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The 14 Best Acne Serums for Clear Skin

Emily Belfiore
·6 min read

As skin care concerns like maskne continue to plague the complexions of beauty lovers everywhere, many have enlisted the help of the best acne serums for clear skin to help restore balance and evenness to their skin. Unlike moisturizers and spot treatments, serums are designed to absorb quickly into the skin and deeply penetrate the pores, delivering active blemish-busting ingredients like salicylic acid, glycolic acid, retinol, lactic acid, niacinamide and more directly to the affected areas. They also cover more surface area, allowing you to treat multiple acne-prone skin areas at once.

In addition to exfoliating and purifying your pores of dirt, oil, sweat and impurities, the best acne serums for clear skin also help prevent future breakouts from forming by rebalancing sebum production and killing acne-causing bacteria. Most acne ingredients possess anti-aging benefits as well, allowing them to tighten your skin, reduce the appearance of wrinkles, smooth away unwanted texture and fade dark spots while also treating your breakouts. To prevent irritation, dryness and stripping away at your skin barrier, these serums for acne are also infused with calming, soothing and hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid, willow bark and rosewater to keep your skin healthy and balanced.

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Below, explore the best acne serums for clear skin that cater to every type of breakout at every stage.

The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%

Perfect for oily, acne-prone skin types, The Ordinary’s Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% serum rebalances your skin’s sebum production and clears your pores of breakout-causing impurities with its potent niacinamide and zinc formula. It also reveals a healthy glow as it alleviates signs of pore congestion.

the ordinary, best acne serums for clear skin
the ordinary, best acne serums for clear skin

IS Clinical Active Serum

Designed to initiate your skin’s renewal process and stimulate collagen, the IS Clinical Active Serum accelerates the healing time of your breakouts by reducing their size and redness. Formulated with pharmacy-grade botanicals such as sugarcane, arbutin, bilberry and mushroom extracts, this top-rated serum is also an effective treatment for discoloration and wrinkles as it helps firm the skin and smooth away unwanted tone and texture.

is clinical, best acne serums for clear skin
is clinical, best acne serums for clear skin

Kypris Clearing Balance & Calm Serum

Rich in acne-clearing ingredients such as zinc, tea tree oil and centella asiatica, the Kypris Clearing Balance & Calm Serum removes all traces of dirt, oil and impurities from the pores to help heal your breakouts fast. Its antibacterial and balancing formula also works to prevent new breakouts from forming by curbing blemish-causing agents from reappearing and controlling your skin’s oil production. This naturally derived serum also helps reduce redness from the T-zone to reveal a clearer and more even complexion.

kypris, best acne serums for clear skin
kypris, best acne serums for clear skin

Caudalie Vinopure Skin Perfecting Serum

Tackling enlarged, clogged pores with its fast-penetrating gel formula, the Caudalie Vinopure Skin Perfecting Serum delivers naturally derived salicylic acid directly into your skin to reduce the appearance of acne, smooth away unwanted texture and keep future breakouts at bay. Perfect for blackheads, it harnesses the antioxidant properties of grape-seed polyphenols to soak up excess sebum and prevent the oil that’s already in your pores from oxidizing and turning into blackheads. Skin is left looking calmer, brighter and more even after every usage.

caudalie, best acne serums for clear skin
caudalie, best acne serums for clear skin

Urban Skin Rx Clear Complexion Acne Serum + Spot Treatment

Doubling as a serum and spot treatment, the Urban Skin Rx Clear Complexion Acne Serum + Spot Treatment combines powerful acne-fighters benzoyl peroxide, glycolic acid and willow bark extract to heal, treat and prevent breakouts. It also harnesses the anti-inflammatory properties of arnica and echinacea, which makes it great for cystic acne and fading acne scars.

urban skin rx, best acne serums for clear skin
urban skin rx, best acne serums for clear skin

Herbivore Prism 12% AHA + 3% BHA Exfoliating Glow Serum

Delivering a potent dose of AHAs and BHAs directly to your pores, the Herbivore Prism 12% AHA + 3% BHA Exfoliating Glow Serum purifies your skin of acne-causing impurities while retexturizing it to remove dullness-inducing dead skin cells. Formulated with rosewater to minimize irritation and over-drying your skin, this gentle, radiance-boosting exfoliating serum refines the appearance of your pores and helps reduce acne scars and dark spots.

herbivore, best acne serums for clear skin
herbivore, best acne serums for clear skin

Dermalogica Age Bright Clearing Serum

Ideal for adult acne sufferers, the Dermalogica Age Bright Clearing Serum simultaneously treats breakouts while fighting the common signs of aging with its collagen-stimulating salicylic acid-rich formula, which supports cellular turnover and the production of new, healthy skin cells. To prevent future pimples and increase the brightness of your skin, it’s also formulated with oil-controlling niacinamide, dullness-reducing white shitake mushroom and age spot-fading lemon oil.

dermalogica, best acne serums for clear skin
dermalogica, best acne serums for clear skin

Shani Darden Retinol Reform

Harnessing the exfoliating properties of retinol and lactic acid, the Shani Darden Retinol Reform serum works as a solution for everything from blemishes and acne scars to fine lines and wrinkles thanks to its potent formula. Comprised of 2.2% encapsulated retinol, 2% lactic acid and radiance-boosting apple extract, this celebrity-favorite and aesthetician-trusted serum unlocks a smoother, firmer, even and clear complexion instantly, all without causing irritation or dryness.

shani darden, best acne serums for clear skin
shani darden, best acne serums for clear skin

Avène Cleanance Concentrate Blemish Control Serum

If you have sensitive skin and are prone to irritation, the Avène Cleanance Concentrate Blemish Control Serum offers a gentle and effective acne-clearing formula that won’t disrupt your skin. Featuring a combination of milk thistle-derived Comedoclastin and the brand’s soothing thermal spring water, this serum rebalances sebum while clarifying your pores, helping you achieve a clearer and more even-looking complexion without stripping away at your skin barrier.

avene, best acne serums for clear skin
avene, best acne serums for clear skin

Eminence Organic Skin Care Clear Skin Willow Bark Booster-Serum

Able to tackle all forms of breakouts, including whiteheads, cystic acne and blackheads, the Eminence Organic Skin Care Clear Skin Willow Bark Booster-Serum is powered by lactic acid, tea tree oil and anise oil to remove impurities from your pores, reduce inflammation and prevent acne-causing bacteria from creating future breakouts. It’s also formulated with horsetail, which improves your skin’s elasticity, tone and texture to reveal a smoother, more radiant complexion.

eminence organic skin care, best acne serums for clear skin
eminence organic skin care, best acne serums for clear skin

HydroPeptide Redefining Serum

Created as a means to target the common signs of aging, the HydroPeptide Redefining Serum makes for a great blemish-eliminating serum thanks to its ability to stimulate cell turnover. Fortified with multitasking salicylic acid, black tea ferment and hyaluronic acid, it exfoliates, purifies, brightens and hydrates your skin to unveil a smooth, dewy glow that’s free of acne, dark spots, wrinkles and unwanted texture.

hydropeptide, best acne serums for clear skin
hydropeptide, best acne serums for clear skin

SkinCeuticals Blemish + Age Defense

Acting like a shield for your skin thanks to its dual-acting acne-diminishing and age-fighting formula, the SkinCeuticals Blemish + Age Defense serum keeps acne, dark spots, texture and fine lines and wrinkles from hindering your complexion using oil-absorbing dioic acid, exfoliating lipo-hydroxy acid, purifying salicylic acid and blend of firming and brightening glycolic acid and citric acid.

skinceuticals, best acne serums for clear skin
skinceuticals, best acne serums for clear skin

Vivant Skin Care 15% Mandelic Acid 3-in-1 Serum

A multitasking formula that clears breakouts, fades hyperpigmentation and minimizes wrinkles, the Vivant Skin Care 15% Mandelic Acid 3-in-1 Serum encourages collagen production while helping you achieve a balanced, smoother, firmer and clearer complexion. Unlike similar formulas, this top-rated serum locks in moisture to prevent dryness and weakening your skin barrier.

vivant, best acne serums for clear skin
vivant, best acne serums for clear skin

Biossance Squalane + Vitamin C Dark Spot Serum

Whether you struggle with whiteheads or cystic acne, your skin will benefit from using a brightening serum like the Biossance Squalane + Vitamin C Dark Spot Serum. Formulated with collagen-stimulating and antioxidant-rich vitamin C, this top-rated serum fades the appearance of acne scars, dark spots and hyperpigmentation while turning up the wattage on dullness. It also features squalane, which is packed with skin-healthy nutrients and helps quench dry skin.

biossance, best acne serums for clear skin
biossance, best acne serums for clear skin

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