Acne is a frustrating condition that effects most of us throughout our lives. It has an annoying tendency to pop up at the worst possible time; just before that big date or important job interview. The next time you are looking to fight back using an over-the-counter product, look out for these 5 key ingredients that fight acne.
Acne Fighting Ingredients
A favourite acne-fighting ingredient among many dermatologists, salicylic acid is great for treating acne because it helps dissolve all the nasties that lurk in your skin pores and clog them up.
Salicylic acid will penetrate deep into your skin pores and help clear out all the dirt, bacteria, toxins, and excess oils that encourage inflammation and acne. It can dissolve these keratin plugs that block the pores and by doing so help to reduce the risk of those annoying pimples appearing.
Thanks to its great properties, salicylic acid is particularly effective at fighting and treating whiteheads and blackheads. If this type of acne is your main concern, then look for salicylic acid on the ingredients list.
Benzoyl peroxide is a well-known and popular OTC treatment for mild to moderate acne. It works by reducing the level of acne causing bacteria in the skin, and also by aiding the skin pores to get rid of excess oil (sebum) and dead skin cells.
It’s most effective against inflammatory types of acne and is usually applied on top of a pimple and left overnight to do its thing.
One issue with Benzoyl Peroxide is that it can dry out your skin. To counter this you should always follow up with a moisturizer to re-hydrate your skin and minimize negative side-effects.
Nicinamide is a superstar ingredient that has been getting a lot of positive PR in the last couple of years. It’s a powerful antioxidant and a form of vitamin B3 with versatile benefits including helping to fight acne.
As a water-soluble vitamin, niacinamide partners with natural substances in your skin and can help to:
- Strengthen your skin’s natural barrier
- Promote collagen production
- Reduce inflammation
- Minimize dark spots
- Improve uneven skin tone
- Visibly reduce fine lines and wrinkles
The reduction of inflammation and dark spots in particular are really beneficial towards fighting acne.
Another skin care hero and ingredient loved by dermatologists is retinol. It's a powerful form of vitamin A with many benefits, but just be aware that due to its potency it can take your skin a little while to get used to it.
The benefits of retinol for your skin include:
- Smooths your skin
- Stimulate collagen and elastin production
- Help reduce pigmentation
- Plump up fine lines and wrinkles
- Increases cell turnover
If you are suffering from acne, retinol’s ability to stimulate cell turnover is particularly helpful as it helps push healthy cells to the surface of the skin and get the dead ones off. Getting rid of the dead old, dead skin cells will help clear out your pores and the new, healthy cells will improve the appearance of the skin.
AHA’s (Alpha Hydroxy Acids)
Popular examples of AHA’s include glycolic acid and lactic acid. AHA’s can be natural or synthetic, but most are derived from organic sugars or sugar-containing fruits. Glycolic acid is from sugar cane and lactic acid from the sugar in mil for example.
The benefits of using good AHA’s include:
- Smooth skin texture
- Exfoliate the skin
- Get rid of dead skin cells
- Reduce fine lines and dark spots
- Promote skin cell turnover
Alpha hydroxy acids are a great ingredient for treating acne because by helping get rid of the dead skin cells. This reduces the risk of clogged pores and bacteria build up that causes acne in the first place.
Whilst there is no magic cure for acne that works immediately, using premium products that contain a safe combination of the 5 ingredients mentioned in this post will greatly increase your chances of treating and preventing acne successfully.
You can also help lower your chances of developing by making healthy lifestyle choices. For more on this check out our post on how to prevent acne.
If nothing seems to work and your acne persists then it’s time to get professional advice from a qualified dermatologist.