I've Tried Every Buzzy Acne Treatment—These Are the Only Ones That Worked

Acne and I go way back, specifically to picture day in the seventh grade. I'd gotten a new sweater for the occasion (turtleneck, oatmeal-colored, ribbed, probably from Kohl's) and spent extra time on my taupe shimmery eye shadow, but what stared back at me in the bathroom mirror that morning was my first pimple—a giant one right near the tip of my nose. I felt like the subject of a picture book: Lindsey and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Pimple. Or Rudolph—one or the other. No amount of my mom's too-dark-for-me foundation could hide it, and looking back, I wish I had the magic of Tarte's Shape Tape Concealer—no one, including my middle-school crush, would've been the wiser.

From that moment forward, my breakouts multiplied. I'd get giant, life-ruining (or so my 14-year-old mind thought) shiners on my forehead, chin, and cheeks, and my ignorance worked out that the best way to get rid of them was to practically burn them off. I'd pop them, place astringent on top, and then use the highest-powered benzoyl peroxide acne cream I could find. I tried dozens upon dozens of products only to continue battling breakouts and the resulting scarring. Thankfully, after seeing a dermatologist and becoming educated on proper skincare (and trial and error), I finally discovered the products that work the best—and the fastest—without doing further damage to my skin. Now, as a 20-something, I've got the best skin of my life and know how to attack a burgeoning breakout (safely and efficiently).