Best Acne Skincare Routine: Day & Night

Acne affects almost everyone in their lives, whether it's stubborn outbreaks, pimples, or oily skin. Acne is treatable with the appropriate products, lifestyle adjustments, and a good acne skincare routine.
DISCLAIMER: If you have any questions or concerns about your health, please talk to your doctor. Our content is based on research that has been reviewed by experts in the field and on information from medical societies and government agencies. But they are not a replacement for advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a health care professional.
image of best skincare products for acne management
It’s critical to apply skincare products in the right order. The  order influence efficiency of your acne fighting products.

Why does the order of your skincare routine matter?

When you apply your skincare products in the correct order, your skin will reap the full advantages of each one. In this article, you will learn how to get rid of acne by adopting correct acne skincare routine.

The sequence in which you apply your products is crucial. You will not get the optimum effects from your skincare regimen if you do not apply items in the correct order.

How to layer your skincare products?

layering your skincare products

So, you’re wondering which product goes on top of which. Apply your products from thinnest to thickest consistency or liquid to cream as a simple rule of thumb. Think thin-to-thick in general, but start with the products with the most vital elements to penetrate the skin (such antioxidants in serums) and end with the products that need to sit on top of the skin.

Daytime acne skincare routine

daytime routine for acne-prone skin
Your morning skincare routine prepares your skin for the day and removes any impurities from the night before.

A good daily acne skincare routine is essential for everyone, but it’s crucial for acne sufferers.

Step #1: Cleanser

cleanser pads

A facial cleanser is a skincare product that helps keep pores clear and prevent skin disorders like acne by removing makeup, dead skin cells, oil, dirt, and other pollutants from the skin. Therefore it is an important first step in your acne skincare routine.

When choosing a cleanser for acne, gentle cleansers are preferred to harsh ones. The goal is to eliminate the dirt and grime of the day without depleting the skin of its natural oils and moisture. If you do, your skin will overcompensate by creating more sebum, which will result in more acne.

Avoid cleansers with excessive alcohol in the ingredients list because they can dry and impair the skin’s barrier function (the skin’s first line of defense against environmental aggressors). Also, stay away from ones that contain mineral oils, which can clog your pores.

It’s just as vital to know how to use a facial cleanser as it is to choose one. The amount of cleaner you use depends on the cleanser you’re using, so read the directions carefully before using it.

Here are two of the best acne-prone skin cleansers to try, whether your skin is dry, sensitive, or oily.

#1 Choice: CeraVe Acne Foaming Cream Cleanser

#1 choice: cerave acne foaming cream cleanser

While most cleansers mainly contain moisturizing ingredients, this one is unique in that it has an active ingredient in the formulation, making it stand out.

It’s ideal addition to your acne skincare routine because it contains 4% benzoyl peroxide, which addresses various acne causes.

Key Ingredients

  • Benzoyl peroxide (4% concentration) helps to remove acne and blackheads, reduce excess oil, and prevent future breakouts.
  • Ceramides aid in the restoration and maintenance of the skin’s natural barrier.
  • Hyaluronic acid draws moisture to the skin’s surface and aids in moisture retention.
  • Niacinamide is a calming agent for the skin.

#2 Choice: Verso Acne Deep Cleanse

verso acne deep cleanse

Verso Deep Cleanse contains Salicylic Acid BHA and is a mild, lathering, and exfoliating cleanser. It balances out unbalanced skin and prepares it for the next steps in your acne skincare routine.

The result is skin that is cleansed, clarified, and softened.

Key Ingredients

  • Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid that exfoliates within the pore, decreasing congestion and blemishes.
  • Niacinamide reduces the appearance of enlarged pores, enhances skin texture, softens fine wrinkles, and strengthens fragile skin.
  • Turmeric is a powerful antioxidant that hydrates and protects the skin from free radical damage.
  • Purslane is an antioxidant that has calming, moisturizing, and protecting properties.
  • Zinc PCA: reduces excess sebum secretion and helps treat acne.

Step #2: Toner

bottle of toner used for acne prone skin

The second step in your acne skincare routine is to use toner. The purpose of a toner is to rejuvenate your skin gently without depriving it of its natural moisture. This means that the toner won’t irritate sensitive skin or cause it to become too dry. Toner also helps your skin absorb your post-cleansing moisturizer and any other skin treatments you might use.

When looking for a toner for acne-prone skin, seek one that is formulated with ingredients that target the characteristics of oily skin, such as glossy skin, enlarged pores, and pimple appearance. Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs), for example, can penetrate deep into pores and provide excellent exfoliation while also assisting in the clearing of congested pores.

Toner can be applied in two ways: with a cotton pad or with your hands. If you choose the first option, soak a cotton pad in toner and swipe it across your face. Begin in the center and work your way outward, avoiding sensitive areas such as the eyes. Apply a few drops to your palms and gently tap them over your face if you’re using your hands.

Here are two of the best acne-prone skin cleansers to try.

#1 Choice: La Roche-Posay Effaclar Clarifying Solution Acne Toner

la roche-posay effaclar clarifying solution acne toner

This salicylic acid and glycolic acid exfoliating acne toner help to eliminate pore-clogging debris and smooth skin texture. It eliminates waste and dead skin cells from the skin, leaving it feeling clean and even.

Key Ingredients

  • Blackheads, whiteheads, and acne lesions can be cleared with 0.5 percent salicylic acid.
  • Glycolic acid helps clear pores and soften skin texture by providing moderate exfoliation.
  • La Roche-Posay Thermal Spring Water is naturally mineral-rich, with relaxing and antioxidant characteristics that have been scientifically proven.

#2 Choice: Neutrogena Rapid Clear 2-in-1 Fight & Fade Toner

neutrogena rapid clear 2-in-1 fight & fade toner

Neutrogena Rapid Clear 2-in-1 Fight & Fade Toner is the first acne toner that helps fade the appearance of post-acne marks for smoother, more even-toned skin in only hours.

This toner combines salicylic acid, glycolic acid, and MICRO CLEAR technology to help remove the appearance of post-acne marks and decrease outbreaks.

Key Ingredients

  • With MICRO CLEAR Technology and maximum strength salicylic acid acne treatment.
  • It’s made with glycolic acid to help speed up the exfoliation of surface skin cells.

Step #3: Serum

using serum in skincare sequence

Serums are oil or water-based solutions that you apply during acne skincare routine to your skin. They usually come in small bottles with a dropper, and only a few drops are needed to cover your entire face. Unlike a lotion or cream, a skin serum is not a moisturizer.

To clear pores and speed up cell turnover, search for acne serums that contain glycolic acid or salicylic acid. Antioxidants like niacinamide can also help with acne scar redness, and hyperpigmentation.

You can apply a facial serum after cleansing and toning the skin, but before moisturizing. Facial serums for acne usually include concentrated active ingredients known to treat condition.

Serums are supposed to be applied to your face in little tapping motions with your fingertips or palms, instead of other skincare products like moisturizers that are massaged into your skin in an upward manner. Allow the serum to absorb into your skin naturally rather than rubbing it in.

Here are two of the best serums to try for acne-prone skin.

#1 Choice: Ordinary Serum For Acne

ordinary serum for acne

If you have acne-prone skin and regularly experience breakouts and blemishes, and you’re for a serum, then Ordinary niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% is the best product.

For most of their products, The Ordinary recommends doing a patch test. This will help you determine if you’ll have an adverse reaction to a new product before adding it to your acne skincare routine.

Niacinamide is an anti-inflammatory shown to minimize blemish swelling and redness. Zinc helps battle hyperpigmentation and oiliness.

#2 Choice: Cocokind Probiotic Acne Serum

cocokind probiotic acne serum

You’re in luck if you’ve been seeking for a serum to treat acne or one that provides considerable moisturization. This acne-fighting solution is great to add to acne skincare routine because it also promotes a healthy skin microbiome.

The serum contains 2% salicylic acid, a tried-and-true ingredient known to remove crud from deep within your pores, avoiding outbreaks. Lactobacillus ferment, a probiotic component derived from lactobacillus bacteria fermentation, may aid in the promotion of healthy skin microbiota.

Step #4: Spot treatment

spot treatment skincare

Acne-fighting ingredients are delivered directly to the blemish using spot treatments. Redness, swelling, and soreness can all be helped with spot treatments. They can also aid in the loosening or dissolution of the pore obstruction that causes the blemish to appear in the first place.

They are dabbed only on existing blemishes rather than being used all over the face, as with other forms of acne products. Some spot treatments, as part of acne skincare routine, need to be left on overnight, while others dry clear and can be worn during the day. You can also get tinted spot treatments to help hide breakouts while you’re using it.

Here are two of the best spot treatments to try for acne-prone skin.

#1 Choice: Clean And Clear Acne Spot Treatment

clean and clear acne spot treatment

The salicylic acid in Clean & Clear Advantage Acne Spot Treatment helps diminish the visual signs of acne quickly. The topical oil-free acne medicine dissolves oil quickly and reduces the size, redness, and swelling of pimples. It has been clinically proven to demonstrate smoother skin in 100 percent of testers in just one day. So add it to your acne skincare routine.

The composition is a transparent gel that dries quickly and has no odor.

Key Ingredients

  • 2 percent salicylic acid (fights acne)
  • Microgel Complex (dissolves oil)
  • Sebum solubilizers (dissolves sebum)
  • Phospholipid (moisturizes)

#2 Choice: Neutrogena On The Spot Acne Treatment

on the spot acne treatment from neutrogena

Because this fast-acting acne spot treatment is so light, it penetrates swiftly into the skin. It also penetrates the pores, killing acne germs that cause pimples and preventing new ones from emerging.

Acne medications like Benzoyl Peroxide can irritate the skin. It can also worsen acne by causing redness and dryness. There is no over-drying, stinging, or burning with this formula’s 2.5 percent Benzoyl Peroxide.

Key Ingredients

  • Oil-free
  • Non-comedogenic (won’t clog pores).
  • 2.5% Benzoyl Peroxide

Step #5: Moisturizer

moisturizer skincare

Fifth step of your acne skincare routine should be a moisturizer. Moisturizers are emulsions of oil and water (along with other components for nourishing, treating, and maintaining the skin) that help replenish hydration by keeping moisture in the skin and dryness out. Even if you don’t have dry skin, experts advise that moisturizing is essential for keeping skin youthful and healthy.

Is it true that using a moisturizer can help with acne? Yes, moisturizing is beneficial to treating acne. Especially oil-free moisturizers with a glycerine and dimethicone mix.

While there are many moisturizers on the market, you will rarely come across one labeled as a moisturizer for acne-prone skin. As a result, you must know the ingredients that will specifically suit your skin type.

As such, we won’t recommend any particular moisturizer.

Step #6: Sunscreen

sunscreen use for acne management

Sunscreens are used to protect the skin from the sun’s damaging rays. They protect you from sunburn and early aging (such as wrinkles leathery skin). Sunscreen also helps prevent sunburn, skin cancer, and premature aging when applied regularly.

When selecting a sunscreen, look for one that is non-comedogenic. This means it was formulated with the purpose of not clogging pores. While non-comedogenic sunscreen is suitable for all skin types, it is especially important for oily skin prone to breakouts.

Here are two of the best sunscreen options to add to acne skincare routine.

Choice #1: Korean Sunscreen For Acne Prone Skin

korean sunscreen for acne prone skin

The majority of Korean moisturizers are non-greasy and lightweight, ideal for oily skin. They aid in the control of shine and regulate excessive sebum production.

Choice #2: Elta Md Acne-Prone Sunscreen

elta md acne-prone sunscreen

While most sunscreens cause breakouts, Elta MD UV Clear does the exact opposite, thanks to acne-fighting chemicals like niacinamide and lactic acid.

Nighttime acne skincare routine

nighttime routine for acne prone skin
To enhance our skin’s natural healing and regeneration process, you need a good evening acne skincare routine.

Daytime acne skincare routine aims to protect and preserve the skin, whereas nighttime acne skincare routine aims to address skin regeneration process during sleep. 

Step #1: Makeup remover

woman using makeup remover as a part of nighttime skincare routine.

Makeup removers primarily work by dissolving makeup. Consider foundation: once applied, it dries and sticks to the skin because it is designed to be more “like skin” than other surfaces. It would be tough to remove it using a dry cloth/tissue, and you might even harm your skin. If you try just water, it is unlikely to work.

Removing the foundation can be simple if you use a makeup remover that can dissolve the foundation film. There isn’t a single magic ingredient in this; it depends on the makeup formula and the remover composition. “Like dissolves like” is an introductory chemistry statement to remember.

Water-based makeup can be removed with a water-based remover, while oil-based makeup can be removed with an oil-based remover. The makeup remover must be able to break the bond between makeup and skin while also keeping the makeup dissolved.

It’s important to pay attention to the components while looking for a makeup remover that won’t irritate your skin or cause acne. Opt for a non-comedogenic and mineral oil-free formula if the product is oil-based to avoid clogging your pores.

Ingredients that have the potential to irritate your acne-prone skin, such as fragrance and alcohol, should also be avoided, especially if your skin is sensitive. The same rules apply to classic foam, cream, or gel cleansers, but to deep clean your pores, search for an active acne-fighting ingredient like salicylic acid.

Here are two of the best makeup removers to add to acne skincare routine.

Choice #1: DHC Pore Cleansing Oil

dhc pore cleansing oil 1

DHC Pore Cleansing Oil is a face cleanser that binds to sebum and unclogs pores to wash thoroughly. This cleanser binds with sebum to unclog pores and eliminates all traces of stubborn makeup, making it ideal for oily and acne-prone skin. When you use it in your acne skincare routine, your skin seems to be lifted, softened, and regenerated.

Key Ingredients

  • Organic olive oil is high in antioxidants and helps to keep the skin’s moisture barrier intact while also combating free radical damage without clogging pores.
  • Rosemary leaf oil is energizing and has a pleasant scent.
  • Vitamin E (tocopherol) is a natural skin conditioner and antioxidant that helps to prevent free radical damage.

Choice #2: Neutrogena Makeup Remover

neutrogena makeup remover being used

Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes Refill Pack dissolves all signs of grime, oil, and makeup—including waterproof mascara—in one easy step for clean, fresh skin. The exceptional cleansing formula in these soothing, ultra-soft cloths is so effective that it removes waterproof mascara.

There’s no need to rinse because it cleans the skin thoroughly in just one step and leaves no heavy residue. It’s also soft enough for contact lens users to utilize around the sensitive eye area.

Step #2: Exfoliator


Exfoliation removes dead skin cells from the skin’s surface layers. It can help remove dry or dull skin, increase blood circulation, and brighten and improve the appearance of your skin. As such it is a must to include in your acne skincare routine. Just don’t over do it.

Salicylic acid is helpful for people with oily acne-prone skin since it unclogs and cleans clogged pores. It eliminates excess oils, inhibits blackheads and whiteheads, and is an excellent exfoliator for dead skin cells. Because salicylic acid can be drying, it’s best to apply a moisturizer afterward and prevent exfoliating too much.

Chemical exfoliants can help people with dry skin by providing hydration and brightening dull skin. Choose Glycolic acid or Lactic acid if you have dry skin. Dryness, pigmentation, dark spots, and aging are all targets for both products.

It might not be easy to find products for sensitive skin because you must look for products and ingredients that will not irritate your skin. PHAs are the way to go (Polyhydroxy acid). Because PHAs have a bigger molecule size and are a gentler substance, they are less irritating than AHAs and BHAs.

Exfoliants for normal/combination skin types can be chosen based on their skin issues. Depending on how your skin feels, you can use glycolic acid, hyaluronic acid, or salicylic acid.

Since the choice of exfoliant depends on your skin type, we won’t recommend any particular product.

Step #3: Toner

toner removes scum

Skin health does not require toning, but you might decide to add to acne skincare routine. Toners were created to remove soapy residue from the face after using lye-based soaps with hard water, leaving a sticky residue after cleansing. The alcohol-based toner removes the soap scum, reducing irritation and enhancing the mildness of the cleanser. Click here for the top two toner recommendations.

Step #4: Acid treatment

Acids have a noticeable effect on the appearance of skin by peeling off the outer skin layer and making the skin more radiant because they affect the skin on a chemical level. A word of warning to read the label instructions and avoid excessive use when added to acne skincare routine.

For acne, salicylic acid is the best option. When you want to get rid of pimples, look for a solution that contains salicylic acid, which has anti-inflammatory effects and can help dissolve dead skin buildup. It is advised for persons with bigger pores who want to diminish their appearance because it effectively unclogs them.

Step #5: Moisturizer

using moisturizer as a part of nighttime skincare routine

Even if you have active acne, you should always use a moisturizer in acne skincare routine before the bedtime. The idea that moisturizing your face can make your acne worse is a complete myth. Moisturizers are required to maintain acne-prone skin as healthy as possible.

If you don’t use a moisturizer at night, your skin will compensate by producing more oil. Before bedtime, apply an oil-free moisturizer like Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel to hydrate and prepare your skin.

Step #6: Spot treatment

Spot treatments are often applied at night, so after cleansing, toning, and moisturizing, apply the treatment to your spot and leave it on overnight.

Step #7: Night cream

night cream

Although the primary goal to add the night cream to acne skincare routine is to hydrate the skin, they also help to replenish collagen, clean up dry spots, and encourage skin cell turnover, among other things.

A night cream can assist promote repair by increasing cell turnover and soothing and hydrating skin after a long day. While day creams defend against the elements such as pollution, dryness, cold, heat, and UV radiation, night creams are more focused on the skin’s regeneration process.

Always go for a light, non-greasy, and non-comedogenic night cream that won’t clog pores and regulates oil production. Ingredients like hyaluronic acid can help to moisturize the skin softly without leaving an oily behind.

Here are two of the best night creams to try for acne-prone skin.

Choice #1: LilyAna Naturals Night Cream Moisturizer

night cream 1

One of the best night creams for oily skin to get rid of acne, spots, and pimples is LilyAna Naturals Retinol Cream. The lotion contains vitamin A, which treats the skin without causing it to become dry, irritated, or inflamed. Active compounds derived from herbs and plants provide skin with a youthful and healthy appearance and the necessary hydration, so seriously consider adding to acne skincare routine.

Choice #2: Exposed Skin Care

exposed skin care

Exposed Skin Care is a skincare system that helps your skin unclog blocked pores, kill acne-causing bacteria, normalize sebum production, heal skin lesions, and reduce redness by unclogging clogged pores, killing acne-causing bacteria, and assisting in the healing of skin lesions.

CeraVe Acne Foaming Cream Cleanser | Ulta Beauty. (n.d.). ULTA Beauty; Retrieved March 20, 2022, from

Verso Deep Cleanser | Unclogging & exfoliating. (n.d.). Verso Deep Cleanser | Unclogging & Exfoliating; Retrieved March 20, 2022, from

Effaclar Clarifying Solution | Acne Toner | La Roche-Posay. (2022, March 15). La Roche-Posay – Skincare, Sunscreen, Body Lotion – Official Site;

Neutrogena Rapid Clear® 2-in-1 Fight & Fade Toner | Neutrogena® (n.d.). Neutrogena Rapid Clear® 2-in-1 Fight & Fade Toner | Neutrogena®; Retrieved March 20, 2022, from

probiotic acne serum. (n.d.). Cocokind; Retrieved March 20, 2022, from

Clean & Clear Advantage® Acne Spot Treatment with Salicylic Acid | Clean & Clear®. (n.d.). Clean & Clear®; Retrieved March 20, 2022, from

On-the-Spot® Acne Treatment | Neutrogena® (n.d.). On-the-Spot® Acne Treatment | Neutrogena®; Retrieved March 20, 2022, from

Daily UV Defense Sunscreen. (n.d.). Innisfree; Retrieved March 20, 2022, from

AdornThemes. (n.d.). EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46. EltaMD; Retrieved March 20, 2022, from

Pore Cleansing Oil | Cleanser for Oily + Acne Prone Skin | DHC. (2022, February 2). Pore Cleansing Oil | Cleanser for Oily + Acne Prone Skin | DHC;

Compostable Makeup Remover Facial Wipes | Neutrogena® (2022, February 28). Compostable Makeup Remover Facial Wipes | Neutrogena®;

LilyAna Naturals Retinol Cream. (n.d.). LilyAna Naturals; Retrieved March 20, 2022, from

Care, E. S. (n.d.). Exposed Skin Care – Best Acne Treatment Combining Science & Nature. Exposed Skin Care; Retrieved March 20, 2022, from


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