Hey there! If you have pimples and you’d like to discover which are the best ingredients for acne, keep on reading! In this post I’ll share the top skincare ingredients for soothing and treating acne and acne-prone skin.
My name is Jazmin and I’m a low-waste, eco-conscious beauty blogger, and I also run an Instagram account dedicated to all things skincare. I also have acne, which I talk about often here on my blog and on my Instagram account.
I know how annoying, uncomfortable and embarrassing acne can be, so that’s why I want to help you heal your spots and get clearer skin. There are lots of ingredients out there that can help improve acne, but some are more effective for certain types of acne. So, let’s get into it together and find out what ingredients are going to help you and your type of acne.
This is also called non-inflammatory. When pores become blocked with oil, dust, skin cells and other debris, they can form closed or open comedones. Closed comedones are the type that form pimples. These are very small, and they may or may not have a small whitehead. These usually aren’t painful or swollen (although might be a bit itchy and uncomfortable).
Although it can be hard to identify what type of acne you have, this acne tends to crop up on the oily parts of the face, which tends to be the T-zone: the forehead, chin and cheeks.
Ingredients that help comedonal acne
This type of acne responds very well to ingredients that are going to help unclog the pores. But with acne, it’s also really important to make sure your skin isn’t being overly stripped by other products you might be using, and it can be beneficial to use soothing ingredients to keep your skin balanced. These are my top picks for comedonal acne:
- Salicylic acid– this Beta Hydroxy Acid gets into the pores and over time, will help to break down the debris and oils that are getting trapped and causing pimples.
- Niacinamide– much loved by many people with acne, this ingredient is fab at reducing oil production (thus making future breakouts less likely), and it also helps to restore the skin barrier and fade acne scars.
None of these ingredients are better than the other, so it’s up to you to experiment and see what works best for you!
This type of acne is deeper in the skin than your typical whiteheads, or non-inflammatory/comedonal acne. When blocked pores become infected, you get inflamed spots. They often have a very angry appearance, meaning they can be very red and swollen, and may sometimes just stay under the skin as a hard, painful lump. If they have a whitehead, it’ll typically be on the larger side. This acne very often hurts, and can be very tender to the touch. Some people only get one or two inflammatory pimples at any given time, whereas other people get many (cystic acne).
Inflammatory acne is also caused by blocked pores (which become infected), but there is often a hormonal element to the acne, too. When the cause of inflammatory acne is hormonal, it’s common to see it along the jaw line and chin (especially in women!) This is why I always say that acne is no-one’s fault. You don’t get acne because you don’t do enough skincare or because you’re not hygienic! Acne often crops up without a visible cause, and it can be difficult to treat.
Ingredients that help inflammatory acne
Like comedonal acne, skincare ingredients that are going to help unclog pores are beneficial for those with inflammatory acne. But, inflammatory acne often requires stronger ingredients than those for comedonal acne. I also find that soothing and calming ingredients, or those that help restore the skin barrier, are really great when you have this type of acne. This is because they can help to calm your already irritated skin, and prevent your skin from getting overly dry from the use of acne-targeting skincare.
- Salicylic acid– This may help inflammatory acne, but it is not as effective for treating it as the other ingredients listed below.
- Benzoyl peroxide– Similarly to salicylic acid, this powerful antiseptic ingredient really helps improve acne by reducing the amount of bacteria on your skin, which make blocked pores become infected and lead to the painful pimples.
- Retinoids– Because inflammatory acne is a little more tricky to treat than comedonal acne, you might have to bring out the big guns. Retinoids, or vitamin A, are very strong ingredients which literally get under the skin to increase cell turnover rate and unblock pimples. The stronger, more effective forms of this are prescription-only, but Adapalene or Differin is available over the counter in the US, and is easy to get in the UK after a doctor’s consultation.
- Madecassoside– This is a product of centella asiatica, a skin calming and soothing plant extract. When you have inflammatory acne, I’m sure your skin will be calling out for something to help soothe it, and bring down the irritation that your acne is feeling.
- Green tea extract– This is another skin soothing ingredient that I personally love! I find that it really helps when my skin is feeling particularly sensitive or inflamed.
In my opinion, these are the best ingredients for acne-prone skin! When dealing with acne, it’s not only important to treat the acne, but making sure your skin is hydrated and soothed is also important. The easiest ingredients to add into your routine are definitely salicylic acid and niacinamide, as well as the soothing ingredients madecassoside and green tea extract. Even though retinoids and benzoyl peroxide can be really strong, they definitely are very beneficial for improving acne!
As usual, if you have any questions, please leave them below! I hope this post helps.