Best Serum for Acne: Dermatologist-Recommended Products You Can Use

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Having consistent acne breakouts means you have to be intentional and careful with your skincare. The breakout of spots and blackheads can be triggered by anything, therefore, you need a counteractive product like a serum for acne to help clear and prevent them.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, acne is one of the most common skin issues. It is a skin issue that could often make you feel shy in social gatherings or in your own space. It could also cause low self-esteem when it’s a major skin deterrent.

As a result, you need to constantly care for your skin. This is why serums for acne are essential if you have acne-prone skin. To help you get the right product, I am sharing the best serum for acne skin that dermatologists recommend to people.

These products on the list are based on sales data metrics and social media engagement research. They have the right ingredients to get your skin the smooth texture you desire.

1. Best Overall Serum for Acne

CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol Serum

This serum cares for your skin’s texture in the aftermath of adult or old acne scars. The serum refines your pores, brightens your skin, and improves the texture of your skin. The serum also shrinks your pores, reducing the sebum in your pores.

With time, the serum reduces the signs of scars and post-acne marks using encapsulated retinol formula to even out your skin tone. With the serum, you are getting a healthy formula that is parabens- and fragrance-free. Furthermore, it is non-comedogenic. It would not clog your pores.

2. Best Vitamin C Serum for Acne

Eva Naturals Vitamin C Serum

The serum comes with 2% retinol, 3.5% niacinamide, 5% hyaluronic acid, 2% salicylic acid, and 10% MSM. Therefore, the serum is fully packed and functioning. With the packed formula and 20% vitamin C, your skin clears and brightens in no time.

Vitamin C brightens the scars on your face, while retinol and hyaluronic acid hydrate and help in the generation of new skin cells, plumping the skin from within. And salicylic acid controls the pH level of your skin, controlling sebum production in the skin.

The serum is perfect for retaining your youthful skin and helping it to improve dramatically. It is a great skin repair formula for the evening and keeps your skin and pores in a healthy state.

You can also use it to correct skin spots and hyperpigmentation.

3. Best Serum for Acne-Prone Sensitive Skin

Evologie Intensive Blemish Serum

This is a hypoallergenic serum that helps to improve your skin tone and clears it of acne and dark spots. The serum contains benzoyl peroxide to dry up pimples and reduce sebum and dirt in your pores.

It also eases your inflamed and irritated skin, penetrating deep into the skin pores to soothe the skin. Furthermore, the serum provides an intensive solution that helps to give your skin the needed flush in clearing blemishes and spots.

You can use the serum if you want to clear your skin of all problem scars and dark spots.

4. Best Anti-Acne Serum

Mario Badescu Anti-Acne Serum

This serum contains salicylic acid that controls the rate of sebum in your skin pores. The serum also shrinks the size of your pores, smoothening your skin in the process.

Furthermore, the serum exfoliates your pores and reduces residues and congestion, thereby, reducing acne breakouts. This also keeps the pimples at bay.

In addition, glycerin acts as a hydrating magnet that draws moisture to your skin to keep it protected and supple. Use the serum before bed to tighten your skin pores and reduce acne breakouts.

5. Best Serum for Acne and Dark Spots

Beplain Centella Acne Serum

This hydrates and cleans the spots on your face with its hyaluronic acid and glycerin properties. The serum also contains nourishing properties that make it highly concentrated and effective in clearing dark spots in no time.

The serum contains Centella Asiatica which soothes irritated skin and helps in preparing and relieving the skin of irritation. Furthermore, it is lightweight that does not stick or glue the pores, rather it penetrates easily to nourish your skin.

You can use the serum to reduce and prevent acne formation on the surface of your skin. And because it is hypoallergenic, it is gentle on the skin.

6. Best Drugstore Serum for Acne

The Ordinary Retinol 1% With Squalane

The serum contains a skin healing and protecting formula that seeks to improve your overall skin tone and texture. The serum hydrates your skin and controls acne breakouts.

Furthermore, it works as an anti-aging serum that keeps the skin plump, retaining your youthful glow. If you are looking for an effective and inexpensive, this is the right serum for you. It is suitable for all skin types, most especially acne-prone.

7. Best Serum for Reducing Large Pores

Kate Blanc Tea Tree Serum for Acne-Prone Skin

The serum helps to reduce your sizeable pores to smaller ones by removing excess sebum and residue hiding in the pores. The serum contains salicylic acid, niacinamide, and retinol to help restore your skin’s smooth texture.

Additionally, it also has vitamins and hyaluronic acid to fight pimples and blemishes on the skin. Asides from this, the serum helps to support the skin in achieving overall health by improving skin cell turnover, unclogging pores, and shrinking it.

If you want a balanced product to protect your skin and reduce your visible pores, use this serum.

8. Best Serum for Acne-Prone Oily Skin

Dermatologica Retinol Clearing Oil Face Serum

This is a specialized serum used in clearing or reducing excess sebum on your face, thereby reducing breakouts. The serum is created to gently remove the oil on your skin with ingredients like salicylic acid.

Furthermore, the serum provides overnight nourishing properties to reveal healthy skin. And it helps in reducing the signs of aging. You should use the serum at night to get turned-over skin.

9. Best Anti-aging Acne Serum

LilyAna Naturals Retinol Serum

This provides a pure retinol formula to combat anti-aging and acne signs on your skin. The serum easily reduces spots and scars on your skin, revealing new and glowing skin.

In addition, the serum accelerates skin cell turnover, providing the necessary ingredient in keeping your skin nourished. With the serum, you can control inflammation and skin hydration. Plus, it is vegan and not harmful to your skin.

If you want to revive your skin and give it the glow it needs, use this serum.

10. Best Serum for Acne and Hyperpigmentation

Divulge AHA Mandelic Acid Gel

This is an exfoliating formula that works to remove tough scars and acne marks on the skin. The serum also improves overall skin health and complexion, striving to even the color of your skin.

Furthermore, it diminishes the appearance of a scar in a gradual process. In addition, it is soothing and refreshing on the skin. You can use the serum if you want to improve your skin’s color and appearance.

11. Best Serum for Cystic Acne

DRMTLGY Acne Spot Treatment and Cystic Acne Treatment

The serum is designed to treat and improve your skin covered with moderate to serious acne like cystic acne. The treatment contains glycolic and micronized benzoyl peroxide to reduce pimples and breakouts.

The serum also dissolves sebum clogging your pores and balances it, reducing the rate of future acne breakouts. The serum is suitable for all skin types that experience heavy breakouts and inflammation.

You can use the serum regularly to remove signs of acne and its darkening spots.

12. Best Serum for Acne Scars

Sunkissed Face Serum

With vitamin C and hyaluronic acid as active ingredients, the serum works to remove acne scars and signs of aging with its hydrating and skin-rejuvenating formula. The serum is easy on the skin and does not leave any greasy aftereffects.

Furthermore, the serum helps to retain the plumpness of your skin while healing the scars. The serum comes highly recommended and helps to improve over skin outlook, including dull skin that needs lifting. You can use the serum regularly to get a natural skin tone.

13. Best Serum for Hormonal Acne

Differin Acne Treatment Gel

This provides a gentle formula for your acne-prone sensitive skin. With its 0.1% adapalene property, the formula aids skin cell turnover and treats the cause of acne, and closes the pores.

Furthermore, it reduces inflammation in the skin and improves your natural skin tone. The formula is non-comedogenic and would not clog your pores, rather it reduces the sebum and residues clogging your pores.

You can use the alcohol-, oil-, and fragrance-free formula in your morning and evening skincare routine to rejuvenate your skin back to its natural texture. Plus, it is fast-acting; your skin gets a rework in a short period.

How to Pick Serum for Acne

Skin type

This is the cardinal rule to follow when choosing your serum for acne. You have to pick the right one designed for your skin. For instance, sensitive skin should pick hypoallergenic serums to soothe the inflammation and redness on the skin.

Meanwhile, oily skin should pick oil-free formulas that are also lightweight and easily dissolvable formulas.

However, your serum should be non-comedogenic, no matter your skin type. This is because the skin pores need to be free and unclogged as much as possible to avoid buildups, which in turn cause breakouts.


Acne-treating ingredients you should look out for in serums include retinol, vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, glycolic acid, salicylic acid, niacinamide, and others. These ingredients work differently in exfoliating, improving cell turnover, plumping the skin, balancing pH levels, and controlling sebum.

Furthermore, pick serums that contain antioxidants to soothe the skin and improve the lipid barrier and protection. This is to avoid sun damage and external aggressors penetrating the skin.

Acne type

This is also essential because it guides the formula or efficacy of the serum you pick. Knowing you have either a mild case or severe acne would help in determining what serum to get. Acne ranges according to how serious it is.

The following are the types of acne on the face:

  • Blackheads are the mildest form of acne and are bumps that rise when there is excess oil and dead skin in the pores. The blackheads are compiled dirt; however, the darkness is due to the unbalanced light reflection against the open pores.
  • Whiteheads are closed dead skin and oil bumps rose on the skin surface without an unbalanced reflection. The pores are usually closed.
  • Papules are acne types that look reddish or pinkish in color. They are caused by the bursting of the walls surrounding the pores, which causes inflammation in the skin.
  • Pustules also happen due to the breaking down of the skin walls, however, the breaking brings out pus. In addition, the pus rises to the surface, with a thin yellow or white skin forming the top cover.
  • Nodules are bumps that can grow larger when the pores are clogged, thereby causing a deep and painful irritation or growth on the skin.
  • Cysts are caused by a combination of bacteria, dead skin cells, and sebum. When these three clog the pores, it creates a bump in the skin surface with a red or white top. Cysts are painful and large. They usually require medical consultation and treatment.

These acne types are from mild to severe, therefore, you should use serums that can treat each case. Also, pick products with the right ingredients to treat each case.

Opaque bottle

Naturally, serums come in opaque bottles to avoid the components oxidizing. Therefore, pick products that come in dense bottles to protect the contents. Furthermore, store your serum in a cool dark place to avoid air weakening the serum.


Will acne serum darken your skin?

No, it won’t. Serums for acne are designed to brighten and treat your skin of all forms of dark spots, scars, and hyperpigmentation. As a result, they help to improve skin tone rather than darken it.

When should you see a dermatologist to treat acne?

When you see no positive results. You should see a dermatologist after trying OTC (over-the-counter) products to treat your acne. They will prescribe a suitable medication to treat your skin condition.

Usually, people see dermatologists to treat acne-like cysts and nodules that are large and deeply rooted in the skin.

Is acne life-threatening?

No, they are not. Acne is not life-threatening in any way. Asides from putting a dent in your skincare and social life, acne will not put you in a life-threatening position.

Nonetheless, you should see a dermatologist if your acne is persistent and not reducing or healing. There are cases of underlining health conditions showing acne symptoms, therefore, you need a checkup to thoroughly ascertain your situation.


When you experience more than an average recurrence of acne, you need to get your skin armed and protected. Using a serum for acne with antioxidant properties will help fight the dirt and excess oil lodged in your skin pores.

This is why I would recommend CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol Serum and Differin Acne Treatment for average to serious cases of acne for clear skin and face. Meanwhile, Eva Naturals Vitamin C Serum is packed with essential ingredients to clear the skin of hyperpigmentation and aging signs.

However, you can use other serums on this list if you have specific concerns with your acne. For instance, your skin type should play a part in your selection. Also, knowing what type of acne you have would help in selecting the right product.

When you have the right conditions and products, then you can get the best out of the serum for the acne you have chosen.

Thanks for reading.

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