From acne face washes to creams and leave-on spot treatments, the treatment options for breakouts can be overwhelming! Here are some of the best pimple-busting active ingredients for occasional, mild and moderate acne. If your acne is nodular or more than occasional, it might be a good idea to visit your dermatologist to discuss alternative treatment options.

You’ve probably heard about the amazing benefits of retinol for anti-ageing, but did you know that these forms of vitamins are efficient at clearing up breakouts too? Essentially, acne is inflammation in the follicle, and retinoids are anti-inflammatory, exfoliating and anti-bacterial.

Retinoids cause skin cells to turn over at a faster rate, and help skin exfoliate. Best of all, using retinol based skincare products not only helps clear pimples, it also helps prevent them from forming in the first place along with other post-acne problems such as hyperpigmentation and dark spot concerns. 

Keep in mind that retinol isn’t a quick fix; it is recommended to introduce retinoids slowly when first introducing them into your routine. Retinoids should be used fairly long-term in order to reap the benefits. Your skin will thank you for it! 

Products to try:

Azelaic Acid
Azelaic acid is a naturally occuring acid found in grains like wheat, rye and barley. It has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, which make it effective in soothing and treating inflammation and skin conditions like acne and rosacea. It also improves sunspots and melasma because it blocks the production of excess pigmentation. As with many other acne treatments, azelaic acid takes several weeks to work its magic, so be patient and don’t give up after a few applications. 

Product to try:

Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate
Vitamin C is one of the most important antioxidants found in the skin, along with vitamin E. Sodium ascorbyl phosphate (SAP), an ester of vitamin C, has been shown to be effective in treating acne by acting both as an antioxidant and as an antimicrobial agent. Vitamin C can positively affect acne outbreaks by reducing inflammation by clearing skin of free radicals, reduces redness, prevents blackheads, and helps improve skin tone through increased production of collagen. 

Product to try:

Salicylic Acid
Salicylic acid is the go-to fix for pimples. Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid (BHA) that works by dissolving excess sebum and gently exfoliating dead skin cells. It also has anti-inflammatory properties to help with nodular breakouts that occur when blockages deep in the hair follicles rupture beneath the skin. Salicylic acid tends to dry out your skin if over-applied, so it’s a good idea to choose only one product with the ingredient to use every day.

Product to try:

Niacinamide, a form of vitamin B3, is an all-round crowd-please. Niacinamide is well known for its soothing and healing properties, and is suitable for almost every skin type. It works with the natural substances in skin to visibly improve the appearance of blemishes, enlarged pores and sebum production, and normalises skin cell turnover.  

Product to try: 

Mandelic Acid
Mandelic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) derived from almonds and it has the largest molecule size making it one of the more gentle AHAs when compared to glycolic acid and lactic acid. This multi-tasking ingredient has anti-bacterial properties that are extremely helpful in treating acne. It also helps to regulate sebum production and in turn decrease the occurrence of breakouts. It’s also been shown to benefit those who suffer from nodular acne.

Product to try: 

Last Words
Breakouts may be inevitable, whether you’re a pimply preteen or adult in your 20s or 30s. Keep in mind that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to acne; every person responds to treatments differently. The good news about SKIN functional is that our acne skincare products are expertly formulated using optimal concentrations of effective and trusted ingredients to deliver potent treatments that bring you everything your skin needs. Our formulas are also fragrance-, alcohol-, and cruelty-free. Win, win, win. 

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