Skin Care

Best Acne Treatment For Men To Prevent Breakouts



by Lydia


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Dealing with adult acne can be pretty challenging, especially when you're not sure what's causing it to begin with. Whatever you do, don't pop the zits because it will make things worse.

Instead, what you want is to build up a skincare routine that incorporates the best acne treatments. These could be anything from emergency spot treatments that come in handy when the occasional pimple shows up to your face cleansers and scrubs for the deep cleansing. The best acne treatment for men assures the prevention of breakouts and clear skin. It should also be gentle on the skin and work with your skin type.

We reviewed the best acne treatments for men and outlined factors to consider when buying them.

What Causes Adult Acne?

Adult acne is majorly caused by hormones. In men, it's linked to testosterone. The changes can send the receptors into a fritz leading to acne not just on your face but all over.

Stress is another common cause of acne. There is a neurological connection from the brain to the skin. Hence, with acne, there is a direct correlation between increased stress which stresses the adrenal glands, making more cortisol, directly impacting your sebaceous glands to produce more oil. This can also occur when there are extremes of emotion. So, in acne-prone people, stress can worsen breakouts, but it can also mean it's possible to notice pimples during such periods even if you don't have a history of acne.

One's diet can also be a determining factor in how often you break out. There's a direct link to acne, especially if you have on high dairy diet. Studies have shown it increases something known as the insulin growth factor, which causes breakouts. This could be why you notice more breakouts after eating a lot of dairy or even sugar. In the case of dairy, there could be added hormones that increase hormone-related acne in adults.

There is also the aspect of the environment and how clean it is. Pollution and environmental factors should be considered when discussing acne. Pollutant particles are approximately 20 times smaller than our pore size, making it easier for them to penetrate the skin and cause harm. They can cause free radical damage, hyperpigmentation, and acne.

Lastly, maskne ( mask acne can also be an issue, given the current Covid situation). Acne mechanica is the result of rubbing and friction on the skin. It can lead to clogged pores and breakouts and the breakdown of the skin barrier. While many dermatologists attribute increases in this type of acne due to face masks, it is also common on the body, where the skin can be irritated from rubbing against clothes, chairs, sports equipment, and more.

Dealing with acne can be quite challenging that's why we reviewed the best acne treatments for men in the market to start you off. 


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 Best Acne Treatment for Men


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Best Acne Treatment for Men - Reviews

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The Proactiv acne spot treatment contains benzoyl peroxide to target acne-causing bacteria inside pores to clear up acne blemishes. However, unlike other acne spot treatments, it contains a high percentage at 5%, which can irritate sensitive skin.

For darker skin tones prone to dark spots or pigmentation, it would be advisable to use it sparingly and start slow.

The spot treatment is formulated to help absorb excess oil and clear emergency blemishes fast.


  • Effective at clearing breakouts
  • Great for emergencies


  • Can dry your face

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When you've got acne-prone skin, it's essential to have an acne face wash that's gentle even during deep cleansing. This is the best acne treatment for men for deep cleansing and exfoliation.

It gently exfoliates, leaving your skin feeling smooth and clean. The face scrub is formulated with natural charcoal that penetrates the pores to help control and prevent the development of new acne-related blemishes.

The facial scrub is excellent for oily skin and has 1% Salicylic Acid, which treats existing acne and helps you prevent breakouts.


  • Works well for oily skin types
  • Leaves your skin feeling fresh and clean
  • Prevents excessive dryness
  • Has a pleasant smell


  • The grain of the exfoliating beads can be a little harsh

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The Acne spot treatment has maximum strength salicylic acid formula that reduces blemish size and redness. It only has 2% salicylic acid and has been formulated with no parabens.

The Murad spot treatment also contains patented pine and thyme-inspired complex, which fight irritants while preserving the skin's healthy balance.

It can easily be considered a must-have for acne-prone skin.


  • Effective at clearing blemishes and acne
  • An excellent alternative to benzoyl peroxide


  • Expensive

The Effaclar duo claims to reduce 60% of your acne in 10 days. The acne spot treatment is pretty effective for zits, with the first treatment containing benzoyl peroxide, which gets down into pores and kills acne-causing bacteria. The second is full of lipohydroxy acid, which aids in gently exfoliating dead skin cells and clear pores.

La Roche Posay is the best acne treatment for men dealing with acne blemishes, blackheads & whiteheads.

The acne spot treatment should be layered for optimal effect, but benzoyl peroxide can be a little irritating, so it would be wise to start slow.


  • Works well at clearing blackheads, blemishes, and whiteheads
  • Works well for sensitive skin


  • Dries out the skin when used too much

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It can be cumbersome trying to figure out how to balance out the oil production and keep your skin clear when you've got oily skin.

The Jack Black face wash features three key ingredients that ensure to wash away your dead skin cells and free up your clogged pores from buildup.

The facial cleanser has glycolic acid, volcanic ash, and kaolin clay. Glycolic acid is fantastic at removing dead skin cells. At the same time, volcanic ash and kaolin clay have superb oil absorption properties. 


  • Leaves your skin feeling smooth
  • Cleans and exfoliates deeply
  • It can be used before shaving


  • It can be irritating for sensitive skin

Factors To Consider When Buying Best Acne Treatment For Men

a) Type of Face Wash

Acne face washes tend to be more thorough and require you to lather and rub them up thoroughly into your skin to be effective. Here are a few things to consider while buying them:

i) Thick, Rich Texture

When it comes to an acne face wash, it's best to find a formula that's strong enough to fight through hair-bearing skin, especially if your facial hair is on the coarser or longer side. In addition, the lather should be thick and rich and able to get through beards to cleanse the skin thoroughly.

ii) Active Ingredients

The best acne face washes have a formula packed with vital active ingredients. Ideally, you're looking for the best acne treatment for men with ingredients like benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid, as they are vital components of an acne-fighting regimen.

iii) Non-Drying Formula

It's best to avoid formulas that may be too drying. You don't need to strip all of the oil from the skin as some are essential. However, stripping oil from your skin causes it to be too dry, and that can cause an overproduction of oil and a worsening of acne.

b) Type of Acne

There are three types of acne you're likely to experience, and this will majorly determine the best acne treatments to invest in.

i) Comedonal Acne

Comedonal acne is pretty mild and is often gotten around high school to college age.

This type of men's acne shows up with a blackhead or whitehead, tempting you to pop it and get all the pus out.

The acne can result from genetics, oily skin, or clogged pores due to excess dirt and debris.

The acne type is usually easy to take care of and, in most cases, will clear on its own or with a simple face wash to kill the bacteria on the skin. However, it also usually returns unless blessed with clear skin or great genetics.

ii) Inflammatory Acne

The men's acne lacks a black or whitehead and is characterized by swelling redness beneath the bump blocked pores.

The acne type can be sensitive or painful, especially when touched or disturbed.

Sometimes it shows up as pimples. Other times, they can form papules, tiny red blemishes on the skin's surface; They sometimes look a little flaky.

Generally, the acne isn't too hard to treat, but it requires advanced treatment.

iii) Cystic Acne

This is the most severe type and requires medical intervention from a dermatologist.

Its characterized by extensive, inflamed breakouts that cover large portions of the skin, usually the size of a quarter. Lastly, it can be excruciating and is generally the result of infections beneath the skin.

c) Skin Type

Knowing your skin type can better guide what acne treatment products to buy.

i) Dry Skin

If you've got dry skin, it's advisable to avoid acne treatment that focuses on exfoliating or scrubbing your skin excessively. Though the treatment option can help you get rid of specific acne breakouts, it can also strip away moisture from your skin, causing it to become drier over time. This can lead to other breakouts or different skin problems.

ii) Oily Skin

Oily skin can benefit from various scrubs and over-the-counter acne treatment problems. However, too much oil on your skin can lead to a cycle of acne outbreaks. It's also essential to practice good hygiene as this can significantly aid in your acne treatment strategy.

iii) Sensitive Skin

Sensitive skin can be hard to deal with, especially during an acne outbreak. Therefore, it's advisable to avoid any acne treatments that might be rough on your skin or cause excessive discomfort.

d) Ingredients In the Treatment

i) Salicylic Acid

Salicylic acid is essential as it helps keep your pores unclogged by breaking them apart from oils and small dirt particles.

It does cause some slight irritation/stinging, so it's best to avoid acne treatments with salicylic acid as the main component if you have overly sensitive skin.

However, if you have sensitive skin, you can still use acid products so long as other compounds neutralize the formula, making it gentle.

ii) Benzoyl Peroxide

Benzoyl peroxide is pretty versatile in that it does a few couple jobs at once. First, it eliminates excess oil and dead skin cells, both of which commonly clog pores. Secondly, it also helps fight off bacteria that frequently cause acne outbreaks and skin infections.

Benzoyl peroxide is usually not too difficult for most people to tolerate, even if there's a high compound concentration in a given formula.

iii) Sulfur

Sulfur aid in removing dead skin cells and oil. It's usually found in a very low concentration, and it's tiny enough that you shouldn't detect the smell.

iv) Antioxidants

Antioxidants are compounds derived from natural sources. They help repair your skin and can be extremely useful after an acne outbreak where there's a lot of broken skin.

v) Alpha Hydroxy Acids

The two most common ones you're likely to come across are glycolic acid and lactic acid.

They assist in removing dead skin cells and other debris while reducing inflammation at the same time. The reduced inflammations aid your skin to thrive, thus allowing you to appear smoother and younger.

Frequently Asked Questions About Best Acne Treatment For Men

a) Can acne in men be related to shaving?

It's common to hear acne breakouts being attributed to razor blades. However, breakouts are more likely caused by ingrown hairs or folliculitis rather than oil-clogged pores.

If you're prone to post-shave spots, ensure you're using a top-notch razor and shaving cream combo, or you can always consider embracing your five o'clock shadow and investing in a beard trimmer.

On the other hand, if looking to clear up acne that you suspect is not related to shaving, opting for a trimmer over a razor might be a safer bet to avoid shaving the top of pimples and aggravating the skin.

b) Is Soap Good For Acne?

It's advisable to cleanse with a mild, gentle soap that is free of harsh sulfates. It can help moisturize skin and calm irritation. However, it typically doesn't have the acne-fighting ingredients that a cleanser does. Using a face wash made explicitly for treating acne breakouts ensures you wash with potent actives that can help unclog pores and exfoliate the skin, helping to keep it clear.


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