The best skin care ingredients for acne-prone skin
Finding the right skincare products for acne-prone skin can be an absolute minefield, in fact it can be almost as frustrating as the acne itself. You want to use products that actually work, but on the other hand you don’t want formulas to aggravate your skin any further. It can also take a while for the ingredients to really show affect, leaving you in a vicious cycle.
That’s where this ingredient guide comes in handy. These proven acne-fighters have different properties and will be more suitable to certain skin types, which is why some deciphering is in order.
Read on for the total game-changers you need to try if you have acne-prone skin.
This is the one beta hydroxy acid you need in your arsenal if you have acne-prone skin. Since over-exfoliating can aggravate and inflame your skin type, salicylic acid is the perfect way to clear pores and achieve a smoother skin texture. It’s oil-soluble, meaning it penetrates through any oil on your skin and goes directly to your pores. It can be found in everything from spot treatments to cleansers for targeted or all-over care. If your skin leans on the sensitive side, the good news is this ingredient is pretty gentle.
bh loves: Dermalogica Active Clearing AGE Bright Clearing Serum, $130
Benzoyl peroxide has long been considered an effective treatment for acne, due to its anti-bacterial status and ability to kill bacteria. But be warned, a high concentration of it may dry out your skin, leading to irritation. It’s best to go for a lower concentration of around 2.5% to avoid any aggravation and redness.
bh loves: Natio Acne Purifying Spot Treatment
Unlike some of the ingredients on this list, niacinamide is relatively new but is getting more buzzworthy by the day. Derived of vitamin B, it’s renowned for strengthening the skin’s barrier, helping to protect against environmental factors, but most notably niacinamide is anti-inflammatory, making it a great option for acne-prone skin. It helps shrink spots, reduces oil and makes pores look less noticeable.
bh loves: La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo Plus, $32.99
This pungent ingredient has an off-putting smell (think rotten eggs) but it sure is effective on breakouts thanks to its anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties. Sulfur has been used for centuries in skin care and it absorbs oil, kills bacteria and exfoliates skin. One con is that it can be a little drying – if you find it makes your skin too tight, you can use it as a spot treatment rather than all-over.
bh loves: Mario Badescu Drying Lotion, $29
A vitamin A derivative, retinol can be pretty strong but extremely effective at accelerating cell turnover, clearing pores, improving skin discolouration and minimising further breakouts when used consistently. Also used for anti-ageing purposes, retinol is a fantastic all-rounder – there’s a reason beauty editors rave about it. There are prescription-strength retinoid acne treatments available, but also over-the-counter options which are generally weaker and therefore less likely to mess with dry or sensitive skin. When it comes to retinol, dermatologists will always advise to slowly build up strength to avoid irritation.
bh loves: Murad Advanced Acne & Wrinkle Reducer, $110
Tea tree oil
Although tea tree oil may not sound as advanced as salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide, the all-natural ingredient has a record of reducing acne-causing bacteria and minimising inflammation due to its anti-bacterial and anti-fungal qualities. Although tea tree oil is natural, it doesn’t automatically make it gentler. As it can potentially be irritating on sensitive skin, it’s best to look for skincare products with tea tree oil built in to really reap the rewards.
bh loves: The Body Shop Himalayan Charcoal Purifying Clay Wash, $28
Clay is more of an old-school acne treatment but one that shouldn’t be overlooked. Kaolin clay, in particular, is worth trying as it is considered one of the more mild clays and is suitable for drier skin types. It attracts oil, soaks up excess sebum and has clarifying properties to deeply clean the skin. Face masks is one beauty category where kaolin clay is absolutely rife.
bh loves: Swisse Manuka Honey Detoxifying Facial Mask, $19.99
What ingredients do you find help acne?