Dealing With Acne Prone Skin On a Budget

I recently posted all about how I cleared my acne and I got so many questions from people who are also struggling with acne. One of the main questions I got was whether I had affordable alternatives for some of the products I mentioned. This is totally understandable because first, not everyone has a crazy skincare budget (especially if you’re young) and second, we all want to save money wherever we can (I personally would rather go on vacation than spend all of my money on skincare). I decided to put together a post with all of my favorite affordable products that have worked wonders on my skin. Also, since I didn’t want to just recommend products that I thought would be good alternatives based on product descriptions, I actually put all of these products to the test the last two months (some of I’ve been using for way longer). By only using them I was able to actually see if they work just as well as my other products. So, if you want clear skin without breaking the bank, just keep on reading.

Products I Recommend and Why


CeraVe Hydrating Face Wash – Personally, I think that facial cleansers aren’t where you should splurge because they only stay on your face a maximum of one minute so you wouldn’t be getting ‘your bang for your buck’. Since I have dry skin, I reach for hydrating cleansers and this one has been my favorite so far. It isn’t drying (doesn’t leave my skin feeling tight) but removes any traces of makeup without leaving a greasy film. What else would you want from a cleanser?!


Pixi Glow Tonic or The Ordinary Glycol Acid 7% Toning Solution – These two products are very similar IMO! Both of them have glycolic acid which exfoliates and brightens the skin without causing irritation. By removing dead skin cells, dirt, and excess oils, your skin will be left looking smooth and your pores won’t get clogged as often. If you’re used to glycolic acid, I suggest The Ordinary toner because it has 7% glycolic acid while the Pixi Glow Tonic has 5%.


CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion – Moisturizing is important whether you have dry skin or oily skin (if your skin is dehydrated it starts overproducing oils which may cause acne). With that being said, if you have acne prone skin, your moisturizer has to hydrate your skin without clogging your pores and this lotion does just that. I’ve been using this lotion for 3 years now (in rotation with other ones) and it has never broken me out (it’s free of oils and irritating fragrances). The ceramides and hyaluronic acid restore the protective skin barrier while helping maintain moisture.

The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA – This is another one of my favorite moisturizers. It has no fragrances, silicone, oils, parabens, or alcohol (basically all irritants). The formula includes 11 amino acids, hyaluronic acid, ceramides, glycerin, and other ingredients that naturally support lasting hydration. It’s also fast absorbing and doesn’t leave a greasy film.


The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 – Hyaluronic acid supports the skins’ hydration because of its ability to carry about 5x its weight in water. So, if you need an extra boost of hydration, add a hyaluronic serum before your moisturizer (this one is my favorite). If you’re looking for a serum that adds hydration and has anti-aging benefits try The Ordinary “Buffet”.

Botanics All Bright Radiance Concentrate Serum – If you’ve had breakouts, you know that the worst part is dealing with the aftermath aka acne spots! Yes, those red spots that are no longer raised pimples and seem to last forever. The only way to get rid of these spots is through exfoliating which is why a serum with AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids) is helpful. It gently removes dead and damaged skin cells to reveal brighter skin. This serum is a great option if you have minimal to mild acne spots or just general pigmentation.

The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2% – Similar to an AHA or BHA serum in that it brightens skin, vitamin C treatments are the secret to an even skin tone and brighter skin. This one in particular has a very high concentration of vitamin C and should only be used by experienced vitamin C users because it may have a very strong tingling sensation otherwise. My favorite antioxidant blend is this product mixed with The Ordinary Resveratrol 3% + Ferulic Acid 3% (Resveratrol and Ferulic Acid are powerful natural plant-derived antioxidants). This combination has greatly minimized my acne scars and improved the look of my skin very much. I’d suggest reading more about both products on either their website or the Sephora website before purchasing them because their usage may be tricky.

Other acne products:

Burt’s Bees Maximum Strength Acne Spot Treatment – This is my new favorite spot treatment! I’ve been using it for two months and it gets rid of my pimples within 3-4 days without overdrawing my skin at all. Even though it says maximum strength, don’t let that mislead you to thinking it is harsh because it isn’t at all. This has replaced all my high-end spot treatments.

(Previously mentioned in my initial acne blog post)

  • Indian Healing Clay – This face mask unclogs pores and draws impurities out of your skin. It’s 100% bentonite clay that extracts impurities from your skin and unclogs pores. You mix the powder with either water or apple cider vinegar (I get better results with apple cider vinegar). I use this once a week to get rid of any makeup buildup that may have accumulated.

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