Acne is the common enemy of many people across the world. It appears with a vengeance against our skin once we hit puberty and may or may not persist after we become adults. Thankfully, there are a lot of hero skincare ingredients on the market that target acne. Here are some common super acne-aiding ingredients that will swoop in and save the day.
Salicylic acid is a beta-hydroxy acid (BHA), which is an oil-soluble chemical exfoliant. Therefore, it can penetrate into the deeper parts of our pores and dissolve sebum to prevent acne from forming in the future. Furthermore, it has antibacterial properties to fight off acne-causing bacteria. Salicylic acid is available in strengths from 0.05% to 5%. It is best suited for those with oily skin.
This tried-and-tested antibacterial ingredient has been around for a very long time and is widely used in the treatment of acne. It works by killing the acne-causing bacteria inside the pores with oxygen. BPO is usually used as spot treatment. It can be drying and irritating, thus it is recommended to start out with a low percentage and build up from there, if needed. BPO is commonly found at a range of 2.5% to 10%. However, one of the most well known downsides of BPO is it causes bleaching of hair and discoloration of fabrics like pillowcases and towels.
This is an umbrella term for Vitamin A derivatives. Retinoids work from the inside out to clear acne. Not only does it help to stimulate skin cell turnover rate, but also keep pores clear and open so other topical acne medications can penetrate more effectively. Topical retinoids come in various strengths, the lowest being 0.025% and the highest being 0.1%. For those who are about to incorporate retinoids into their skincare regime, start from a low concentration and use it once or twice a week. You can layer on top of moisturizer or pair with niacinamide to decrease its side effects. When your skin can tolerate it, you can slowly work your way up. Remember to apply retinoids only at night time. It is common to get more breakouts once you start using retinoids as retinoids can cause purging – keep calm and stick with it!
Tea tree oil
One of the most commonly seen essential oils that helps to target acne. It is derived from a tea tree called Melaleuca alternifolia. According to studies, its anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory benefits have been shown to be beneficial for acne-prone skin. Even though Tea tree oil works a bit slower than other acne aiding ingredients, it comes with fewer side effects of dryness and irritation.
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