredient is 3% Gluconolactone, a PHA that works to gently exfoliate the skin’s surface and lock in moisture.
Besides that, the PHA Toner also contains 3% niacinamide to brighten and even out the skin and Aloe leaf juice to soothe and calm irritated skin.
The Inkey List – Succinic Acid Treatment – $9
The Inkey List 2% Succinic Acid Acne Treatment is another good budget-friendly product that you can use as a spot treatment or in larger areas.
It contains 2% succinic acid alongside other acne-fighting ingredients, including 1% sulfur and 1% salicylic acid, as well as hyaluronic acid to help hydrate the skin and retain moisture.
RELATED: Best Products for Acne by The Inkey List.
Peter Thomas Roth – AHA/BHA Clearing Gel – $48
The AHA/BHA Clearing Gel by Peter Thomas Roth is a treatment designed to soothe active acne by clearing out the gunk causing clogs inside the pores and encouraging dead skin cells to shed faster.
The treatment is quite potent, containing 2% salicylic acid as well as 10% glycolic acid complex, which is quite strong for an over-the-counter product; therefore, you have to be careful using this.
Besides the main actives, the gel also contains soothing ingredients such as licorice, arnica, and aloe vera extracts.
It can be used both on body areas affected by acne as well as the face; however, since the skin on the face is more sensitive, it’s best to use it once or twice a week only.
Peter Thomas Roth – Therapeutic Sulfur Acne Mask – $52
The Therapeutic Sulfur Acne Mask by Peter Thomas Roth is a weekly treatment designed to purify the skin, dissolve the gunk inside the pores, and neutralize the growth of acne bacteria.
The main active ingredient in the mask is 10% sulfur, a mineral that fights bacteria and aids in shedding dead skin cells that could be stuck inside the pores.
Besides that, the mask also contains aloe vera extract to soothe and calm the skin from irritations.
However, since it’s a clay mask, the treatment also contains kaolin and bentonite clays, which are rich in minerals; however, they can both be drying to the skin.
This means that you should stick to using this treatment once a week as a purifying boost and have a complete skincare routine that consists of other leave-on actives if your acne issue is moderate to severe.
RELATED: Best Exfoliating Face Masks.
Kate Somerville – EradiKate Salicylic Acid Treatment – $60
The EradiKate Salicylic Acid Treatment is a lightweight acne treatment designed to soothe active acne with two percent salicylic acid.
The product also contains retinol, which helps smooth the look of skin texture and improve skin tone and pigmentary irregularities.
In one of my previous articles, I’ve already mentioned that I don’t recommend salicylic acid and retinol to be mixed together in the same routine; however, this is a different case because both ingredients are present in small amounts in the same formula.
You should still watch out for irritation and minimize use if it occurs, but it’s safe to use a product that contains ingredients you wouldn’t otherwise mix if they are in two separate products.
Besides that, the hydrating formula also contains sodium PCA and sodium hyaluronate, which moisturize the skin and help keep it plump and hydrated.
Kate Somerville – ExfoliKate Pore Exfoliating Treatment – $88
The ExfoliKate Exfoliating Treatment is the brand’s bestseller for a good reason.
Perfected in the clinic to reveal glowing skin, Kate’s signature facial delivers four treatments in one product – cleanser, scrub, peel, and mask.
The Exfoliating Treatment contains exfoliating enzymes such as papaya, pineapple, and pumpkin, as well as a blend of hydroxy acid, including lactic acid to hydrate and soften the skin and salicylic acid to dissolve clogs and soothe acne.
Besides that, the product also contains soothing and nourishing ingredients such as aloe vera, honey, and vitamin E to further help smoothen and soften the skin, making it look like fresh out of a treatment room.
Murad – Rapid Relief Acne Spot Treatment – $23
Murad’s Rapid Relief Acne Spot Treatment is another reasonably priced spot treatment that helps deal with unwanted pimples quickly and efficiently.
It contains 2% salicylic acid, which is the gold standard for soothing pimples, as well as oat extract to prevent irritation and reduce the look of redness.
Murad – InvisiScar Resurfacing Treatment – $36
Murad’s InvisiScar Resurfacing Treatment is a moisturizer treatment designed to soothe active acne while also addressing the pigmented scarring that usually stays behind once a pimple has healed.
The product contains salicylic acid, which works to unclog the pores and prevent acne from forming as well as vitamin C that helps brighten hyperpigmentation left from old acne.
Lastly, the treatment also contains soothing ingredients such as Centella Asiatica and Madecassic acid, which is one of the main active components of Gotu Kola, thought to contribute to the plant extract’s regenerating, wound healing, and moisturizing properties.
Selfless by Hyram – Salicylic Acid & Sea Kelp Serum – $24
Hyram’s Salicylic Acid & Sea Kelp Serum is an excellent product for anyone dealing with mild spots, excess oiliness, and super sensitive skin.
The serum can be used daily since it only contains 0.5% salicylic acid, alongside 5% niacinamide, which is the ideal percentage to get the best results without potential irritation, and 1% sea kelp, an ingredient that helps maintain moisture and calms redness and sensitivity.
Selfless by Hyram – Mandelic Acid & Rice Bran Serum – $24
Hyram’s Mandelic Acid & Rice Bran Serum is another banger for anyone dealing with active acne and super-sensitive skin.
The product contains a blend of mild (3%) mandelic acid, 2.5% PHA, and 0.5% salicylic acid to help gently exfoliate the skin and eliminate impurities that are causing clogs and acne.
Lastly, the exfoliating serum also contains many soothing, hydrating, and repairing ingredients, including propanediol, biosaccharide gum, glycerin, niacinamide, etc.
RELATED: Best Exfoliators for Sensitive Skin.
Selfless by Hyram – Niacinamide & Maracuja Moisturizer – $26
And the last product from Selfless by Hyram is the Niacinamide & Maracuja Moisturizer designed to be lightweight enough for oily skin but hydrating enough even for dry skin.
The product contains 5% niacinamide to balance out excess oil production and reduce the appearance of enlarged pores, as well as 1% maracuja, which is an ingredient that promotes skin healing by supporting compromised skin barrier.
Lastly, the 1% murumuru butter also present in the formula leaves the skin feeling soft, plump, and silky.
Paula’s Choice – 10% Azelaic Acid Booster – $36
Paula’s Choice 10% Azelaic Acid Booster is an excellent product for soothing active acne while also tackling mild hyperpigmentation and post-inflammatory redness left from old pimples.
It contains 10% azelaic acid and a very small percentage (0.5) of salicylic acid to promote gentle exfoliation.
But besides that, the formula also contains a few soothing and hydrating ingredients, including licorice extract, allantoin, and bisabolol.
The lightweight cream formula spreads on the skin easily and helps moisturize and soften the skin and prevent dehydration.
Paula’s Choice – Benzoyl Peroxide 2.5% Treatment – $18
Paula’s Choice Benzoyl Peroxide Treatment is an excellent product that can help fight mild, moderate, and even severe acne in combination with other actives or on its own.
The treatment comes in two strengths, including 2.5% for milder acne and more sensitive skin and 5% for more stubborn acne and more resilient skin.
It also contains hydrating agents such as propylene glycol as well as soothing agents including bisabolol and allantoin to prevent dryness and nourish the skin.
Paula’s Choice – Skin Perfecting BHA 9 Treatment – $43
The BHA 9 Treatment is an excellent spot treatment that contains 9% salicylic acid alongside other soothing and hydrating ingredients, including glycerin, arginine, sea whip, and oat extract.
It has a little bit of a greasy texture, but this is exactly what allows it to spread on the skin with ease, and very little goes a long way.
Therefore, when treating spots, you will only need the tiniest amount possible.
Try to apply the BHA 9 Treatment on individual spots or whenever you feel like a spot is forming under the skin. Also, avoid using it more than a few times a week and only use it in the evenings.
Shani Darden Skincare – Retinol Reform® – $88
Shani Darden is a celebrity esthetician and the woman behind the Shani Darden Skin Care line.
She created the Retinol Reform with a gentle formula and paired it with lactic acid to gently exfoliate dead skin cells and rapidly encourage new skin cells to the surface, resulting in a beautifully soft and smooth complexion.
The Retinol Reform also contains a few other emollients to help soften the skin as well as silicones to help prevent transepidermal water loss and dryness.
RELATED: Best Serums for Textured Skin.
My name is Simone and I am a certified skin specialist. I created this website to teach my readers how to take great care of their skin and I also like to occasionally share my honest opinions on skincare products I’ve tried. You can learn more about me here.
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