Breakouts on a Budget: 6 Tips for Dealing with Acne on the Cheap

Hello Beauties!

Hope your Wednesday is going well!

Today I’m tackling a topic near and repulsive dear to my heart: how to work with sensitive, breakout prone skin when you’re on a budget.


Breakouts suck. I don't want to  have to pay a million dollars to deal with them either.

Breakouts suck. I don’t want to have to pay a million dollars to deal with them either.

I’ve had terrible skin for the past 10 years. (An anniversary that is not fun to celebrate.) Or better put, my skin goes through cycles where it hates life and I have tons of acne and oily days.

Unfortunately for me, this is a combination of genes, hormones, and the environment that I live. (Humid, urban areas are apparently super conducive to oily skin.) So until my skin decides to be cool, it’s an issue I have to deal with.

Through the years, and working closely with my dermatologist, I’ve found some tips and affordable products that work for me. Hopefully, this post can help others who have the same frustrating skin issues.

Tip #1: See a dermatologist. 

So I’m kinda cheating with this one. But seriously, if you are struggling with your skin, stop trying out blog post magazine tips and products that may or may not work and RUN, don’t walk, to a dermatologist. They are friendly people who can take one look at your skin and give you something that works for your specific issues.

However, I know not everyone has the means or desire to go to a dermatologist, so if this isn’t for you, keep reading.


Tip #2 Don’t wash your face with harsh or irritating products.

Boscia and Cetaphil

My dermatologist recommends only washing your face twice a day, with a gentle cleanser, and then patting dry, not wiping or scrubbing, with a towel. The reason for this is to prevent irritating your already angry skin, which causes inflammation and breakouts.

He’s not also a big fan of exfoliating washes because of the risk they run for further drying out skin and irritating it. This also includes products with benzoyl peroxide or salycylic acid in them. If you have sensitive skin like me, these can easily create more problems for you.

Therefore, my favorite budget cleanser is Cetaphil’s Daily Facial Cleanser. I use the one for normal to oily skin, but they also have one for all skin types that is a bit more moisturizing. I buy this from Target for about $7-9.

I also recently splurged with a Sephora gift card my bestie gave me, and bought Boscia’s Purifying Cleansing Gel for $26. This is a huge splurge for me, but I’ve been enjoying how gentle it is.


Tip #3: Moisturize, even if you are oily and it feels like the last thing you want to do in the entire world.

Clinique and Cetaphil Moistruzier

I really struggled for years with this last tip, but I have since jumped on the moisturizer band wagon. The right moisturizer will help prevent breakouts by keeping your skin balanced, and not so dry that it gets irritated and inflamed, (are you seeing a trend here?). The wrong moisturizer will most likely make your face look like you could fry an egg on it.

I have found the best moisturizer for my evil skin is Clinique’s Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel, which runs about $26. ProTip: Wait until its Clinique Bonnus time and at least get some extra stuff your troubles.

BUT, a close second for me is Cetaphil’s Oil Control Moisturizer. It’s very lightweight and non-greasy. I also love that it has SPF 30 in it. At $14 at my Target, it’s not super cheap, but it’s about half the price of Clinique.


Tip #4: Blot, don’t powder, throughout the day.

Clean and Clear Oil Absorbing Sheets

Blotting helps to absorb excess oil and get a shine-free look. My current favorite are Clean and Clear’s Oil Absorbing Sheets, which you can get for $5-6 at your local drugstore.


Tip #5: In fact, try to be oil free whenever you can.

When I asked my dermatologist for recommendations on makeup brands to use that wouldn’t cause breakouts, he told me I could use anything I wanted as long as it was:

1. Oil-Free
2. Non-comedogenic 

e.l.f. oil free foundation

Using that criteria, I found I really like e.l.f’s Flawless Finish Foundation. At $6 it doesn’t break me out at all. I just need to make sure I set it with powder, or it won’t last as long.

Revlon Colorstay Foundation

I also like Revlon’s Colorstay Foundation, $10. This gives me great full coverage for up to 8 hours. This product doesn’t actually mention that it’s oil-free, but I haven’t had any problems with breakouts when using it.

Neutrogena Clear Face Sunscreen

The two rules the dermatologist told me about beauty products also apply to sunscreen. The only one I’ve found that doesn’t break me out is Neutrogena’s Clear Face Sunscreen, about $9. (Which I also use on my chest, since it can be prone to breakouts.)


Tip #6: It will take your skin time to adjust to a new treatment regimen. 

My dermatologist says skin regenerates in cycles, so it can take up to 6-8 weeks for treatments and products to start working on your skin. The more you mix and match products without waiting to see if they work, the more issues you are going to have. Try your best to be patient, even though you might be screaming to the heavens in frustration.


Again, I’m not a dermatologist, these are just tips and products that work for me. If you are really struggling with your skin, save yourself some grief and visit with a medical professional.

Questions of the Day:
-I’m on the hunt for a good CC Cream for acne prone skin, any recommendations?
-Do you have any budget products that work for you, or do you also splurge when it comes to skin?
-Do you also ask your dermatologist 3509409 questions?






Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s