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Here Are Some of the Best Ingredients for Acne-Prone Skin
If your acne's got you feeling down in the dumps, don't worry — you're not alone. Acne afflicts over 50 million Americans at any given time. Presenting in both teenagers and adults, it can be caused by everything from stress to genetics. Most importantly, acne is normal and nothing to be ashamed of. However, in some cases, it can be painful and may require intensive medication.
If you're looking for ways to treat your acne, you may be wondering what kind of products you need. Some ingredients are specially formulated to treat acne gently and effectively and we quickly run through them below.
AHAs and BHAs
Alpha and beta hydroxy acids are the anti-acne dream team. These gentle chemical exfoliants can be found in everything from cleansers and toners to moisturizers and even masks. The most common AHA, glycolic acid, even buffs away cells on the surface to reveal newer and healthier-looking skin underneath. Salicylic acid is the most common BHA and is a key ingredient in nearly every skincare routine for acne. It reaches deep into the skin to clean pores and control sebum production. When combined with moisturizing ingredients like hyaluronic acid and ceramides, it works to prevent future breakouts.
This anti-acne superstar is a form of Vitamin A that, like BHAs, deep-cleans your skin to remove dirt, dead skin cells, and excess oil. At the same time, it actively promotes skin cell renewal. As a result, it's also a potent anti-aging ingredient. Though it comes in more concentrated forms, it can also be integrated into a natural skincare routine. Take Graydon Skincare's Fullmoon Serum for example, which is our Best Serum Gold Winner for 2021. Completely vegan and cruelty-free, it uses retinol derived from moth beans to soothe your skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Tea tree oil
This natural ingredient is just as effective as AHAs and BHAs, but works over a longer time frame. Its anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties can calm acne flare-ups and prevent lesions. As an oil, it moisturizes the skin, preventing the build-up of excess sebum. Tea tree oil also promotes skin cell turnover to lighten discoloration caused by acne, making it great for double-cleansing. This method involves cleansing with both oil and soap and can be especially beneficial for those who wear makeup to cover their acne.
Since acne is an inflammatory disease, this natural ingredient can thus tame breakouts more effectively without using harsh chemicals. Its antioxidants and active tannins can dry out both inflammatory and non-inflammatory acne, control oil production, kill the P. acnes that thrive within that oil, and even tighten pores to firm up the skin. As a result, it's best used as a toner — like those offered by Thayers or Quinns — and followed up with moisturizing serums, creams, or gels.
Seminal studies have shown that hydrated skin is less prone to breakouts, so don't forget to moisturize. The best moisturizers contain hyaluronic acid, a naturally occurring compound that attracts moisture and locks it into the skin. Acne-prone skin has a very thin lipid layer that is reinforced by this ingredient, which prevents oiliness and future acne flare-ups. As a result, you might see a reduced appearance in acne scars.
However, having the right ingredients won't be enough to counter your acne. It can take a few months for them to take effect, so what you need the most is the discipline to power through. Ultimately, your skin will thank you for it!
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