I'm in my mid-30s and still get monthly (hormonal) breakouts. They're nothing like they were 20 years ago, but they bother me, nonetheless. I'd been using some products from the drugstore, and they worked, but they were overly drying.
I was interested to see that the Evologie Stay Clear Cream ($62) contains azelaic acid. When I was in college, my dermatologist had me on a prescription azelaic acid cream — so there’s medical science to back this ingredient up. A quick web search indicates that azelaic acid is used to treat several inflammatory skin conditions in addition to acne including rosacea, and that it is used to treat skin pigmentation issues, as well. (Please note that azelaic acid is found in wheat, rye, and barley. I’m not sure where this ingredient is sourced from in this product, but this cream may not be gluten free, if you are allergic to or sensitive to gluten.)
Evologie Stay Clear Cream also contains salicylic acid, which will be familiar from many anti-acne products that can be purchased from drugstores. Thus, this product has a couple of known, effective, breakout-fighting ingredients. (It also has willow bark extract, which is going to add more salicylic acid.) Isopropyl myristate may help both these components absorb through the skin.
When I received this cream, I saw that it was advertised as containing moisturizers (glycerin being the primary one). I decided to test out the moisturizing capability by discontinuing use of my normal moisturizer. This was a risk during the wintertime (I have combination skin with an oily T-zone and dry cheeks) because I am outside a lot walking my dog. However, I am pleased to report that my skin has not been dry at all since I started using this a little over a month ago.
This product is not perfect with respect to its breakout-fighting powers, although it is pretty good. I did still break out a little bit but the breakouts were not as extensive as they would have been without the Stay Clear Cream. Also, I think the severity was decreased and my skin healed more quickly. You may have even better results if you also use the cleanser from the same manufacturer, as I think they are designed to work together (I did not test that out, though). Additionally, as discussed above, this product was non-drying. If you have problems with benzoyl peroxide and similar treatments, this will be gentler on your skin and may well be worth a try.
I love that this doesn't contain any artificial fragrances or dyes. There are some plant pigments with antioxidant activity (lycopene, astaxanthin) and extracts, although the cream is white in color. I've been using it twice a day for a month and have had no sensitivity-type reactions. However, if you have extremely sensitive skin or an inflammatory condition, you would probably want to do a patch test first. Can’t be too careful! The product comes in a metered pump that gives you just enough to cover your face (no waste, which is important since this costs a bit more than similar products).
Here's how I work this into my skin care routine. First, I use a cleanser, then a toner, then (in the evening) a serum, and finally this cream. I remember from my college days that my dermatologist stressed allowing my face to dry completely before applying the azelaic acid treatment I was using at the time. I decided to heed that advice with this product, as well, and so far, it's been working for me.
I'd recommend this for people with sensitive skin and mild-to-moderate breakouts, especially those who can't handle some of the stronger anti-acne products marketed for teenagers. Since it's moisturizing in addition to fighting breakouts, it's like getting two products in one.