Retinoids: Normalize cell turnover, which helps reduce breakouts by preventing dead skin cells from clogging pores
Niacinamide: Powerhouse ingredient that improves epidermal barrier function and reduces sebum excretion rate (though it's not FDA-approved for treating acne)
Sulfur*: Certified acne treatment that absorbs excessive oil
*Oral sulfa allergies are fairly common, so if you have any allergies, especially a sulfa allergy, it's important to talk to your doc before using any products that contain sulfur.
If you've tried these and haven't seen results, you might want to talk to your doctor about birth control pills, topical or oral antibiotics, or spironolactone (off-label). Severe and scarring acne may require oral isotretinoin.
The stress acne can cause is real. Just because topical treatments didn't solve anything doesn't mean you've failed. Trial and error is part of the process of finding what works.