Product Picks for the Acne-Prone

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Acne-Prone Featured Image

Ah, acne. Bane of my existence and probably yours too when you decided to read this post. Whether the reasons for acne are fluctuating hormone levels, your diet, stress, or that new product you decided to try out, cleansing and moisturizing your face can be hard to do when you have acne. From the outside at least, your skin might look like a battlefield with mini-volcanoes on your face that threaten eruption all the time!

I find the best way to defuse those acne-volcanoes is through a very gentle, balancing skincare routine. The key is balance. You do not want anything that’s strips your face’s natural oils too much nor do you want something that is overly moisturizing. For instance, I have dry-combination skin on top of acne-prone skin and while I want to moisturize the heck out of my dry patches, I don’t go for products that are overly moisturizing because my combination areas will rebel in the form of acne. Thanks, skin!

(super-cool action movie music.)

Have no fear though! This post is equal parts product recommendation and hopefully helpful tips for you to have a great skincare routine AND also enjoy it without aggravating your acne. If you are curious about any of these products, I encourage you to sample them first and do a patch-test on your skin, before jumping for the full-size! Testing a product out is key – what works for my skin, might not work for yours.

Okay? Go ahead and make the jump!


Pick: One Love Organics Vitamin B Cleansing Oil ($38).

One Love Organics Vitamin B Cleansing Oil

There’s so much to love about One Love Organics products. They’re extremely accessible, packaged beautifully, and made with simple and smart ingredients. I’ve been slowly and silently falling in love with the Elizabeth Dehn for One Love Organics line. I was initially drawn to the promise that the line promoted “active moisture” for dry skin and ended up loving my purchased products because it balanced my acne-prone skin so well.

The Vitamin B Enzyme Cleansing Oil is a great gateway product to the rest of the ED4OLO line. At first, it might not seem like much – it comes out a thick, clear, and lightly fragranced with pineapples, but it wows you when you warm it up on your face and turn it into a milky emulsion with some water. One of my very favorite things to do after a long day is to apply the Cleansing Oil and place a warm towel over my face. Makeup, outside environmental grime, and stress melts away while I breathe in the sweet pineapple fragrance. Sometimes, I can see the stubborn blackheads on my nose disappear too! In the end, I feel clean and comfortable but not squeaky clean like I’ve been stripped away of all my natural oils.

I love it when a product is both versatile and able to produce noticeable results. Through near-daily use of the Vitamin B Cleansing Oil, I’ve been seen a lot less cystic acne and more happy skin. The Cleansing Oil is the best and most gentle daily cleanser I have ever used and it makes me look forward to cleansing my face. Thanks for making such a great product, One Love Organics!



Pick: One Love Organics Brand New Day Microderma Scrub & Masque ($39. Pictured below is the discover size which retails for $12).

One Love Organics Brand New Day

One Love Organics Brand New Day

Raw Honey and Brand New Day Mask

Another great thing about Brand New Day: turning it into a mask! Mix it with a teaspoon of raw honey of your choosing and leave on for at least 15 minutes so the honey and pineapple enzymes can work their magic. Soft and glowing skin guaranteed!

Ingredients: Organic Zea Mays (Corn) Starch, Organic Pisum Sativum (Sweet Pea) Flour, Sodium Cocoyl Glycinate, Organic Ananas Comosus (pineapple) fruit extract, Sodium Myristoyl Glutamate, proprietary natural and organic fragrance compounds

Exfoliating might be the hardest step to figure out when you have acne. You want to exfoliate before make-up application or just to get rid of dry patches but not so much that you’ll make your acne bumps bleed or scar. The first thing – using scrubs that have hard crystalline ingredients (sugar, salt) on your face is not a good idea. Even more so, exfoliating too hard with sugar and salt crystals causes minor abrasions on delicate facial skin. So I would say, save the salt and sugar scrubs for the rest of your body, and instead use One Love Organics Brand New Day for your face. I came across Nicolle Mackinnon’s review of Brand New Day on No More Dirty Looks where she loved its gentle exfoliating action for her sensitive skin and I thought, hey, this might work for my acne-prone skin too!

I’m really glad I made the jump. Brand New Day has been my good skin buddy for the past month and I’m distressed that my cute travel size one is almost finished. When you first sprinkle Brand New Day in your hand, you have to marvel at how soft the sweet pea flour grains feels in your hands and then you smell that amazing pineapple fruit extract fragrance right after. Only a few drops of water is needed to turn Brand New Day into a creamy, foamy, exfoliant in the palm in your hands and better yet, a teaspoon of raw honey to make it into the best facial mask ever.  The exfoliating granules in Brand New Day are incredibly fine – I used it on a recent flare-up of cystic/hormonal acne and didn’t experience any irritation or bleeding at all.

If you want so badly to exfoliate even though you have a face full of acne, go gentle and try Brand New Day.



Pick: Osmia Organics Spot Treatment ($20).

Osmia Organics Spot Treatment

Ingredients: organic evening primrose oil and essential oils of lavender*, cajeput*, lemon*, parsley, thyme, cypress*, and rosemary CO2* (*organic).

This is it. Osmia Organics Spot Treatment is the one. It’s cute, conveniently packaged in a rollerball, has an ingredient list that reads like an aromatic herbal and spice bouquet – and most importantly, it works without giving you that harsh, tingly feeling. I’ve tried it on all the different kinds of acne I get: cystic acne that have bursted (gross, I know), stress-related acne, and hormonal acne. I find that the Spot Treatment works best on cystic acne and stress-related acne for me. Consistently dabbing at them with the Spot Treatment really speeds up the healing process and I worry less about acne scarring. I already have too much of that, thanks.

It’s the stuff my pimply 16 year-old self could only dream about. I have been burned in the past with every acne treatment you can think of – salicylic acid/benzoyl peroxide creams prescribed by my doctor, witch hazel or tea tree treatments, and even dabbing toothpaste on pimples which my college roommate swore by. I’m not lucky enough to escape the clutches of acne as an adult but I’m so glad I have Osmia’s Spot Treatment to help.

I think it’s important to note that the Spot Treatment smells incredible – it’s very strong and hits your nose instantly but my mouth waters at the combined fragrance of parseley, thyme, and rosemary essential oils in it. The Spot Treamtent is like an acne-busting bouquet garni for my face and I don’t think I can live without it anymore.

And finally, an anecdote to end all anecdotes: I convinced my toothpaste-slathering roommate to give Osmia’s Spot Treatment a try and she loves it enough to buy her second bottle. So there’s that!



Pick: Meow Meow Tweet Face Oil ($25).

MMT Face Oil

Meow Meow Tweet Face Oil

Ingredients: *hempseed oil, *jojoba oil, *sesame oil, essential oils of *carrot seed, *juniper, *patchouli & *vetiver (*organic ingredient)

Meow Meow Tweet Face Oil is hands-down the best facial oil for acne-prone skin I have ever tried. I should know because I’m currently on my third bottle and close to finishing it!

As you can see in the picture above, the evergreen color of the face oil is just as pleasing as Meow Meow Tweet’s design aesthetics. At the very beginning of trying out this face oil, I was taken aback by the fragrance of it – it’s powerful, earthy, and grassy from the juniper, patchouli, and vetiver essential oils. It’s something I’ve grown to love and I look forward to the scent because it’s just so energizing. If you’re a big fan of earthy scents over floral ones, this is the face oil for you! Despite the strong scent, the face oil sinks into skin very fast and doesn’t clog up pores. The hempseed oil, jojoba oil, and sesame oil base is so lightweight and the face oil disappears into skin almost instantly. Even the dry parts of my face is happily moisturized. And even better, hempseed oil has natural sun protection properties – it has a SPF of 6! It might not be enough SPF for a long day in the sun but it can’t hurt to have some kind of protection.

Meow Meow Tweet’s Face Oil is simple and uncomplicated in a good way. Sometimes, I switch it up and go for a facial serum that has a more complicated ingredient list but my skin keeps telling me to go back to this one. And when I listen to my skin, I get less acne.


BONUS product recommendations:

If you have particularly confused skin that desperately needs balance, I would suggest these two products:

1. I’ve been getting my external vitamin fix through One Love Organics Vitamin C Facial Serum ($68). I can’t say if I’ve been getting less acne solely because of this Vitamin C serum but my skin is incredibly happy and balanced! I like layering this facial serum (it really has more of a thick gel-like texture than an oil-one) after cleansing and letting it sink in before I apply extra drops of another facial serum on top. I like that the Vitamin C serum locks in moisture so that my skin stays hydrated longer than just applying facial serums without anything else.

2. I think from my experience of my sample of Osmia Organics Active Gel Toner ($58), it serves a very similar function to the One Love Organics Vitamin C Facial Serum. It’s also has a gel texture and the hyaluronic acid in it keeps my dry skin moist and plump for a long time. The Active Gel Toner worked really well under makeup and kept me looking dewy and fresh-faced. I’ve already dug out every last bit of the Active Gel Toner from my little sample container and I think I need the full size soon!

Q. Please feel free to chime in the comment section and tell me your favorite skincare products for your acne-prone skin. What works for you and what doesn’t? Have you tried any of the products I recommend? Let me know!




The Author

Brooklyn-based natural and organic beauty writer.


  1. I absolutely can’t live without the cleansing oil and brand new day too! Like you, BND is perfect for when those zit mountains pop up and you feel so demoralized but it’s so gentle it won’t aggravate and make things worse. I read mixed reviews of Osmia gel toner though I love hyaluronic acid in anything!


    • I’m so glad you love the Cleansing oil and Brand New Day too! I think the Osmia Active Gel Toner is a great product and I like it enough to repurchase someday but not immediately right now. It’s great as that middle-layer product because it’s able to tone your skin and lock in moisture for longer. The toner is something you should buy if your skin really needs balance or have extra cash in hand!


  2. Brilliant post – I really enjoyed reading your assessment of each product. I haven’t tried anything by OLO but the cleanser sounds delicious. Osmia is on my to-buy list with the spot treatment right at the top. I don’t think I’ve read a bad review of it yet (and I hope I dont!) x


    • Thank you so much for reading and enjoying! If you could get one thing from this list to help with acne, the Osmia Spot Treatment is definitely the one. I hope you get to try it one day!


  3. michellegoesnorth says

    Love this post! I have not tried any of these products, but am still thinking of trying the Meow Meow Tweet Tweet facial oil. I am also prone to cystic acne if I am using the “wrong” products for my skin. My cysts were gone for a couple years while I was using a night exfoliant with glycolic acid. But since the winter time when I started trying a “clean” routine, I stopped ordering it. I only get occasional cysts now. I have found it helps to keep my hair products simple, too. I got a pretty bad cyst + whitehead combo on my neck after using a heavy hair gel. 😦
    “cystic acne that have bursted (gross, I know)” – I just put a spoonful of yogurt in my mouth when reading that!! Lol!!


    • Oh yes! What you use on your hair is really important too. I remember in my “dirty days” I used to have a lot of body acne and when I switched to a natural shampoo they were gone! Have you tried Yarok hair styling products? I use those the most. I hope you find something your skin likes, Michelle!


  4. Perfect product picks–all of these work wonders for my acneic skin as well, though I have yet to properly try the MMT face oil (it smells awesome though!). I would add Indie Lee’s Blemish Lotion for when you don’t mind looking like you have chicken pox going to bed and want a little faster results than the Osmia Spot Treatment (though its gentle healing effects are near and dear to my heart). Maybe also YÜLI’s Pure Mask + manuka honey as a healing mask treatment–it pulls out impurities but is also very healing and non-drying, unlike typical clay masks. To happier, less blemishy skin! (P.s. Also have totally done the whole salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide deal–even once slathered BP all over my face and ended up breaking out more–bad decisions)


    • Thank you for your product recommendations, Jade! I definitely want to try YULI’s Pure Mask one day, since you said it’s so gentle but clarifying. I always see you masking with it too! Oh boy, I still have traumatic flashbacks to those BP creams. I broke out like crazy too!


  5. Kammey says

    Thank you for writing this post! I stumbled upon it in my desperate search for something (anything) that would clear my angry, super-sensitive skin!

    I decided to order a few samples from Osmia Organics including the spot treatment you mention here. I was skeptical because of the size/price but it worked so well on my painful, cystic acne! It smells really good, too! I love that they don’t add alcohol to dilute it! Many spot treatments use alcohol which tends to serve as more of a filler than anything else. The price isn’t as scary when you know that it works, and you REALLY only use a tiny bit. I actually just ordered two full sized spot treatments! I’ve loved every product I’ve tried from them and the option to order samples is really nice!

    I was wondering if you had a moisturizer to recommend in addition to a serum? I use Acure Organics’ argan oil and Rosewater from Heritage Products but I feel like my skin needs something with a lighter lotion texture to it? I love the one I tried from Osmia Organics but it’s a bit pricier than I would like.

    I don’t write many comments on blog posts but I HAD to say thank you! 🙂


    • Kammey,

      This might be the best comment I have ever received. I want to print it out and frame it because I love it so much! Thank you so much for letting me know my post was a help to your skin. The Osmia Organics Spot Treatment is definitely worth the price and it’s almost mind boggling that the treatment is just made out of herbal extracts! And yes, I love that it doesn’t have alcohol, not only is it a cheap filler, alcohol gives anti-acne products that harsh, tingly feeling!

      As for recommending a light-weight moisturizer on top of a serum, I have a couple! I like layering a little bit of Osmia’s Active Gel Toner or One Love Organic’s Vitamin C Serum to achieve that combination. But of course, both products are actually very pricy and might not fit your budget. I really like John Masters Organics Rose and Apricot Antioxidant Day Creme which you can easily get in Whole Foods. I’ve also heard great things about Weleda’s facial lotions/creams (the Wild Rose one or the Almond Soothing one) and S.W. Basics of Brooklyn’s Cream (which only has a few simple ingredients like shea butter and coconut oil). Since you already know Acure Organics, have you tried their Day Cream?

      I hope my recommendations are helpful but if you have any questions at all, please feel free to come back and let me know! Thank you again for reading and commenting!


  6. jessl83 says

    I also suffer from hormonal acne and cystic acne all on the chin and on the jawline under the chin. Although the rest of my skin is dry. I had been using Suki’s creaming foaming cleanser and am almost done with the bottle, but am looking for something that won’t dry me out as much. I have been back and forth over Kahina’s facial cleanser and the Vitamin B cleansing oil. Which would you recommend for my situation?


    • jessl83 says

      I also forgot to add that I do use the Osmia spot treatment, and I think that works very well once I see a spot. It smells great too!


    • Hi Jess! Thank you so much for reading. I have a hunch that your chronic dryness could be solved by adding a balancing “middle-layer” product to your everyday regimen. The best ones I have tried so far are Osmia Organics Active Gel Toner and One Love Organics Vitamin C Serum. If those are a little too pricy for you, any aloe vera-based spray or toner should do the trick. Let those gel-based toners/serums sink in before adding a few extra drops of an oil serum to lock in moisture.

      I tend to stay away from foam cleansers because they always suck too much of my face’s natural oils out. I haven’t tried the Kahina facial cleanser before but the Vitamin B Cleansing Oil has been amazing for my acne-prone skin. Looking at the ingredient lists for both products, the Vitamin B Cleanser is a little “heavier” because of the coconut-derived oils than the Kahina cleanser which has aloe and argan oil in it. Both cleansers have papaya extracts to gently brighten and soften skin! Ultimately, it’s up to you, but Vitamin B Cleansing Oil is a winner for me. I hope my answer is helpful to you but feel free to come back with more questions if you have them!


      • jessl83 says

        Thanks so much for your reply!! It helps to get another opinion since these products can be pricey. I did try out a sample of Kahina and liked it. I should try a sample of the OLO one to compare.


      • You’re welcome! I absolutely feel you on the priciness by the way. Have you tried Acure Organics toners (easily found in Whole Foods) before? They’re incredibly affordable and great if you feel you don’t need to spend that much on the middle-layer part of your routine.

        Let me know how you like the OLO Cleansing Oil when you get the chance to sample it!


      • jessl83 says

        Finally decided to get the ED4OLO Vitamin B Cleansing Oil and the Brand New Day scrub and I really like them both. I haven’t been using them for too long but I can tell right away that these won’t cause any breakouts. Thanks for the advice!


  7. jessl83 says

    Thanks I was using the Nuxe Gentle Toner with Rose Petals, but am almost out so I will try one of the ones you recommend for a Toner! I did buy one from Caru Skincare,a Toner with Lavender and Chamomile but I don’t really like the smell of it. Will let you know about the OLO.


  8. Pingback: Potent and Pure: Odacité Serum Concentrates + The Detox Market Giveaway | Naturally Marcy

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