One of the most common skincare issues in the world is acne. It’s something we’ve all dealt with, whether it was in our teenage years or as an adult. Acne can lower your confidence and leave you feeling like you need to cover up under layers of makeup. While intense acne will call for prescription treatments, there are plenty of anti-acne ingredients that you find on the sleeves of your favorite department stores.
It’s not just about finding anti-inflammatory ingredients, it’s also about knowing which ingredients to avoid at all costs. We’re sharing the best acne-fighting ingredients and which ones to keep away from. If you’re wanting to kickstart your skincare routine, look for these harmful ingredients to avoid or use to tackle your acne and achieve a brighter and clearer complexion.
Avoid: Sodium Lauryl Sulphate
When you have acne-prone skin, it’s important to know which ingredients to avoid. Sodium lauryl sulphate is at the top of that list. Commonly known as SLS it’s a foaming agent that you’ll find in most personal items. It strips your skin of its natural oils, causing irritation and leading to more breakouts.
Be careful when shopping for cleansers and exfoliators as you’ll commonly find SLS as one of the primary ingredients to help create the foam.
Recommend: Tea Tree Oil
An anti-acne tea tree face oil is a staple in your skincare routine if you’re looking to treat acne and achieve clearer skin. This anti-acne ingredient contains anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties which can help diminish the appearance of acne.
It’s best used on mild to moderate acne with a daily cleanser. You want to avoid using tea tree oil in its essential oil form as this can cause irritation.
Avoid: Isopropyl myristate
Isopropyl myristate is an ingredient popularly used in beauty products to help soothe and soften your skin. The issue it poses for acne-prone skin is that it’s highly comedogenic and can cause breakouts and pimples. If you use products with isopropyl myristate on a regular basis, it can lead to skin irritation and clog your pores. Look for out for this ingredient in moisturisers and other facial creams.
Recommend: Alpha-hydroxy Acids (AHAs)
One group of ingredients that you want to be on the lookout for are AHAs. These ingredients are chemical exfoliants that work to cleanse your skin of dead skin cells to tackle excess oil and prevent bacteria causing breakouts. The most popular type of AHAs include glycolic acid, lactic acid, and mandelic acid.
Along with cleansing your skin, AHAs can help to unclog your pores and reduce breakouts. AHAs are ideal for using on sensitive skin and are best used for acne treatment.
You can incorporate AHAs into your skincare routine with a daily cleanser or a weekly chemical peel exfoliant with a higher AHA concentration. It’s worth taking it slowly with AHAs and gradually building your skin’s tolerance for it. You also want to ensure that you’re always using a sunscreen alongside AHAs as they make your skin more sensitive to UV light and radiation.
Another moisturizer ingredient to avoid in lanolin. It’s an oil extract that’s derived from lamb’s wool and is commonly used to help smooth your skin’s texture. The issue occurs when it starts to clog your pores, which commonly leads to breakouts and irritation for acne-prone skin.
The issue with lanolin is that it’s an ingredient that also appears in makeup products. Look out for it being labelled by its other names, which include PEG 16 lanolin, solulan 16, and acetylated lanolin alcohol. Using lanolin can also lead to contact dermatitis if you have sensitive skin.
Recommend: Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHAs)
One of the best BHAs to use for acne-prone skin is salicylic acid. It works to remove excess oil, dead skin cells, and impurities from the top layer of your skin. Salicylic acid and BHAs penetrate deeply into your pores, helping to unclog them and tackle blackheads to prevent any future breakouts.
Clinical research carried out in 2015 found that salicylic acid is safe and effective to use to tackle acne. You don’t want to fall for the trick of thinking you have to use the highest concentration of any BHA to see results. You can start gradually and build your skin’s tolerance to BHAs before moving up to a higher concentration. You can expect to see a difference in your acne before and after using BHAs within as little as two weeks.
With this list of ingredients to look for and which to avoid, you can start curating a skincare routine that will tackle your acne once and for all.