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OTC Recommendation - Mild to Moderate Acne

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Hi guys!

I'm turning to Acne.org for some help and recommendations. I have hopped on and off this site for years in times when I'm desperate for a solution or just help on what to do for my acne. I'm searching right now for a good OTC recommendation for mild to moderate acne that occurs mostly on my cheeks.

Some backstory on me and my acne journey: I am now 22 years old and have been battling acne since I was 11. It is a very emotional and trying battle for me, as I know it also is with many of you. When I first starting getting acne at 11, I tried so many OTC products that didn't really help (i.e., Neutrogena, Burt's Bees, Clean and Clear, etc.). So then I tried ProActive, which also did NOT help whatsoever. I also tried many benzoyl peroxide topical treatments at this time - while they didn't make my acne worse, they also didn't help. I visited a dermatologist around the age of 13 and I was put on Accutane for about a year. After my horrible experience with Accutane, my face did clear up and stayed pretty clear for about 5 years. After that, I had very mild acne at around 18 (currently WISHING I could have that skin back). Since that time though, I have moved across the country, from a very humid Southern state to a dry, arid, Southwestern state. My skin is probably now best described as combination, since I can have dry patches and oily breakouts on my face at any given time. My acne started flaring up again last year - my senior year of college. I was under a lot of stress because that was my busiest and hardest year of school yet. I figured it would clear up over the summer since I had that time to relax and find a new skincare routine. However, it has not and if anything, it has only gotten worse. During the summer, I tried the Cetaphil cleanser, which I used to use while on Accutane. This was just ok - it didn't really do much for my skin, but it did keep my acne at minimum. But I wanted to try to find something that could eradicate my acne completely, so I tried out a Korean skincare routine, which I absolutely hated. I don't think "double cleansing" is right for me and I believe the oil made my skin worse. I recently bought the CeraVe Renewing SA Cleanser, after watching countless YouTube videos from dermatologist Dr. Dray, who loves this brand. I'm having probably the worst breakout that I've ever experienced in the past 4 years - lots of whiteheads and pustules/pastules. I'm not sure if my skin is "purging" or if I should just move on to another product (only been using for about a week). Honestly, I'm just desperate for any suggestions or any advice from people who have been through the same thing I have. I would love to visit a dermatologist, but that is not covered by my insurance right now, which is why I'm trying to find advice on a good OTC product that could be of help. 

Sorry for my novel of a backstory - I figured the more you know about my skin, the better it could help. Its also just nice to tell this to people who are going through what I'm going through - I'm the only person in my immediate family to struggle with acne this much and my husband also does not struggle with it on this scale. 

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hi, i had the same type of acne that you described (i still break out time to time). a dermatologist once told me that a product will only make you "purge" if it has a retinol, or acid in it (AHA/BHA), things that go down into the pore and clean it out. So, unless a product has one of those things in it, unfortunately it might just be breaking you out. I have tried so many different cleansers over the years. A few weeks ago I tried the "origins checks and balances" cleanser and it is amazing. I'm not sure what it is about it, but it makes my skin so soft. It is def more pricy than a drugstore cleanser, but you need the smallest amount because it foams up. You can also buy the travel size at ulta/sephora to try it out! Just look at all the reviews on it, it's amazing! To take my makeup off I use the "clinique cleansing balm" (which I started using the same time as the origins cleanser) and it's also amazing. A few nights a week I will use plain old witch hazel as a toner. If you haven't already, try cutting out dairy, gluten and caffeine. To help with stress (which wrecks havoc on my face) I started taking "ashwagandha" by the brand "gaia herbs" I believe this herb is mostly taken for stress, but if you google it, you'll see it helps a lot with acne. Good luck!

also wanted to add, i stopped using hot water on my face. only luke-warm and cold. "dry brushing" has also helped! 

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