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Sometimes, your skin needs help from the best pimple cream in Malaysia 2021!

It seems that just about anything can cause a pesky breakout (e.g. period, stress, pollution, etc)!

So instead of feeling helpless and frustrated, you can apply the best acne cream or acne treatment. To speed up the recovery process!

How To Choose The Best Acne Cream

Whether you get yours OTC (over the counter) or online, here are some guidelines on how to select an acne cream for your skin!

1. Ingredients

Make sure that the acne cream has the right ingredients (*1)!

Ingredients To Look Out For:

  • Benzoyl peroxide (5 up to 10%) – don’t start at the highest!
  • Salicylic acid (5 to 2%)
  • Resorcinol
  • Alpha hydroxy acids (e.g. glycolic acid and lactic acid)
  • Sulfur

The first two help to treat acne. While alpha hydroxyl acids, resorcinol and sulfur act as exfoliants to remove dead skin cells. Which can clog up your pores!

At the same time, this encourages the growth of new skin.

2. Cause Of Acne

To better determine which is the best acne treatment in Malaysia for you, here are some examples:

On how to pair products with the cause and symptoms of your acne (*2)!

  • Cluster of pimples in an area (Cause: hormonal) – A facial cleanser with salicylic acid and a spot treatment with benzoyl peroxide
  • Occasional random whitehead (Cause: clogged pores) – Spot treatment with salicylic acid
  • Blackheads (Cause: clogged pores) – Exfoliation and a cleanser with salicylic acid
  • Angry pus-filled pimples or small red pimples that do not become whiteheads (Cause: bacterial inflammation) – benzoyl peroxide cream
  • Blind pimples, usually painful (Cause: bacterial inflammation) – Spot treatment with salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide

If your pimple is huge and very painful (and usually in a recurring spot), that may be a sign of cystic acne.

Your best course of action is to see your dermatologist!

3. Skin Type

Acne creams are typically drying. So follow the product directions accordingly. Putting more doesn’t mean the acne will go away faster!

In general:

Oily Skin – Avoid oils (petroleum or essential); choose foaming cleansers, light gels and lotions, astringents like tea tree oil

Normal to Dry Skin – Leave out alcohol; stick to thicker creams and SLS-free (no foam) cleansers

9 Best Acne Creams In Malaysia 2021

This is our own opinion and does not replace the advice given by your healthcare professional.

  • Best For Mild-To Moderate Acne – Hiruscar Anti-Acne Spot Gel+
  • Best For Serious Acne – Differin Gel Adapalene Gel 0.1% Acne Treatment
  • Best For Sensitive Skin With Acne – La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo (+) Acne Spot Treatment, Eucerin ProACNE Solution A.I. Clearing Treatment
  • Best For Combination Skin With Acne – The Inkey List Succinic Acid Acne Treatment
  • Best For Dry Skin With Acne – COSRX AC Collection Ultimate Spot Cream Overnight Magic For Acne
  • Best For Oily Skin With Acne – Papulex Oil-free Cream For Acne Prone Skin

1. La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo (+) Acne Spot Treatment – Oily Acne-Prone Skin (40ml)

La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo (+) Acne Spot has a unique formulation with benzoyl peroxide to penetrate deeper into your pores!

However, this spot treatment formula with AHAs and BHAs is still gentle enough for sensitive skin! Multiple users with sensitive skin do not appear to experience any form of irritation or redness.

Other than being suitable for sensitive skin types:

This product is recommended for those with blackheads and whiteheads too!

Users are impressed with this product as it clears up their acne rapidly. Some even notice overnight results!

On the other hand, there are a few users with dry skin who remark that the treatment irritates their skin.

And some users did not observe any improvement. Furthermore, a small minority find that the product seems to aggravate their acne condition.  

La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo (+) Acne Spot Treatment - Oily Acne-Prone Skin
  • Size: 40ml
  • Suitable For: Acne-prone Skin
  • Key Ingredients: Glycerin, Niacinamide, Salicylic Acid (0.5%)
  • Price: ~RM99

Pros:

Cons:

2. OXY 10 Acne Treatment

For fast results, you can easily pick up the potent OXY 10 Acne Treatment from drug stores in Malaysia. As long as you already know that your skin is okay with 10% benzoyl peroxide!

Expect the acne (and surrounding skin) to dry up soon after using this product! You may want to stay away from this if you have very sensitive skin!

As this product dries up excessive sebum, only those with oilier skin should give this a go! For these skin types, the product can also hinder acne-causing bacteria and unblock pores.

In addition, there’s no need to fret about any residue left on the skin. As this product absorbs completely into the skin!

This cream has worked wonders for those with stubborn acne! They comment that it helps to clear up their acne and prevent breakout recurrences!

For those with dry or sensitive skin, you have been warned! Users with these skin types experience flaking due to skin dryness.

OXY 10 Acne Treatment
  • Size: 10g, 25g
  • Suitable For: Acne-prone Skin
  • Key Ingredients: Benzoyl Peroxide (10%)
  • Price: ~RM10 – 24

Pros:

Cons:

3. Murad Outsmart Acne Clarifying Treatment

Murad Outsmart Acne Clarifying Treatment soothes the skin gently (has allantoin) without drying it out!

It’s most effective on hormonal acne and small blemishes! If you have cystic acne, this is not for you!

Generally, the brand recommends this product for oily, sensitive, normal or combination skin types.

According to reviews, users label this product as a miracle gel! It surprises them with its effectiveness to diminish blemishes, to smooth and clear up their complexion!

Most wait about a week or two before visible improvements can be seen. And they love that it does not excessively dry or their irritate skin!

Users do advise that you may experience acne getting worse first (purging), but this goes away with continuous use.

Those with more serious acne conditions did not notice much improvement. Moreover, some users experienced side effects like burning and tingling of the skin, inflammation, and red patches after application!

Murad Outsmart Acne Clarifying Treatment
  • Size: 50ml
  • Suitable For: Acne-prone Skin
  • Key Ingredients: Salicylic Acid (1%), Niacinamide, Glycolic Acid, Soybean Seed Extract, Citric Acid, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E)
  • Price: ~RM258

Pros:

Cons:

4. Eucerin ProACNE Solution A.I. Clearing Treatment

Pairing salicylic acid with glycolic acid:

The Eucerin ProACNE Solution A.I. Clearing Treatment works for minor breakouts. If you have sensitive skin, you can give this one a shot!

It may benefit your skin in several ways:

From controlling sebum production, preventing future breakouts and improving skin texture. To diminishing your whiteheads, inflamed pimples, and blackheads.

Unfortunately, it does little for more serious acne cases!

Reviewers who struggle with frequent breakouts are pleased with this cream. It has soothed and reduced the redness of their pimples. And gotten rid of acne scars for some!

Its effect is quite the opposite for another group of users, though. Some did not reap any benefits at all, and others realized the product was exacerbating their acne condition!

Eucerin ProACNE Solution A.I. Clearing Treatment
  • Size: 40ml
  • Suitable For: Acne-prone Skin
  • Key Ingredients: Glycyrrhiza Inflata Root Extract, Salicylic Acid, Gluconolactone, Glycolic Acid, Panthenol
  • Price: ~RM75

Pros:

Cons:

5. Papulex Oil-free Cream For Acne Prone Skin

Papulex Oil-free Cream For Acne Prone Skin doesn’t rely on the usual salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide combo present in most of the best acne creams in Malaysia:

The formula uses niacinamide and benzoic acid (antiseptic properties) to clear up your skin over time! And the manufacturer notes that it is suitable for all skin types! Including oily, dry, or combination skin.

However, based on some users’ opinions, it can be too harsh for drier skin types. Hence, it’s best for day time use (and oily skin types) since it is quite drying!

Generally, most users are happy with the results, though improvement is usually seen after 4-6 weeks.

From what reviews say, the acne cream calms down red, aggravated pimples. And helps with oil and shine control!

Papulex Oil-free Cream For Acne Prone Skin
  • Size: 40ml
  • Suitable For: Acne-prone Skin
  • Key Ingredients: Niacinamide, Butylene Glycol, Benzoic Acid, Zinc PCA
  • Price: ~RM49

Pros:

Cons:

6. Hiruscar Anti-Acne Spot Gel+

Another drugstore acne treatment product in Malaysia that uses both citric acid (in the form of the stable ethyl ascorbic acid) and salicylic acid to improve your skin texture:

Use it for an overnight treatment on pimples! A few applications (3-4 days) should do the trick to clear the occasional spot! A thin layer for each application will suffice to avoid drying out the skin (e.g. peeling and dry flakes).

The texture is light, and it disappears completely into the skin, leaving no sticky residue! But the peculiar scent may put you off. As it resembles the smell of UHU glue according to a few users.

Most user reviews are positive, complimenting the efficacy in reducing marks and scars! Users with mild blemishes observe that their pimples disappear within a few days.

But it may take 1 to 2 weeks to work if you have bigger pimples or a wider area affected by acne.

Take note that it does not work for everyone! Critics mention that no changes can be seen, even after weeks of application.

Hiruscar Anti-Acne Spot Gel+
  • Size: 10g
  • Suitable For: Acne-prone Skin
  • Key Ingredients: Salicylic Acid, Citric Acid, Butylene Glycol, Propylene Glycol, Allantoin
  • Price: ~RM27

Pros:

Cons:

7. Differin Gel Adapalene Gel 0.1% Acne Treatment

Adapalene is the main active ingredient in the Differin Gel Adapalene Gel 0.1% Acne Treatment. This is a type of retinoid. Used in the treatment of acne vulgaris for ages 12 and above.

Even so, it takes 6-12 weeks to see any optimum results from this preventative treatment! You only need to use a thin layer and if you have body acne, you can use this on it too.

With over 29,000 ratings on Amazon, this gel has achieved 4.5 out of 5 stars! It is definitely an all-time favorite among users.

Here’s what many reviews mention:

It is effective for terrible acne cases, but it takes a lot of patience and time.

Initially, many users undergo a ‘purging’ phase, where this product exacerbated their acne. After the first few weeks, they notice improvements.

Many users’ advice is to stick with the product for at least 2 to 3 months, before crossing it out completely.

Note: It can however, leave your skin sensitive and vulnerable to sunlight. So, ask your healthcare provider on which sunblock is most suitable to protect your skin during the treatment.

Another great tip from one user is to wait at least 20 minutes after cleansing your face. Before you start applying the Differin gel. This might make all the difference!

Differin Gel Adapalene Gel 0.1% Acne Treatment
  • Size: 15g
  • Suitable For: Acne-prone Skin
  • Key Ingredients: Adapalene (0.1%), Propylene Glycol
  • Price: ~RM95

Pros:

Cons:

8. COSRX AC Collection Ultimate Spot Cream Overnight Magic For Acne

The tea tree oil may not suit sensitive skin but other ingredients in the COSRX AC Collection Ultimate Spot Cream Overnight Magic For Acne are low risk!

It uses calamine to help dry out blemishes. In combination with calming ingredients like aloe and madecassic acid (part of the CentellAC-Rx Complex in the formula)!

If you have drier skin, you can try this one as an acne spot treatment! As it has a thick creamy consistency. A little goes a long way!

Users attest to the fact that it does not dry out the skin. If you don’t use too much, of course!

It is an effective way to tackle those pesky zits that pop up from time to time. Most users have to apply it for a few consecutive days before any improvements are noticed.

COSRX AC Collection Ultimate Spot Cream Overnight Magic For Acne
  • Size: 30g
  • Suitable For: Acne-prone Skin
  • Key Ingredients: Zinc Oxide, Tea Tree Leaf Oil, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Water
  • Price: ~RM85

Pros:

Cons:

9. The Inkey List Succinic Acid Acne Treatment

There are 3 active ingredients in The Inkey List Succinic Acid Acne Treatment:

Succinic acid (2%) for oil control and clearing pores (and keeping them clear), together with salicylic acid (1%) and sulfur (2%) to target common skin blemishes!

There are several reasons why many label it as a ‘miracle product’ for spot treatment. Firstly, it does not dry out their skin. And it shrinks pimples and zits very effectively in merely a few days!

Without irritating sensitive skin too!

Unfortunately, some critics reveal that it can cause heightened breakouts due to purging. And the smell is detestable. Several users could not tolerate it at all.

And while it helps to cancel out redness due to inflammation:

Some users describe the green tint to be too bright and strong, causing them to resemble ‘Shrek’. The color can be hard to blend as well. But this is issue is avoidable if you only use a little.

In short, The Inkey List Succinic Acid Acne Treatment works. But if you don’t want to risk having a bad-smelling product applied near your nose, you’re better off trying something else from this list!

The Inkey List Succinic Acid Acne Treatment
  • Size: 15ml
  • Suitable For: Acne-prone Skin
  • Key Ingredients: Salicylic Acid, Malachite Extract, Glycerin, Squalane, Sodium Hyaluronate
  • Price: ~RM50

Pros:

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Tips On How To Use Acne Treatment Products

1. Using Benzoyl Peroxide Correctly

When using benzoyl peroxide for the first time, take it slow. And be patient. Gradually increasing the frequency of application too! To ease your skin into it (*3)!

It is also recommended to check if you are allergic to the medication the first time you use it. Do this by applying minimal amounts of the cream to one of two small areas with acne for three days.

The same product may come in other versions to accommodate different levels of benzoyl peroxide (and acne severity). 2.5% is usually good enough.

Remember, more doesn’t mean better! And only apply the gel or cream to the affected areas.

Side notes on benzoyl peroxide:

  • If your acne is particularly stubborn, you may want to try another active ingredient. Ask your pharmacist which medication is the most suitable for your condition. Some medications may require a specialist or doctor’s prescription.
  • It’s normal for acne to look worse before it gets better. Not always but that is a possibility
  • It can take as long as 3 months for acne to clear up
  • Be wary of bleaching your favorite bed linen or clothes when you use benzoyl peroxide!
  • Do not use this medication on broken skin (*4).
  • Cease the product immediately if the treated area becomes swollen. Or if blisters form. If you experience difficulty breathing, seek medical attention at once.
  • Your skin may become more sensitive to sunlight. Seek advice from your pharmacist on the best non-comedogenic sunscreen to protect your skin.

2. Have A Consistent Routine

Wash your face twice a day, with an oil-free, water-based moisturizer. And no scrubbing! That includes rubbing your face on a towel, pat gently instead (*5)!

And after you apply your acne treatment (twice a day should be enough):

Give it a few minutes to soak in before applying any other products on top.

If you wear makeup, clean your tools regularly! And do not share your tools or make-up with other people!

3. Other Good Habits To Discourage Acne

  • Avoid oily (potentially comedogenic) ingredients in your cosmetics, sunscreens, and hair care
  • Always remove all makeup before bed
  • Resist the temptation to pick at, or squeeze blemishes – infection or scarring may result
  • Don’t touch your face, especially with your hands
  • Reduce the amount of products you put on your face, at least till the breakout clears
  • Change your pillow cases, towels, and bed linen regularly
  • more habits to stop

Conclusion

Whatever level your acne is at, you can get the best acne cream in Malaysia 2021 for it!

However, to ensure the product is safe for you:

Always patch test first. And consult your doctor or pharmacist for advice on how to treat serious acne!

If you have scars from acne, you could try scar removal cream.

Or get yourself specialist help from some of the best acne scar treatment centers in Malaysia.

PS: If you want to cover up acne scars, check out this post for the best makeup foundation in Malaysia!

Jasmine Chiam

A student in the Pharmacy field. Loves writing and wanted to do something related to medicine but did not personally want to be a doctor. Her passion for writing sparked again and somehow drew her towards content writing. An avid gamer and music-lover who is crazy about salmon and sushi. Dreams to visit Japan one day (for the salmon), hopefully with her own hard-earned money.