Having an effective plan of attack for treating pimples before they reach the surface can help keep your breakouts minimal. Applying serums to acne-prone skin might seem like a bad idea, but the product won't necessarily make skin oiler. "With so many serums on the market, there is a product out there even for oily or acne-prone skin," says New York-based dermatologist Dr. Joshua Zeichner. "The wrong serum may feel heavy or greasy, but the right serum can help absorb oil, mattify the skin, and may even treat acne breakouts."
Since serums are formulated with a higher concentration of active ingredients, they're more potent and able to reach the deeper layers of the skin. "Serums by definition are highly concentrated products designed to deliver a particular active ingredient into the skin," explains Dr. Zeichner. "They are not necessarily skin hydrators, but rather do a particular job, be it to brighten, calm, or strengthen the skin.”
Acne-fighting serums are usually rich in salicylic or glycolic acids, two ingredients commonly found in spot treatments. These acids work the same way in serum-form, except they're able to treat bumps before they reach the surface of the skin and take shape.
Here, we've rounded up the best serums that stop and treat breakouts.
1. Clinique Anti-Blemish Solutions Blemish + Line Correcting Serum ($60; at clinique.com.au)
The hard truth is that acne doesn't just disappear after you graduate from high school. At a certain point, adult acne becomes an issue you're dealing with on top of anti-ageing. Clinique's multi-tasking serum addresses blemishes, fine lines, and wrinkles in a single step.
Juice Beauty Blemish Clearing Serum ($39; at freepeople.com)
Sensitive skin types listen up: This organic blend is formulated with naturally-derived salicylic acid in conjunction with fruit acids, so it won't ever over-exfoliate your temperamental complexion.
Mario Badescu Anti-Acne Serum ($28; at mecca.com.au)
Don't underestimate the power of this tiny bottle. A thin layer is all you need to keep breakouts under control, thanks to salicylic acid.
Estée Lauder Clear Difference Advanced Blemish Serum ($130; esteelauder.com.au)
Not only does this hard-working serum treat pimples as they appear, it also works to prevent new ones from popping up—pardon the pun—thanks to oil-controlling salicylic acid.
Skinceuticals Blemish + Age Defense Serum ($98; at adore beauty.com.au)
Ageing skin and acne can be tricky concerns to treat, which is where this serum steps in. It uses a blemish-busting formula including salicylic and glycolic acid, to reduce the size of enlarged pores, control oil production and smooth the skin’s texture.