My Favourite Acne Skincare Products of 2021

This may seem odd to say but one of the best parts of dealing with acne-prone skin is the wonderful world of skincare you get to learn about. I’ve found some great skincare products along this journey. Before acne decided to make a comeback into my life I was content with a simple skincare routine with frankly not the best products. I know that now because I know that to maintain soft supple and youthful-looking skin there are a few specific ingredients you should be using daily. 

In the latter half of 2021, I officially weaned my skin from the dermatologist prescribed products I started using in 2020. I wasn’t seeing much of a difference in my skin using them a year later so I decided to slowly ease them out of my routine. I watched my skin for changes for a while and when I saw that I had no adverse effects I introduced new products into the routine.

Fortunately for me the products I chose really stuck. My skin likes them a lot. So here are my favourite skincare products of 2021.

krave match hemp hydrating cleanser
Krave Matcha Hemp Hydrating Cleanser
Krave Matcha Hemp Hydrating Cleanser

This naturally hydrating cleanser is my preferred morning cleanser to wake up the skin and gently cleanse. I’ve been enjoying it so much I’m on my second bottle. It’s a gentle cleanser with soothing ingredients for the skin. After cleansing with Krave my skin is soft to the touch and smooth. 

It’s hydrating but I can’t say it leaves the skin completely without that tight feeling after washing. However, it’s not nearly as bad as other cleansers I’ve used. All in all, it’s a good gentle cleanser that would pair well with a routine of soothing hydrating products.

Related: Krave Beauty Matcha Hemp Hydrating Cleanser Review

alpha arbutin
The Ordinary’s Alpha-arbutin +HA serum
The Ordinary Alpha Arbutin

I’ve bought this three times and would totally do it again. This affordable serum from The Ordinary fades dark marks while supplying added hydration to the skin with the addition of hyaluronic acid. It works slowly but it works well. I haven’t been using it in the latter part of the year because my last bottle of this serum seemed to be a bit off. 

Without it, I’ve had a harder time fading dark marks. For the new year, I plan to give the discoloration correction serum from Good Molecules a try. But if that doesn’t get the job done I’ll be restocking this Alpha Arbutin from The Ordinary for sure. The discoloration correction serum includes alpha-arbutin and a host of other dark mark fading ingredients so I’m looking forward to what it will do.

Related: 8 Reasons To Love The Ordinary’s Alpha Arbutin

differin gel
Differin Gel
Differin / adapalene gel

The only dermatologist prescribed product I will continue to use for the foreseeable future is adapalene gel. Adapalene gel is a retinoid that is commonly used to treat acne. But it’s also great at smoothing the skin and reducing wrinkles.

In Jamaica, your best bet for getting your hands on a tube of adapalene gel is through a dermatologist writing you a prescription. If you’re not against waiting for shipping you can also order Differin gel from Amazon. When my prescription ran out that’s what I did. I ordered Differin because it’s the best-rated adapalene gel available online.

Panoxyl acne foaming cleanser

When I first noticed my acne making a comeback I spent hours researching acne blasting face washes and one of the top recommendations was this acne foaming cleanser from Panoxyl. I quickly learned that the main active ingredient, benzoyl peroxide is amazingly effective at killing acne-causing bacteria on the skin. And no acne-causing bacteria means no acne. 

Panoxyl is dermatologist recommended in the US but in Jamaica, my dermatologist recommended a leave-on cream with the same active ingredient. Truth be told the $9 product I bought on Amazon works far better. It’s a drying cleanser so don’t ignore the directions to use it once a day until your skin has built a tolerance for it and be sure to moisturize after.

For me, Panoxyl is great at clearing pimples, the small ones that cause texture and the cystic ones that cause pain. It also leaves my skin smooth. I know I’ve said that about most of the products here but I find that, smoothness and softness are what I look for in products.

Niacinamide Brightening Toner
Good Molecules Niacinamide Brightening Toner

This toner is my most recent addition to my skincare routine. It replaces my glycolic acid toning solution from The Ordinary. This is a nourishing, hydrating toner with the power to fade darks and brighten the appearance of the skin. I love it for the hydration it provides. My skin is dry yet acne-prone so when I’m forced to use drying products/ ingredients like benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid it’s good to have a way to replenish the skin with a moisturizing toner like this one.

Using this toner has made my skin softer, supple and radiant. It’s still a bit early to say whether my acne scars have lightened but I still love it for the moisture and softness it provides.

Related: Good Molecules Niacinamide Brightening Toner Review

The morning routine lineup
Neutrogena Invisible daily Defense Sunscreen

Now if you’ve made it this far, this is one of the most important products to have in your skincare stash. Sunscreen protects the skin from sun damage and prevents early signs of aging. And if you have acne scars it helps to prevent the scars from darkening from the sun’s rays.

The best sunscreen for maximum protection is mineral sunscreen. But the sunscreen I use is a chemical one because I don’t have to worry about a pesky white cast making me look like a ghost. Let’s not mention the inevitable mineral sunscreen flashback in photos.

This sunscreen from Neutrogena stuck out to me because it’s environmentally friendly and I thought it didn’t have one of the ingredients that usually cause me to break out. I like that this doesn’t cause me to break out but if you’re not careful with removing any sunscreen you can end up with clogged pores even when they promise not to be noncomedogenic.

Paula’s Choice BHA Liquid Exfoliant
Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant

This has to be one of the best chemical exfoliants I’ve found that is truly gentle enough for sensitive skin. It’s great at bringing pore clogs to the fore. There’s no burning or tingling. Using it a few times a week is sufficient for me. It helps me maintain a smooth texture and if I’m having a breakout it helps me get rid of any active pimples faster.

Related: What Paula’s Choice BHA Exfoliant Did To My Skin

Other honourable mentions:

  • The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%
  • The Ordinary Moisturizing Factors +HA
  • Heimish All Clean Balm

And this was the list of my favourite acne skincare products of 2021. Let me know in the comments if you’d like to see a list of my favourites for body care too. Have you used any products from this list?  Share your thoughts in the comments and let’s compare experiences.

Get Social With Me: