Glossier Zit Stick.

Mario Badescu Drying Lotion.

Peace Out Acne Dots.

Renee Rouleau.

“Trending” acne fighting products that claim to really work. While they ~may~ be more effective than leaving your cystic acne bumps alone, they’re not so effective when it comes to these vicious blemishes. That’s because most acne spot treatments are good for your run of the mill pimples (caused by, say, blocked pores) not ones that actually form deep within your skin. The cystic kind is painful, red, angry and usually leaves scars. It usually sprouts from inflammation, a blocked pore, and an overgrowth of p. acnes bacteria. Yuck.

SEE ALSO: I went on a ‘Skincare Diet’ this week for my cystic acne. It cleared out my skin.

An acne patch will not be able to slurp it up overnight (though you can truly go ahead and try your luck!). And Glossier’s Zit Stick, with only 2.5% benzoyl peroxide won’t be powerful enough to kill all of the p. acnes bacteria that helps to plump up your cyst. The drying lotion? It’s never worked for us. Renee Rouleau’s Anti-Cyst? Um, you can read our thoughts here.

The one thing that does? Something that isn’t trending nor is particularly sexy. It’s one from your local drug store that perhaps you’ve spotted, perhaps you gazed over, called AcneFree Maximum Strength Terminator 10. Coming in a white and orange box, it looks more like toothpaste than it does something for your face. But at $5, this formula is one that we’ve tried that actually works.

Acnefree
(Photo by David Yi/Very Good Light)

With 10% benzoyl peroxide, it’s the strongest non-prescription OTC treatment we’ve come across. This formula has something called “micronized benzoyl peroxide,” which allows for better penetration into your pores. Remember that the smaller the molecule, the easier it is to seep into your pores. It also has ginger and chamomile to help soothe your skin and help with inflammation, the biggest cause of your cystic breakout.

It really works for the most part. For our cystic breakouts, this spot treatment has been a life saver. We applied it and the next day, it definitely shrank, was less angry, and we’re positive it even gave us a smirk.

Sure, it won’t make it onto your Instagram posts next to your millennial pink products, but this anti-acne cream is the unsung hero of beauty products. It’s time we start celebrating products that aren’t necessarily aesthetically beautiful, but truly do what they claim. Here’s to throwing in this AcneFree Terminator spot treatment into the mix. It deserves ALL the love.

BUY AcneFree Terminator 10 HERE, $5