The Best Ingredients For Fighting Acne

Acne is one of the most common skin conditions and there are hundreds of treatments available, which is great, but can make it hard to find the right one. If you experience acne or frequent breakouts and blemishes, look out for these key ingredients that work hard to reduce existing spots and prevent future ones. 

Salicylic acid

How it works: Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid (BHA) which acts as an exfoliant, absorbing deep into skin to break down the ‘glue’ that holds dead skin cells together. This helps to clear pores and prevent the buildup of dead skin and excess oil which leads to breakouts. 

Find it in: COSRX Salicylic Acid Daily Gentle Cleanser 


How it works: Charcoal is a powerful cleansing agent which binds to and absorbs impurities in order to remove them from the skin. It’s especially good at removing oil so can help to remove pore-clogging sebum. If you’re worried about charcoal drying out your skin, look out for white charcoal, which is much softer and gentler.

Find it in: Yes To White Charcoal Mud Mask 

Lactic acid

How it works: Lactic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA), a chemical exfoliant which breaks away dead skin cells in the upper layers of the skin. It is a gentler and less irritating alternative to stronger AHAs like glycolic acid so it suited to sensitive skin. 

Find it in: Freck Cactus Water Lactic Acid Tone


How it works: Although retinol is most commonly known as an anti-aging ingredient, it’s also used to treat acne too. The ingredient stimulates cell turnover in the lower layers of skin, which helps to prevent pores from becoming clogged with dead skin and sebum. 

Find it in: Instanatural Retinol Serum 

Tea tree

How it works: Due to its anti-inflammatory and anti-septic properties, tea tree can help to soothe and reduce existing breakouts, especially inflamed red pustules. It can also help to trigger white blood cells, which speeds up the healing process. 

Find it in: Zitsticka Killa Kit


How it works: Zinc is a popular ingredient in anti-acne treatments because it acts as both an anti-inflammatory and an anti-bacterial, helping to calm even the most angry-looking blemishes. It’s best suited to papules and cystic blemishes rather than blackheads and whiteheads. 

Find it in: Skincare By BEAUTY BAY Soothe Paste


How it works: Probiotics work by calming and balancing skin inflammation so they’re a great way to soothe a sore, irritated breakout. They also help to strengthen the skin barrier, which can help to prevent future breakouts. 

Find it in: Aurelia The Probiotic Concentrate 


How it works: A source of fatty acids, squalane helps to replenish moisture levels and strengthen the moisture barrier. If skin is well-hydrated then it’s better able to defend itself against bacteria and other acne-triggering external aggressors. 

Find it in: The Ordinary 100% Plant-Derived Squalane