Now more than ever, acne sufferers and those with blemish-prone skin are faced with an overwhelming number of products and choice ingredients, marketed to soothe and support their skincare concerns, such as treating acne and excess oil.
With such a variety of readily available products and ingredients at your fingertips, how do you separate ingredients that support rather than suffocate your blemish-prone skin?
Today, we’ll be taking you through the top five skincare ingredients that best support blemish-prone skin.
But first, a word of caution… and here’s why
Before we dive into these five fabulous ingredients, we need to stress the importance of taking available research and information with a grain of salt. Oftentimes, product and ingredient research is conducted for the sake of brand promotion, or incentivization on the part of research companies.
There is value not only in proceeding with caution with what you read, but also in working with a skin therapist. They can help you connect the dots between the random, slightly squidgy information you find on the internet, and the legitimacy of a given ingredient. Not to mention, they can verify or debunk any strategies you may read about for your particular skin care needs, including blemish-prone or acne-prone skin.
Top 5 skincare ingredients that support blemish-prone skin
Our top five picks below each include a brief introduction, a listing of potential side effects to watch out for, as well as our product pick containing the ingredient.
1. Mandelic Acid
Mandelic acid falls under the category of chemical exfoliant powerhouse alpha hydroxy acids (or AHA, for short). Given its chemical makeup of larger molecules, blemish-prone skin or acne sufferers will find this acid more appealing, given its gentler exfoliation, as well as its antibacterial properties.
As our skin ages, we often experience a natural decline in sebum, produced by our skin (more specifically, our sebaceous glands) to protect and moisturize. However, the gentle effect of mandelic acid proves a great option for aging blemish-prone skin, in helping to encourage an uptake in sebum production.
In one recent study, sebum secretion increased by 67% in study participants after a 40% mandelic chemical peel was applied five times a week within 2-week intervals. Given the smaller sample size of this study, we look forward to bigger and better research on findings related to mandelic acid.
Potential Side Effects of Mandelic Acid
While common side effects related to AHAs include irritation, or dryness for sensitive skin, it is often unlikely you will develop these side effects while using mandelic acid, given its gentler exfoliation. Your skin therapist can help you steer clear of harsher AHAs, and onboard a consistent yet gentle regimen for your skin type.
Our Top Mandelic Acid Product Pick for Blemish-Prone Skin
Our choice product containing mandelic acid is the Mandelic Bright by Rhonda Allison. A rejuvenating serum gentle enough for everyday use, it provides brightening and exfoliating support for your blemish-prone skin.
2. Salicylic Acid
Considered one of the most popular forms of beta hydroxy acids (BHA) AHAs on the market, salicylic acid is also one of the most widely available BHAs to be found on store shelves. Products vary in strength and type, ranging from cleansers, and exfoliators, to serums and moisturizers.
Its ability to break up congestion and clear pores makes this BHA the ideal choice for clearing up blemishes and mitigating acne. Unlike water-soluble AHAs, BHAs are oil-soluble, hence why products containing salicylic acid are popular for blemish-prone skin sufferers looking to sort out their oil-clogged pores.
Potential Side Effects of Salicylic Acid
Common side effects of using an AHA or BHA might include a slight stinging or tingling sensation when first applied, as well as minor skin irritation in the days that follow.
Using chemical exfoliants too frequently or incorrectly may result in minor chemical burns, red or irritated skin, or even skin discoloration. It’s important to incorporate chemical exfoliants slowly yet gradually into your routine when first starting to use, in order to build up a tolerance.
Our Top Salicylic Acid Product Pick for Blemish-Prone Skin
Offering a mild, balanced formula, Environ’s Sebu-Wash Gel Cleanser helps blemish-prone skin steer clear of the stinging or tingling side effects listed above. Containing both salicylic acid and tea tree oil, this low-foaming face wash assists in cleansing dirt and excess surface oils known to aggravate blemishes and increase acne.
3. Tea Tree Oil
Derived from the native tea tree plant cultivated and grown in the swamp area of the Australian coast, tea tree oil’s antibacterial properties are particularly beneficial in keeping acne and blemishes at bay. Another ingredient widely available in a variety of formats, tea tree oil tends to be delivered in 5% to 50% strengths, depending on the product.
Potential Side Effects of Tea Tree Oil
While there is substantial evidence to suggest that tea tree oil is safe for use with minor side effects on a topical level, acne-sufferers may still experience increased dryness, itching, and redness with use. Published data also indicates the potential toxicity of tea tree oil should higher doses be ingested or applied topically.
Tea tree oil can often be found in many essential oil lines, too. However, like all essential oils, you should never use straight tea tree oil without first diluting it in a carrier oil. Applying straight essential oils to your face might produce increased irritation, or hyperpigmentation, spelling out disaster for blemish-prone babes. Stronger is rarely better, so carrying essential oils to your skin using a carrier oil, will provide protection, and nourishment, while maintaining the integrity of the original essential oil.
Our Top Tea Tree Oil Product Pick for Blemish-Prone Skin
Containing a combination of both tea tree oil and AHA lactic acid, Environ’s Sebu-Lac Lotion is a great option to prevent breakouts, while improving the texture of blemish-prone skin.
Also known by its essential nutrient name, vitamin B3, antioxidant-rich niacinamide proves to be a great pairing for blemish-prone skin given its anti-inflammatory properties. It’s also gentler than commonly reactive acne treatments, such as prescription retinoids.
Potential Side Effects of Niacinamide
Most of the side effects of niacinamide are ones we have outlined with previous ingredients. While most clinical studies have demonstrated niacinamide as a safe and effective ingredient for all skin types, possible side effects might still include itchy skin, irritation, and redness.
Our Top Niacinamide Product Pick for Blemish-Prone Skin
Environ’s Sebu-Spot Blemish Gel serves as a targeted spot treatment, specifically formulated to assist in improving the appearance of visible spots and blemishes.
5. Vitamin C
To round off our top five fave ingredients for supporting blemish-prone skin, Vitamin C shines through when you’re looking to reduce hyperpigmentation, with the added bonus of treating fine lines and wrinkles. Clinical trials of Vitamin C also demonstrated that patients who applied Vitamin C twice daily over a period of 12 weeks, saw reduced acne scarring when compared to those subjects who received a placebo.
Potential Side Effects of Vitamin C
The purest form of Vitamin C, known as ascorbic acid, is notoriously unstable, and can easily oxidize when exposed to heat, air, and light. This exposure degrades the integrity of Vitamin C in its true form, rendering it ineffective. Storing Vitamin C in opaque, air-tight containers away from light, will keep your Vitamin C skincare products intact.
Our Top Vitamin C Product Pick for Blemish-Prone Skin
Environ’s Intense C Boost Mela-Even Cream is infused with Vitamin C to tackle even the most uneven of skin tones. Its oil-soluble solution will leave your skin feeling younger, healthier, and more radiant.
Our Discover FX – Introductory Session helps you uncover beneficial and problematic ingredients for your skin type. We work with you to review your current products and skin care routines to help you improve your skin’s current condition, whether it’s excessive oiliness or experiencing a type of acne. We also provide long-term solutions that lay the foundation for beautiful, healthy skin. Book with us today!