There’s no shortage of advice on the best ways to treat acne, and it may be difficult to know where to start. Skincare is not one size fits all, and your specific type of acne might be more responsive to certain ingredients over others… But. we’re here to recommend the4 best ingredients for treating acne, and to break down how they work!
Benzoyl Peroxide can be found in acne treatments across the board, and for good reason. When it comes to its acne-fighting qualities, BP destroys bacteria on the surface of the skin as well as inside pores and pimples. It also works as an oxidizer, injecting air into pores to loosen any oil, dirt or bacteria trapped inside. As an anti-inflammatory, it reduces the swelling, pain and redness associated with inflammatory pimples.
If you experience inflammatory acne (like papules which are red and hard/pustules which have a white head surrounded by red, irritated skin) or excess oil on your skin, incorporate SLMD’s BP Lotion into your morning skincare routine after your cleanser. This lightweight treatment absorbs into the skin quickly to treat and prevent breakouts. For stubborn pimples, SLMD’s BP Spot Treatment gives a concentrated dose of maximum strength Benzoyl Peroxide. It also contains Allantoin to soothe irritation and the antioxidant Vitamin E to protect the skin from environmental toxins. For those of us with body acne, SLMD’s BP Body Wash is packed with Benzoyl Peroxide and Niacinamide, two powerful anti-inflammatories to kill bacteria and reduce the appearance of breakouts.
Although adverse reactions are rare, we'd recommend testing any products with Benzoyl Peroxide on a small area of skin before applying it over large areas. If there’s no irritation, use the product every other day for the first week or two. Once your skin has fully adjusted, the acne-fighting properties will kick in!
Salicylic Acid is derived from the chemical compound Salicin, and is most naturally found in willow tree bark. It’s a beta hydroxy acid (BHA), which means it’s oil-soluble and can penetrate the skin deeper than alpha hydroxy acids, which are water-soluble. With the same anti-inflammatory ingredients found in Aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid), Salicylic Acid has strong antibacterial and drying properties. It is also a keratolytic, meaning it acts as an exfoliant to break down keratin, the protein that makes up the outer layer of skin.
When treating acne, Salicylic Acid crystallizes and penetrates pores to clear out the bacteria and dead skin cells that get trapped in our skin’s sebum to create inflammatory acne. Its keratolytic properties also make it useful in treating a wide range of other conditions, including dandruff, seborrheic dermatitis, keratosis pilaris, and psoriasis.
If you’re looking for a gentle exfoliating cleanser, try SLMD’s Salicylic Acid Cleanser, which cleans clogged pores without leaving your skin dry or stripped. For some extra exfoliating, SLMD’s Resurfacing Acne Swipes are formulated with Salicylic, Glycolic and Lactic Acid to dive deep and remove impurities. To target specific pimples or improve the appearance of a dark spot, try SLMD’s Salicylic Acid Spot Treatment, made with 2% Salicylic Acid. SLMD’s Salicylic Acid Body Spray is a great choice for cleaning out bacteria all over the body, with a 360 degree spray nozzle, especially after you work out.
You probably recognize sulfur as a periodic table element, but we also ingest it regularly in the form of eggs, meat, fish, garlic, onion and beans. When it comes to skincare, sulfur stops the growth of bacteria on the skin’s surface while exfoliating and shedding dead skin cells. It also controls oil production, drying out active acne without dehydrating surrounding skin.
Sulfur works well on inflammatory acne and sensitive skin. It is a great replacement for any intensive acne-fighting ingredients that some experience irritation with, like Benzoyl Peroxide. For example, you can replace SLMD’s BP Lotion with SLMD’s Sulfur Lotion, which also contains Sweet Almond Oil to clear complexion and Colloidal Silver to disrupt the metabolic processes of bacteria on the surface of the skin. Sulfur can also treat eczema, seborrheic dermatitis, dandruff, rosacea, psoriasis, warts, pityriasis versicolor (skin discoloration), hair-follicle infections, and shingles.
Retinol is a retinoid, a class of substances derived from Vitamin A. It has a long history of treating acne and reducing the appearance of aging, especially sun damage, fine lines and hyperpigmentation.
Retinol works to thicken the subcutaneous layer while preventing the breakdown of collagen to combat fine lines and wrinkles. For hyperpigmentation, Retinol sloughs off dark spots while curbing your skin cells’ production of melanin. As an acne treatment, it works by removing the dirt, oil and bacteria responsible for clogging pores and creating breakouts. It also clears the way to allow other acne-fighting ingredients to reach deep into our skin.
When looking for Retinol skincare products, look for those packaged in opaque, tightly sealed tubes because Retinol is likely to break down in daylight or with oxygen exposure. Be sure to only apply Retinol at night, as it will make your skin more sensitive to the sun. To encourage nighttime cell turnover, try SLMD’s Retinol Serum, which can be applied at night to encourage skin cell turnover and improve the overall texture of your skin while you sleep.
You can find all of four of these powerful acne-fighters in SLMD’s Acne System and Sensitive Skin Acne System, easy systems that will make sure you are incorporating the best skincare ingredients into your regimen!