Acne Blog: Smart Shopping, Learning to Compare Acne Brands.

Americans spend almost $400 million a year on acne products. With 80% of adolescents affected by acne, this could amount to a high-end shopping spree! So how do you choose the right products without wasting your money? Learn the truth behind acne brands (this blog) and know what ingredients are best for each individuals skin (as discussed in the previous part of this series).
1. Rodan & Fields
Summary: The Umblemish Acne line is sold as a kit with four products or separate.
Price: $180, for the kit.
Active Ingredients:
  • UNBLEMISH Acne Treatment Sulfur Wash: 3% sulfur
  • UNBLEMISH Clarifying Toner: (single active ingredient not listed) Witch Hazel & Glycolic Acid
  • UNBLEMISH Dual Intensive Acne Treatment: Benzoyl Peroxide 5%
  • UNBLEMISH Oil Control Lotion: Zinc Oxide 4.75%, Titanium Dioxide 0.7% (sunscreens)
Beneficial Additives:
Soothing: Aloe can be a soothing additive. It is 9th ingredient on the list for the Acne Treatment Sulfur Wash, 5th for the Toner, 2nd for the Dual Intensive Acne Treatment.
The hydrating ingredient of ceramide, along with anti-inflammatory Niacinamide are also in the Dual Intensive Acne Treatment.
Exfoliative: Azelaic acid has anti-comedogenic properties and also helps with dark pigment. It is 10th on the list for the Clarifying Toner and 3rd for the Oil Control Lotion.
Online at: or your nearest consultant, which would be easy to find all over social media.
2. Proactiv
Summary: Company originally owned & created by the same two dermatologists as Rodan & Fields. This product line sold in kits.
Price: Varying kits from $19.95 - $39.95
Active Ingredients: [Original & Advanced Acne System]
  • Skin Smoothing Exfoliator/Renewing Cleanser: Benzoyl Peroxide 2.5%
  • Revitalizing Toner: (single active ingredient not listed) glycolic acid and witch hazel.
  • Pore Targeting Treatment: Benzoyl Peroxide 2.5%
  • Complex Perfecting Hydrator/Repairing Treatment: Salicylic Acid 0.5%
  • Advanced Daily Oil Control: Salicylic Acid 0.5%
  • Deep Cleansing Wash: Salicylic Acid 2%
  • Emergency Blemish Relief: Benzoyl Peroxide 2.5%
Beneficial Ingredients:
Soothing: the humectant hyaluronic acid and bisbolol are in the Complexion Perfecting Hydrator, while glycerin helps the Pore Targeting treatment to retain moisture.
Exfoliative: Glycolic acid, which is a mild chemical to rid of dead skin, is in the skin smoothing exfoliator.
Brightening: Kojic acid, licorice extract, bearberry and sophora root are in the Complexion Perfection Hydrator, to fade dark spots.
Online at or in stores like CVS.
3. Murad
Summary: Mutiple acne-type specific products, separate or in kits.
Price: Single products range from $18 - $97 or a kit at $29.95.
Active Ingredients [Advanced Breakout Control Regimen]:
  • Clarifying Cleanser: Salicylic Acid 1.5%
  • Acne Clearing Solution: Salicylic Acid 0.5%
  • Skin Perfecting Lotion: (single active ingredient not listed) Glycerin, Squalene, Retinol.
  • Clarifying Mask: Sulfur 4%
  • Acne Spot Treatment: Sulfur 3%
Beneficial Ingredients:
Soothing: Camellia Oleifera Leaf Extract (green tea leaf extract) is in the Clarifying Cleanser along with multiple citrus oils. Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil is in the acne Clearing Solution. While Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract is in the Clarifying Mask & Acne Spot Treatment.
Exfoliative: Retinol is in the Acne Clearing solution and Urea in the Skin Perfecting Lotion.
Purchase: Online at, Sephora, or Ulta Beauty.
4. Clearisil
Summary: A no frills OTC store brand sold as a kit or separate products.
Price: $7 - $12
Active Ingredients:
  • Ultra 5 in 1 Lotion: Salicylic Acid 2%
  • Ultra Acne & Marks Treatment Lotion: Salicylic Acid 2%
  • Ultra Rapid Action Vanishing Cream:¬† Benzoyl Peroxide 10%
  • Ultra Rapid Action Treatment Gel: Salicylic Acid 2%
  • Ultra Rapid Action Face & Body: Salicylic Acid 2%
Beneficial Ingredients: Polyhydroxyacids.
Exfoliative: The Ultra Acne & Marks Treatment Lotion and Ultra Rapid Action Vanishing Cream has a proprietary blend of "Polyhydroxyacids."
Purchase: Drugstores or other retail health stores.
5. Clean & Clear
Summary: A no frills OTC store brand sold as a kit or separate products.
Price: $6 - $9
Active Ingredients:
  • Persa Gel 10: Benzoyl Peroxide 10%
  • Continuous Control Acne Cleanser: Benzoyl Peroxide 10%
  • Acne Spot Treatment: Salicylic Acid 2%
  • Dual Action Moisturizer: Salicylic Acid 0.5%
  • 3-in-1 Exfoliating Cleanser: Benzoyl Peroxide 5%
  • Acne Control Moisturizer: Salicylic Acid 0.5%
Beneficial Ingredients:
Soothing: Glycine Soja (soybean extract) found in Acne Control Moisturizer  helps condition skin.
Purchase: Drugstore or other retail health stores. 
6. Neutrogena
Summary: A diverse product line OTC store brand.
Price: $6 - $13
Active Ingredients:
  • Oil Free Acne Wash Pink Grapefruit Cream Cleanser, Moisturizer: Salicylic Acid 2%, 0.5%
  • Oil Free Stress Control Power Cream Wash, Night Cleansing Pads, Power Clear Scrub: Salicylic Acid 2%, 2%, 2%
  • Oil Free Acne Cream Cleanser, Body Wash: Salicylic Acid 2%, 2%
  • Clear Pore Daily Scrub, Mask: Benzoyl Peroxide 3.7%, 3.5%
  • Rapid Clear Stubborn Acne Cleanser, Leave on Mask: Benzoyl Peroxide 10%, 2.5%
Beneficial Ingredients:
Enhancer: "Microclear technology." Aloe & chamomile are in the oil free acne wash.
Purchase: Drugstore or other retail health stores.
These are the most popular OTC brands that patients often try before consulting with a dermatology specialist. As you may see, many of the ingredients between brands are repetitive and even within the same brand. The major differences are percentages, vehicles, and the other accompanying ingredients placed in a product. Nonetheless, the prices for these brands are greatly varied. The higher end products do provide a greater variety of ingredients, especially Murad, and more complementary chemicals to off-set treatment side effects. Overall, when choosing acne treatments for your skin, this acne blog series takes you step-by-step through how to choose the best products for your unique needs. Please refer to the Acne Sensitivity, & Grading blog, to choose the most relevant ingredient/product above for you.