9 Things to Try When Acne Won’t Clear, According to Dermatologists

Tried just about every acne treatment to get rid of acne but to no avail? Don’t despair. To see clearer skin, you probably just need some changes with consistency.

The following tips from dermatologists can help you get started.


How much do you know about acne? Take the quiz to find out!


1. Remind me, what causes acne?

At the root of all acne is a clogged pore.

Acne occurs when the pores of your skin become blocked with oil, dead skin, or bacteria - such as:

  • Too much oil is produced by your follicles
  • Dead skin cells accumulate in your pores
  • Bacteria build up in your pores

The good news is over 95% of the people who have acne can treat using non-prescription products without paying big bucks to see a dermatologist or aesthetician.

Here are the best acne treatments for occasional to moderate acne:

  • Retinoids - The primary tools¹ which dermatologists use to treat breakouts.

    A derivative of vitamin A, they are well researched to promote skin renewal, reduce blemishes and boost your skin’s collagen production. Retinol is a gentle variant of retinoids ².
  • AZA - It’s a mystery why some great skincare ingredients fly under the radar.

    A great deal of research has shown that AZA can significantly diminish the appearance of skin blemishes, help fade post-acne marks and other discolorations, refine skin’s surface, and reveal a more even skin tone³.
  • Salicylic acid - This helps clear mild acne, inflammation and unclogs pores⁴. It comes OTC in lower doses, but you can also get it from a doctor.

    Avoid cleansers with this ingredient as they don't stay long enough on the skin.
  • Benzoyl peroxide - This fights P. acnes bacteria that causes pimples⁵.

    But it isn’t without its downsides. The leave-on creams and cleansing treatments can dry out sensitive skin and bleach clothing if you aren’t careful. Best to stick to formulations that have no more than 2% of it.

Consider the Clear Out. It uses pharma-grade* retinol and AZA to perpetually flush out clogs from your pores. The AZA is also very effective in flattening existing pimples.

*Pharma-grade ingredients are certified by US Pharmacopeia standards a level of purity and potency which cosmetic grade ingredients do not provide.

Clear Out

$49.90 USD

Be it red, inflamed pimples or stubborn blackheads, all acne starts with clogged pores. Clear Out goes in deep to continuously flush out these clogs before they turn into acne. This means skin stays clear for good.

 

See what others say about the Clear Out...

Mim (@acneisntugly), a teacher from Southampton, battled hormonal cystic acne for over 6 years before she tried the Clear Out

Individual results may vary

“Out of everything I’ve tried over the 6 years I’ve battle acne on and off it’s by far stood out as being one of the most effective with no side effects (after the initial “purge”). I’ve used nothing but Clearly Basics for 12 months now and it still exceeds my expectations!”


Bea (@beas.bareskin), a student from California, who has tried almost everything from prescription medication, chemical peels to a long list of brands (Clean & Clear, Clearasil, Proactiv, St. Ives, etc.) ...which didn't work, until the Clear Out.

Individual results may vary

"My skin looks so good now! I've had a few of my classmates tell me my skin texture looks so nice and even now. 😊
As an acne survivor, I'll never recommend a product if it's not effective. If any of you are wondering what products I use that have been giving me positive results, it's the Clearly Basics' full lineup."


2. Give any product or treatment you are trying at least 8 weeks to work

Using a new acne product every few days may seem useful, but that approach can worsen acne. Clearing clogs needs time to work. Using a different product every few days may irritate your skin, causing new breakouts.

Try 1 or 2 products, and give them time to work. Trying too many products can stress your skin, worsening acne.

If a treatment works for you, you should notice some improvement in 4 to 6 weeks. However, for some people, it can take 2 to 3 months or longer to see clearing.

If you notice improvement, don't stop. Even when you see clearing, you'll want to keep using the product or treatment. This helps to prevent new breakouts.


98% of users saw an improvement after a bottle of the Clear Out. It carries a 90-day money back guarantee so if you don’t see a noticeable results after a bottle, you will get a full refund T&Cs apply.


Note: If you have very severe acne, you'll need to visit a dermatologist. Acne products over the counter won't be able to treat very severe acne.

3. Only wash your face twice a day

Acne-prone skin is usually sensitive. Washing more than twice a day can irritate your skin, making acne worse.

For best results, dermatologists recommend washing your face when:

  • You wake up
  • You're ready to go to bed
  • It gets sweaty

Find a simple and gentle cleanser that will wash off the day’s grime, sweat, and pollution. If your skin is “squeaky clean” after washing your face, your cleanser may be too strong.

So Fresh Cleanser

$24.90 USD

Get the perfect cleanse every time! So Fresh gives you a minty tingle to let you know when you’ve washed off enough oil so you never over-strip your skin and weaken your lipid barrier. This helps skin remain healthy and happy always.

 

If your skin tends to be dry, look for a soap-free, cream-based cleanser. For oily skin, go for a foaming cleanser more effective at reducing the oil.

4. Choose skincare products and cosmetics that don’t cause acne

Yes, you do need to moisturize, even if you have acne. Skipping this critical step may leave you plagued with rough, flaky, and red patches, which only brings more attention to your breakouts.

However, it's crucial to use skincare/cosmetic products that don't cause acne. Here's what you need to look out for.

Read the label carefully. On the package, you may see one of the following:

  • Non-comedogenic (won't clog pores)
  • Non-acnegenic
  • Oil free

If you have oily skin, consider the Matte Hydrator. It breaks the vicious cycle (clogged pores -> more oil production -> more clogged pores) by properly hydrating your skin.

If you have dry, sensitive or combination skin, consider the Protective Moisturizer. It helps to repair the skin barrier that's damaged from drying acne products and medications.

Matte Hydrator

$28.90 USD

Did you know the solution to overly oily skin is to keep it happily hydrated? With 100% medical-grade, ultra-low-molecular-weight hyaluronic acid, Matte Hydrator absorbs fully into skin and draws moisture deep within where it matters most.

Protective Moisturizer

$39.90 USD

Light yet extremely nourishing, Protective Moisturizer strengthens the skin barrier and shields it from UV rays, pollution, and harsh weather. This means damage stays away, and your skin remains soft and healthy.

 

5. Follow instructions/directions

While using any Over The Counter (OTC) acne treatment can seem pretty straightforward, how much you use and how often you use it can make a huge difference.

Be sure to follow the instructions/directions!

6. Stop scrubbing your face!

If your skin feels greasy, dirty, or grimy, you may be tempted to scrub it clean. Don’t!

Scrubbing can irritate acne-prone skin, which worsens acne.

7. Resist touching, picking, and popping your acne

Popping a pimple may seem like the fastest way to clear it, but popping it can actually make things worse. We can't stress this enough.

Every time you touch, pick, or pop, you can worsen acne.

8. Wash your pillowcases, hats, and other things that touch your acne-prone skin

Dead skin cells, bacteria, and dirt will build up on these surfaces, which can clog your pores. Washing what touches your acne-prone skin can prevent this.

Changing your sheets every week and your pillowcase twice a week can make a difference.

9. Enlist a dermatologist's help

If you still have acne after trying these tips — or you have acne cysts or nodules (deep blemishes that leave scars when they clear) — you probably need to visit a dermatologist.

With today's acne treatments and a dermatologist's expertise, virtually every case of acne can be cleared. A dermatologist can tailor a treatment plan to your unique needs.

References:
1. James Leyden et al, 2017 : Why Topical Retinoids Are Mainstay of Therapy for Acne
2. Marissa Laliberte : Retinol-vs.-Retinoids
3. Paula Begoun : Everything You Need to Know About AZA for Skin
4. Kristeen Cherney, 2019 : Salicylic Acid vs. Benzoyl Peroxide: Which Is Better for Acne?
5. Jessica Cruel, 2019 : 12 Acne Treatments That Really Work, According to Dermatologists


Check Availability

#RealResults

See what others have to say about Clearly Basics.

Based on 2546 reviews
71%
(1812)
24%
(601)
5%
(128)
0%
(5)
0%
(0)
Skin Type: Combination

I am getting breakouts since last three years and i tried many things on my skin but got nothing, then i saw clearly basics on instagram but i was bit confused about the results, then i saw the reviews and results of it and i made my mind. I am using it from last three months and I am seeing improvement in my skin and i am patient about it that soon i will get a acne free skin.

Skin Type: Combination
Comments: Amarpreet’s journey with clearly basics

I am using clearly basic since 3 months and i am seeing lots of improvement in my skin day by day. Sometime its hard to believe in products but about clearly basic i am sure that i can get a clear skin soon, because before my skin was worst but now its improving, no doubt still i am getting breakout but i can trust on clearly basic products, even i was worried about results in the beginning but when i saw the results and reviews about it, i decided to give it a try instead of medication which i tried a lot without any results.I just want to say thanks to clearly basics to make that amazing products.

Skin Type: Combination
All I can say is wow

Got all the acne products on a whim and they did not disappoint! I have noticed such a difference in the texture of my skin. I have tried so many acne products and felt like nothing was working. The clearly basics range has lasted me soooooo long and I saw results in just 3 weeks! Really happy with my experience, I would highly recommend those with acne to try this brand. Love it!

K
Calm Down*
Kimberly C.

The entire Clearly Basics product line is the only one that has cleared my skin. I tried any product you can think of including doctor prescribed medication and ointment and nothing worked. After having acne for over 15 years I am so happy to have clear, radiant skin!

I have maybe seen some improvement but nothing amazing yet. Have used the product as instructed, religiously. Will try another bottle and stick to it for a few more months.

I love all of clearly basics! They made my confidence rise because I finally feel comfortable without makeup.
This cleanser is amazing 👏
My skin doesn't feel tight afterwards and now I don't get that mid day shine near as bad.

I love everything from clearly basics! It totally changed my life by clearing my acne. Now they have a new sunscreen and it's great.
It doesn't have a smell or leave your face white or greasy. Best of all it doesn't cause breakouts!

The products are just amazing!! My results in 4 months of using clear out extra strength!!

S
Clear Out*
Sophie C.

Love this product 👏🏽

Works really well! Enjoy using this face wash, never stings or dries out my acne prone skin !

E
Clear Out*
Emma S.

Worked really well in quite a short amount of time! I now see long lasting results, my skin is healthy and my acne is finally under control! The first product I have tried which works and is actually affordable!

I struggled with lots of painful cystic acne so tried the clear out product. Found by the end of the first bottle a lot of the smaller spots were not coming back and the more painful larger ones were coming back less inflamed. I was happy with the results from the first bottle so I ordered another, this is halfway through the second bottle and can see most of the acne on my cheeks has gone! I still get cystic acne in the T area but it is much less painful than before. Definitely recommend, but takes time to see real results.

Clearly Basics has been an absolute life saver! Not an over night miracle, be patient and stick with it, amazing products

I saw a huge reduction in new pimples and any new pimples scars healed and disappeared a lot quicker

S
Acne Care Kit*
Sinead C.

I started using clearly basics at the beginning of the year. I have struggled with acne most of my adult life and when I saw a video from a customer on instagram, everything she described is exactly what I had done…had hormonal acne on chin and jaw line in particular. I had been to the doctor, was referred to a dermatologist and had been on medication, tried all sorts of creams and gels with no success.

I cannot believe this actually worked. I would say I saw results within the first month and probably took around 4 months so really clear up. I have continued with using it and now only get the odd spot at that time of the month but use the calm down on it. It has given me my confidence back and now I’m working on reducing the scaring. I use clear out each evening, the TLC in the morning, lighten up twice a day (but that is a small bottle so doesn’t last long) and then have tried both the so fresh and balancing cleansers. For me it really worked so would highly recommend.

Tightens pores and brightens and smoothes skin. This was my first bottle but I will continue to purchase. I use day and night.

I already use CB balancing cleanser and clear out extra strength, two years ago my skin was spotty, blackheads, raw and very visible. I wondered if the TLC would make a difference in my routine but it has, a glow and radiance I didn’t expect. This is no filter I’ve just woke up. I turned 50 this year the clearly basics range is also an amazing anti ageing tool!

I suffered with acne for years, and when I finally learned to stop the acne I was left with red and brown scars and hyperpigmentation. But I started using the clearly basics Lighten up cream and Dark mark defends, followed by the moisturiser, and I saw a dramatic difference within days! My scars have lightened so much and most of them are gone. I find this moisturiser is also very hydrating but not greasy, it is absorbed into my skin effortlessly, and it wears beautifully under my makeup. I've now been using the products for 6 months and will continue to use it!

L
Clear Out*
Leah N.

It's such a relief to finally have found something that works. I've had acne since I was around 11 and like most people, I tried so many different products and 'hacks' to try and get rid of the spots but nothing really helped.
I was hesitant to try clear out because of the price but I was reassured by the money back guarantee.
To be honest, the purging process they warn about was pretty severe for me. Mine lasted for the entire first bottle and I was so ready to give up. I contacted customer service and they offered me a refund or 50% off my next bottle, reassuring me it would be worth sticking with it. I agreed to persevere and I'm so glad I did! About half way through the next bottle I really noticed improvements and by the end, my skin was the clearest it had ever been. I've completely stopped having breakouts and only occasionally get a spot or two during my cycle. Overall my skin is smoother and I have much less redness and a more even skin tone. I keep using clear out nightly to maintain my nice new skin and I'll happily keep buying it knowing how well it works for me!

M
Clear Out*
Mandy R.

After a few weeks the results were already visible (right photo). Now the red spots are also less visible!!

K
Acne Care Kit*
Keiwing W.

My son has serious acene problem and the acene comes back when he stopped taking the anti- biotics. After trying the products, the acene starts to dry up. The result is amazing after one month. Now, trying to apply the product to lighten up the marks.

C
Calm Down*
Cara W.

This works amazing. As soon as you see a bump, put a small amount on. I’ve used many acne spot treatments and this is by far the best !!

V
Clear Out
Veronica Ilenya Ranieri

"My skin has changed in better after using these products, they are practical and are not aggressive towards the skin.
I was ashamed of going out in public because everyone was pointing out my acne and scars, but since I started using clearly basic, I found a new me. Thank you changing my life!!"

I am 32 years old and still suffering from acne. I tried many things, but acne will dissappear and come back. Now I am using this product and my skin is getting better. Still I get some acne, but hopefully it clear all. But I am not sure how long I should use this product ?

A
Clear Out
Amy Y

I love my transformation! I suffered severe acne breakouts for a couple of months and didnt know what to do – I decided to try this So Fresh cleaner alongside the Clear Out and Lighten Up products and saw a massive difference! It took a few months but it cleared up. I have since purchased the So Fresh cleanser again, and will continue to use.

Individual results may vary

American Express Discover Mastercard Visa PayPal Shop Pay