Acne is one of the most common skin conditions causing pimples on the forehead, face, shoulders, chest, and upper back. It is one of the major causes of distress in teenagers and adults, as it often gets stubborn and hard to get rid of. It is due to a variable number of causes including fluctuation in hormones, genetics, stress, diet, high humidity, or the use of oily or greasy products on the skin. At times, acne becomes embarrassing and unappealing leaving scars if left untreated.
Market out there is loaded with skincare products, which has made it quite confusing to figure out which acne product to buy and use. Are you fighting at your best to make your skin blemish-free? Do you want to know that which product will work well for you? The key is to understand and know about the active ingredients being used in anti-acne products.
Let us break down some of the most useful ingredients that go well with acne breakouts and the dark spots left behind.
The Breakout Phase:
Acne can break out of nowhere ruining your day especially when you want to look your best. The breakout usually happens when the hair follicle gets filled with dead skin cells, bacteria, or oil. This leads to redness, swelling, and inflammation eventually resulting in pore-clogging and a pimple. Treating this phase of acne is based on the ingredients that can reduce inflammation, remove oil, kill bacteria and thereby open the clogged pore. Following are considered the best ingredients to treat the early stages of acne:
- Salicylic Acid
Salicylic is known to be a good anti-inflammatory agent that helps in reducing red acne bumps. The structure of salicylic acid (beta-hydroxy acid) enables it to solubilize oil, which helps in clearing the clogged pores. Moreover, it helps in opening the pores by dissolving glue used to hold skin cells stick together. All of this makes it one of the best ingredients to be used against acne breakout.
- Benzoyl Peroxide
Being a powerful antibacterial agent, benzoyl peroxide treats acne breakouts by killing acne-causing bacteria.
Sulfur is well known as an exfoliator that opens the clogged pores, a potent antibacterial, and quite a reasonable anti-inflammatory agent. This feature makes it a good ingredient you can use to avoid breakouts.
- Azelaic Acid
Like salicylic acid and benzoyl acid, azelaic acid is a natural exfoliator along with its antibacterial and antioxidant properties making it a good ingredient for the early stages of acne.
Charcoal has been used for skincare for ages. Particularly in the case of acne breakouts it helps kill bacteria, unclogs the pores by absorbing excess oil, pulling out dirt and other impurities, and deeply exfoliates the skin reducing the chances of any breakouts.
The Dark Spot Phase:
Acne itself is not a big problem but the scars and spots it leaves behind become quite frustrating. However, no worries! There are some of the best-known ingredients listed below that helps fade out these spots by
- Increasing cell turnover
- By reducing melanin production
- Vitamin C
Being a powerful antioxidant, vitamin C reduces redness and neutralizes free radicals. Moreover, it accelerates the production of collagen, increasing cell turnover. It is also best known for brightening the skin by fading out dark spots.
- Alpha Hydroxy Acids
Alpha hydroxy acids such as glycolic acid and lactic acid can also be used to treat dark spots as they boost the regeneration of skin cells, brighten the dark spots leaving fresher skin beneath.
- Retinoids (Vitamin A)
Its effect on the natural turnover cycle of skin cells makes it a good ingredient in treating acne dark spots. Retinoids sloughs off dead skin cells and generates new ones resulting in an even complexion. Moreover, retinoids inhibit the production of tyrosinase that has a role in the formation of dark spots.
Another tyrosinase inhibitor also known as a skin lightening agent, hydroquinone fades out dark spots left after an acne breakout. According to several dermatologists, it is the best-known ingredient to lighten the dark spots as it inhibits the melanocytes from increased melanin production.
Give these ingredients a try and let me know which of them helped you the most!
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Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, September 2011, pages 174-178
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Journal of Drugs in Dermatology, June 2011, pages 586-590
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Indian Dermatology Online Journal, June 2013, pages 143-146