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10 Best Face Serums for Acne Prone Skin

If you deal with acne, the last thing you want to do is add a serum to your routine thatworsensbreakouts – so we’ve created a comprehensive guide to the best serums for blemish-prone skin. Whether you’re looking to directly treat breakouts, improve hydration, brighten dark spots, or something in between, you’ll find the perfect serum (or serums!) for your needs. 

What Causes Acne?

In short, acne forms when pores become clogged with excess sebum, dead skin cells, and other debris. In more severe cases, bacteria in the pores can cause inflammation, leading to more aggressive forms of acne. There are a variety of underlying causes, but hormonal shifts, diet, some medications, and genetics can all play key roles.  

How To Choose the Best Serum For Acne-Prone Skin

There are a few key things you should keep in mind when picking out a serum. First, you should know what specific issues you’re looking to target, as well as what ingredients help with that concern. Here are a few of the top ingredients that can be particularly beneficial for acne-prone skin:

  • Vitamin C: This vitamin brightens the complexion, and is great for those looking to fade the appearance of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (the dark marks left behind after a blemish heals). 
  • Retinol: Retinol increases cell turnover, which makes it an ideal treatment for acne. It’s also a highly effective anti-aging ingredient. 
  • Salicylic Acid: Chemical exfoliants are great for acne-prone skin, and this beta hydroxy acid is one of the best. It works deep in the pores to clear away dead skin cells, excess oil, and debris, helping to treat and prevent breakouts. 
  • CoQ10: This multitasking antioxidant protects the skin against harmful free radicals and repairs damage in the skin. It also evens skin tone. 
  • Hyaluronic Acid/Sodium Hyaluronate: This lightweight hydrator attracts moisture to the skin and locks it in. 
  • Niacinamide: Niacinamide (AKA vitamin B3) is a multitasker that controls sebum production, refines the pores, supports the skin’s barrier, and improves the appearance of uneven skin tone. 

  • Acne treatments can lead to irritation and dryness, and breakouts themselves can cause the skin to feel aggravated, red, and uncomfortable. With that in mind, it’s also smart to seek out serums with calming and hydrating ingredients to counteract these effects. In addition to hyaluronic acid, some ingredients that are ideal for acne-prone skin include aloe, honey, squalane, green tea extract, and licorice extract.

    We also recommend looking for formulas that are specifically made to be safe for breakout-prone skin. Look for the term “non-comedogenic” – it means the formula doesn’t contain ingredients known to clog pores. 

    Small Batch Serums

    Now, let’s talk about the 10 best face serums for acne-prone skin. 

    1.Small Batch Serums Vitamin C Boost Serum

    This antioxidant-packed serum is ideal for those looking to fade dark marks, as it is expertly formulated with a potent concentration of vitamin C. It also contains sodium hyaluronate, licorice extract, and other ingredients that lightly hydrate and calm. 

    2. Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant

    Formulated with an effective yet gentle 2% concentration of salicylic acid, this liquid exfoliant works to unclog the pores for clear, healthy skin. Green tea also helps calm irritation and redness from current breakouts. 

    3.Small Batch Serums Hyaluronic Pure Boost Serum

    This lightweight serum gives acne-prone skin the extra hydration it needs without clogging the pores. The gentle, fragrance-free formula plumps with moisture for youthful, soft, and comfortable skin. 

    4. The Ordinary Retinol 1% in Squalane

    If you want to add retinol to your routine, this serum from The Ordinary is perfectly formulated for blemish-prone skin. A 1% concentration of retinol targets acne and signs of aging, while non-comedogenic squalane hydrates the skin. 

    5. Biossance Squalane + Phyto-Retinol Serum

    This is another powerful acne fighting and anti-aging serum worth checking out. The lightweight, hydrating formula is powered by bakuchiol, which is considered to be a natural alternative to retinol.

    6. Glossier Super Pure Niacinamide + Zinc Serum

    This super light serum has a water-gel formula that absorbs quickly into the skin. A highly effective duo of niacinamide and zinc work to nourish the skin, purify pores, and improve uneven skin tone. 

    7.Small Batch Serums CoQ10 Boost Serum

    This multitasking formula combines CoQ10 with hydrating and soothing ingredients that can comfort acne-prone skin. The antioxidant-rich formula defends against free radicals while repairing damage, softening lines and wrinkles, firming the complexion, and boosting collagen production. 

    8. Eminence Clear Skin Willow Bark Booster

    Eminence’s nature-powered serum is crafted with willow bark and tea tree oil. Together, these ingredients decongest the skin and prevent future breakouts while soothing the complexion. 

    9. SkinCeuticals Blemish+Age Defense Acne Treatment

    This SkinCeuticals solution tackles both acne and signs of aging. Salicylic acid and other chemical exfoliants work to decongest pores and exfoliate the surface of the skin for a smooth, clear, and youthful complexion.

    10. Dermalogica Age Bright Clearing Serum

    This serum is crafted with salicylic acid, niacinamide, and potent plant extracts that are ideal for supporting blemish-prone skin. These ingredients decongest while hydrating, smoothing, brightening, and fading dark spots.