Best Ingredients for Acne Prone Skin

Tea tree oil is one of the best ingredients for acne-prone skin

Causes of Acne 

What Causes the Skin to Become Acne Prone?

How To Deal with Acne Prone Skin

The Recommended Regime for Oily Skin

Which Ingredients Are Best for Treating Acne?


In a sea of skincare options, selecting the right ingredients is crucial to address specific concerns while nurturing the skin. In this article, we discuss the best ingredients for acne-prone skin. Read more about the causes of acne, what causes the skin to become acne-prone, how to deal with acne-prone skin, the recommended regime for oily skin, and which ingredients are best for treating acne. 

Causes of Acne 

You probably know what causes acne and its effects. Needless to begin with another elaborate introduction, but for your basic understanding, acne is a common skin condition that happens when hair follicles become clogged with oil and dead skin cells. Acne may come in different sizes from small to large, with red bumps on the skin. This can even be painful and pus-filled in some cases. Causes of acne may vary from person to person and let us look at a few common causes of acne:

  • Age: Teenagers and young adults are commonly affected
  • Excess sebum or oil production
  • Accumulation of dead skin cells
  • Bacterial infection of the follicle
  • Changes in hormonal levels as noted during puberty or pregnancy
  • Certain medications such as corticosteroids and lithium
  • Diet: Foods with high sugar content, dairy products, etc. may trigger/worsen acne
  • Stress
  • Family history
  • Skin contact with greasy or oily substances
  • Friction or pressure on the skin

What Causes the Skin to Become Acne Prone?

There are different causes for the skin to become acne-prone skin. The primary catalyst is the overproduction of sebum, an oily substance produced by the skin's sebaceous glands. When these glands go into overdrive, they can clog hair follicles, leading to the formation of comedones, more commonly known as blackheads and whiteheads. Moreover, the proliferation of Propionibacterium acnes, a bacterium that naturally resides on the skin, can exacerbate the situation by causing inflammation and infection within these clogged pores. Hormonal fluctuations, often experienced during puberty, menstruation, or periods of stress, can further stimulate sebum production. It is important to understand these multifaceted causes to come up with an effective skincare regimen tailored to address your acne concerns. 

How To Deal with Acne Prone Skin

If you are someone struggling with acne issues, you may want to understand how to deal with your acne-prone skin. A proper skincare routine with the right products used consistently can make a big difference. Before you begin anything, it is crucial to understand your skin type, and your acne type so that you can choose the right products accordingly. Some tips that may help you manage acne-prone skin include:

  • Keeping your skin clean by washing with a cleanser or face wash
  • Using gentle skincare products that cater to your skin type
  • Exfoliating regularly to get rid of dead skin cells
  • Exercising and drinking an adequate amount of water
  • Eating healthy foods to improve your skin health
  • Avoiding touching, squeezing or picking your acne
  • Using home remedies such as herbal creams, essential oils, or natural supplements to treat acne 

The Recommended Regime for Oily Skin

Is your skin oily? Chances are more that you get acne every once in a while, if not taken care of properly. Start your daily skincare routine with a gentle foaming or gel-based cleanser designed specifically for oily skin. Cleansing twice a day helps remove excess oil, dirt, and impurities without over-drying the skin. Follow up with a toner containing ingredients like salicylic acid or witch hazel to further cleanse and tighten pores.

Incorporate a lightweight, oil-free moisturizer into your routine to hydrate the skin without adding unnecessary oil. Look for products labelled as non-comedogenic to prevent clogged pores. Regular use of a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF of 50 is crucial, even for oily skin, to protect against sun damage and prevent the overproduction of oil in response to UV exposure. Incorporate targeted treatments such as serums or spot treatments containing ingredients like salicylic acid, niacinamide, or benzoyl peroxide to address acne and control oil. Use these treatments sparingly to avoid over-drying the skin. You may read below for the best ingredients to look for in an acne-treating product. 

Which Ingredients Are Best for Treating Acne?

As we all know, ingredients are what make a product. Before you go running behind any product that claims to treat acne, consider looking for these ingredients: 

Benzoyl peroxide

Benzoyl peroxide kills the acne-causing bacteria and is an over-the-counter topical medicated cream that reduces acne on the skin. Using benzoyl peroxide helps in decreasing the number of blackheads whiteheads and pimples and also reduces the further breakouts of acne. Face cleansers that contain benzoyl peroxide can be used twice a day on the face regularly. A higher concentration of benzoyl peroxide must be avoided as it may cause drying of the skin. Instead, use a lower concentration of these ingredients to prevent acne breakout. A higher concentration of this ingredient can be used on other body parts except for the face, as the face is the most sensitive part of the body. It takes a week to complete the treatment and improve the acne.

Salicylic acid

Salicylic acid, also known as beta hydroxy acid, removes the dead skin cells by deeply penetrating the pores and thereby unclogging the pores of the face. Salicylic acid also helps to reduce blackhead formation and prevents its size from increasing by decreasing the excess oil secretions. Salicylic acid is very effective and safe in treating acne and acne vulgaris. This ingredient can be used in cleanser, gel, or cream form and can be used twice a day. Unlike benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid doesn't need to be more effective when used in higher concentrations. You can see the observed results after using salicylic acid within one to two weeks.

Alpha-hydroxy acids 

Alpha-hydroxy acids of AHAs are a class of chemical exfoliants. These AHAs remove dead skin cells and prevent excess sebum production reducing bacterial growth. The three different types of AHAs are lactic acid, mandelic acid and glycolic acid. AHAs help remove dead skin cells and reduce the production of excess sebum thus helping in unclogging the pores and further reducing the breakouts. 

AHAs may be used at both low and high concentrations once daily, as recommended by dermatologists. When using AHAs for the first time you may experience some tingling sensation, itchiness and dryness on the skin. If the symptoms like dryness, redness and itchiness persist discontinue the use of AHAs and consult the dermatologists or you can use AHAs every other day or alternate days. You must avoid using AHAs in sunscreen as it makes your skin more sensitive to UV light and radiation. A higher concentration of AHAs can be used in peels and masks but should be used with extra care as it can cause dryness to the skin.


Retinoid comes under the group of retinoids which is also known as vitamin A derivative that helps increase the skin cell turnover rate by removing the dead skin cells boosting the collagen level in the body and producing new healthy skin cells. Retinol is beneficial for reducing blackheads and whiteheads that frequently occur on the face removes the overall texture of the skin and provides an even tone to the skin. Retinol helps treat every type of acne breakout on the face and body. When using retinol for the first time always start with a lower concentration and apply it every alternate day as they may cause redness, itchiness and dryness on the skin. 

Applying retinol on wet skin may cause skin irritation so it is always recommended to use retinol on dry skin at nighttime and also apply moisturiser to overcome the dryness on the skin that may occur after the application of retinol. Avoid retinol use when a woman is pregnant. The effectiveness of the retinol is seen after application for 6 weeks.

Tea tree oil

Tea tree oil has anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties on the skin and helps in the reduction of acne on the skin. Tea tree oil should not be applied directly to the skin and must be used with other carrier oils or in face wash, or cleanser as that may cause skin irritation or skin rash.


Sulfur helps in the reduction of both blackheads and whiteheads as it removes the upper layer of the skin that clogs the pores of the skin. Applying sulfur may reduce acne breakouts and also reduce its size. Sulfur works as a spot treatment and can be used on sensitive skin and the appearance of pimples reduces in just a few days. Hence sulfur is very effective for use on the skin.


Which Ingredient Is Best for Acne Skin?

The best ingredient for acne-prone skin is salicylic acid. 

What Ingredient to Avoid Acne?

Certain skincare ingredients that you should avoid clearing off acne include synthetic perfumes, comedogenic oils, alcohols, essential oils and harsh ingredients. 

Is Vitamin C Good for Acne?

Yes. Vitamin C may help skin that is prone to acne. It is well known for its antioxidant qualities. These antioxidants aid in defending the skin against oxidative stress brought on by free radicals, which can exacerbate acne and cause inflammation. Furthermore, vitamin C is essential for the creation of collagen, which promotes skin healing and lessens the visibility of acne scars.

Take Away

Whether you're combating persistent breakouts or simply aiming for a flawless complexion, the key lies in choosing skincare allies that work in harmony with your skin's needs. Empower your skincare journey with this knowledge and embark on a path to healthier, acne-resistant skin that radiates confidence and vitality.

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