Everyone loves Shark Week – us included– but given that beauty is more our speed than marine biology, we’re pretty excited about ACNE WEEK here on the MB Blog.
Acne is – and has long been – the most common skin disorder. The secret to clarity (in mind and skin, of course) is to keep things simple. Know your skin and do your research. Discover the very best anti-acne ingredients.
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Knowing your skin is the first step. Understand your skin type as well as your skin’s needs in order to narrow down which products you’ll need. Step two, then, is knowing what’s in the stuff you’ll be using – and what said products can actually do (versus what they claim to do). Forget the pretty packaging for a second and hone in on the ingredient label like a seasoned pro: recognizing key active, anti-acne ingredients is paramount to cutting down the trial-and-error process.
Common active anti-acne ingredients include:
- Benzoyl Peroxide is one of the most commonly used treatments and featured ingredients in acne products, known for its anti-bacterial and keratolytic properties. B.P. is best used to help treat inflamed acne (pustules and papules) since it targets the acne-causing bacteria while helping reduce excess oil production. It’s effective for some individuals, but be wary of the side effects: it often causes mild to severe dryness, peeling, irritation, swelling, and photosensitivity in the skin, and if it comes into contact with clothing, it may bleach it permanently. Aestheticians and dermatologists alike often recommend Salicylic Acid over Benzoyl Peroxide for those very reasons; Salicylic Acid is far gentler, but just as effective. [Read: Benzoyl Peroxide vs. Salicylic Acid]
- Salicylic Acid is another common active ingredient used in acne treatment. It’s a Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA) derived from the bark of a willow tree and used widely for its keratolytic properties – the ability to act as an exfoliating agent – that help encourage proper shedding of the outermost layer while penetrating pores to aid in decongestion. In addition, it boasts anti-inflammatory characteristic that help reduce redness and uneven skin. For those reasons, Salicylic Acid is a gentler anti-acne ingredient and thus more universal (not to mention effective). [We recommend: Anti-Acne Serum]
- Sulfur is probably one of the most undervalued yet best acne treatment product ingredients on the market. Once an age-old remedy used since ancient times to cure skin conditions and various health issues, sulfur now plays a pivotal role in skincare treatments for acne because it’s just as gentle as it is effective. It acts as a mild antiseptic that helps disinfect skin and boasts both comedolytic and keratolytic properties by helping dry out problem areas while pushing to promote quicker shedding and exfoliation of pore-clogging buildup, respectively. [Discover more: All about Sulfur]
- Calamine is, in short, is a type of zinc compound (zinc is also an important ingredient to look out for in anti-acne products). It boasts anti-pruritic (anti-itching) and antiseptic properties that help calm inflamed breakouts, and help dry out and clean any open lesions. Zinc, though not a common active anti-acne ingredient, has anti-inflammatory benefits that can help soothe irritated skin. [Check out: Our iconic overnight whitehead treatment… the Drying Lotion]