Which Skincare Ingredients Help Fight Acne?

1. What are active ingredients in skincare?

a. Salicylic acid

b. Zinc

c. Glycolic acid

d. Lactic acid

e. Probiotics

f. Copper

2. What ingredients should you avoid in skincare if you have acne-prone skin?

a. Alcohol

b. Coconut oil

c. Synthetic perfumes

d. Essential oils

3. What products are good for acne?



Acne is one of the most common—albeit confusing and frustrating—skin conditions we deal with. Even if you don’t have oily skin or consider yourself to have acne-prone skin, keeping your face clear and pimple-free can be a struggle. Acne is triggered by so many factors—hormones, genetics and hygiene—and presents in a variety of different ways, such as whiteheads, blackheads and acne mechanica. When it comes to finding the right treatment, there are a million products out there—and they’re not all created equal. From cleansers for oily skin to topical acne treatment for blemishes, the options can be overwhelming, making it challenging to tell which is truly the best course of action for you.
What acne sufferers need more than a good product is a breakdown of acne-fighting ingredients. Knowledge is power and knowing what the best skincare ingredients are for acne and what ingredients you should avoid in skincare bring you one step closer to creating your own plan of attack. Discover which skincare ingredients for acne you should be looking for.


1. What are active ingredients in skincare?


Whether you suffer from cystic acne or have the occasional pimple, it’s hard not to be tempted to slather on as many zit-zapping products as possible in the hope of banishing breakouts. But that’s not the best way to go about things—you run the risk of combining too many harsh ingredients, which can damage the skin barrier and potentially exacerbate breakouts. Instead of the “more is more” approach, use fewer products with the right active ingredients.
Wondering what an active ingredient is? The short answer: An active is a chemical or molecule that has been proven in a lab by research to change the skin in some way. An active ingredient is added to skincare formulas to address whatever skin concern it’s meant to target—and can be found at different percentages depending on the kind of active and treatment. For example, if you have dry skin, a popular active ingredient found in moisturizers and serums is hyaluronic acid. But does hyaluronic acid clear acne? Although it doesn’t have a direct role in clearing up acne, it’s often found in acne-fighting formulations because it draws moisture into the skin making it a great counterpart to acne-fighting ingredients, which can be drying.
As for acne actives, there’s a number of options. Scroll down and discover the most common types of actives you’ll want to look out for in topical acne treatments.

a. Salicylic acid


Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid (BHA) that works by dissolving excess oil and gently exfoliating dead skin cells. From spot treatments to cleanser, it’s a common ingredient in acne products. It’s oil-soluble, so it glides past any oil on your skin and plunges into your pores making it an ideal ingredient to unclog pores and treat blackheads and whiteheads.

b. Zinc


Zinc is a star ingredient in many topical formulas, from mineral sunscreens to diaper creams, but does zinc help acne? Yes! In fact, it can help with inflammation while also inhibiting the growth of harmful bacteria in sebaceous glands. It’s especially effective at treating papule and cyst types of acne.

c. Glycolic acid


Glycolic acid is the most common type of alpha hydroxy acid (AHA). For people with acne, the benefit of glycolic acid is that its exfoliating action helps to clear the skin of debris. Pimples are caused by dead skin cells and impurities blocking pores, and glycolic acid works to loosen and remove those dead cells with very little effort.

d. Lactic acid


If you have sensitive skin and find glycolic acid too irritating, consider lactic acid, which is also in the AHA family. Like glycolic acid, it works as a chemical exfoliant on the skin. However, it’s a larger molecule so it’s much gentler. Lactic acid is also a humectant, which means it attracts water and can be hydrating.

e. Probiotics


Probiotics are healthy bacteria and yeast in our bodies. They’re often found in fermented foods like yogurt or supplements that can help normalize your gut bacteria and improve the microbiome of your digestive tract and subsequently reduce inflammation throughout the body, including the skin. Skincare infused with probiotics is one of the latest buzzy ingredients. Rather than live organisms like you find in yogurt, skincare probiotic extracts help create an optimal environment for healthy bacterial growth on the skin. Probiotics help yield calmer skin and control breakouts because they reduce inflammation as well as slow the growth of acne-causing bacteria.

f. Copper


Copper has been used in skincare to help improve firmness and smoothness by promoting collagen, elastin synthesis and antioxidant activity. It also can help acne by regulating the bacterial concentrations of the skin.


2. What ingredients should you avoid in skincare if you have acne-prone skin?


When it comes to acne, knowing what to edit out of your skincare routine is just as important as knowing what to add to it. In general, acne-prone skin should steer clear of comedogenic ingredients because they tend to clog pores, which can lead to the formation of blackheads and whiteheads. It’s also important to understand that acne is an inflammatory skin condition so it’s important to stay away from harsh ingredients that can easily irritate skin.
These are the main products and ingredients you need to stay away from if you have oily and acne-prone skin.


a. Alcohol


Alcohol is a common ingredient in skincare products, especially in toners. It’s used to give skin that squeaky-clean feeling and banish oil, although it’s a superficial fix. Instead, it strips skin of its natural moisturizers in some formulations.

b. Coconut oil


This buzzy ingredient has been touted as the multi-tasking ingredient in natural skincare, used in everything from cleansers to moisturizers. Although not all oils will clog pores, this one will because it’s very thick, making it highly comedogenic.

c. Synthetic perfumes


Most products contain fragrance to mask the unpleasant smell of some ingredients or simply to make a pleasing scent, but the downside is that it can be irritating. Not all fragrances can trigger a breakout, but some do.

d. Essential oils


Some essential oils (like tea tree oil) are safe and even effective for acne-prone skin, but others can cause a serious allergic reaction because they are highly purified extracts that come from plants.

3. What products are good for acne?


Beyond tailoring your lifestyle and looking out for the right active ingredients, there are a few at-home solutions and products you can use to cure your acne. Maybe you’re wondering “Why are Vichy products good for acne?” The answer is Vichy’s Normaderm line, which is specifically formulated for oily and acne-prone skin. It helps reduce pimples and the look of pores, shine, blackheads and acne scars. Below are our top picks for the best topical acne treatments.


The best face cleanser for acne

When it comes to oily and acne-prone skin, the right cleanser can change everything. A cleanser gets rid of dead skin cells, pollutants, oils, dirt and bacteria. Look for a cleanser for acne with zinc and copper. Normaderm Anti-Acne Purifying Gel Cleanser is a light-textured clear gel that turns into a gentle foam when mixed with water. It prevents clogged pores and breakouts while leaving skin balanced and allowing it primed and ready to absorb your skincare.


The best face toner for acne

A modern toner does so much more than just clean skin of whatever debris and dirt has been left behind after cleansing. Normaderm Purifying Lotion supports healthier skin by increasing cell turnover and preparing it to receive other active ingredients. This formula relies on a combination of salicylic, glycolic and beta lipohydroxy acid (LHA) to unclog pores, kill acne-causing bacteria and smooth skin’s texture.


The best moisturizer for acne

Hydrate without irritating your skin by using a moisturizer with a combo of hyaluronic acid, zinc and copper. Keeping skin hydrated will help it stay calm and counteract the drying effect of acne treatment products. Normaderm Anti-Acne Double-Action Moisturizer harnesses six (salicylic acid, hyaluronic acid, vitamin C, Vichy Volcanic Water, probiotics, Phycosaccharide ACG) actives in its formula while simultaneously keeping skin hydrated for up to 24 hours.



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