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Whether it’s full-blown breakouts or just a pesky pimple or blackhead, everyone has dealt with acne at one point or another. And today, there are tons of products and ingredients on the market that aim to help you kiss those spots goodbye for good.
But not all natural ingredients for acne were created equal, and certain ingredients are only suitable for particular skin types or acne concerns.
Here’s everything you should know about the best ingredients for acne.
With the 12 best ingredients for acne, you can find help to banish acne-causing bacteria. So, what natural ingredients are good for acne? Let's take a closer look at the stellar cleansing ingredients that work below:
What it is: Salicylic acid is a beta-hydroxy acid (BHA) that’s derived from willow bark. As a BHA, it’s oil-soluble (compared to its water-solubleAHA counterparts like glycolic acid).
How it works: Both AHAs and BHAs work to exfoliate the skin and dissolve the bonds that hold dead skin cells to the surface of the skin. That said, salicylic acid’s oil-soluble nature makes it more effective at penetrating the skin’s sebum and lipid layer. Translation? Deep work at unclogging pores.
Plus, salicylic acid has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. The combination is what makes salicylic acid one of the best ingredients for acne scars.
The final verdict: Though salicylic acid is super effective, it can cause dryness, peeling, redness, and irritation -- particularly for those with dry or sensitive skin. As a result, we recommend that you practice care when trying salicylic products - and avoid it altogether if you have a sensitive skin type, you’re pregnant, or if your skin is particularly dry.
Product to try: When it comes to things that help acne, our Natural Acne Spot Stick contains botanically derived salicylic acid, witch hazel, & cloves, that penetrate pores fast. With an easy application, this treatment works to shrink acne blemishes overnight, while reducing swelling and redness.
What it is: The all-star of the AHA world, glycolic acid is a gentle chemical exfoliant that increases cell turnover and dissolves the bonds that hold dead skin cells to the surface of your skin. It’s a water-soluble molecule, and it’s widely considered to be the most effective AHA because of its small molecule size.
How it works: Glycolic acid increases cell turnover, helping your skin heal from breakouts, fade scars, and rid itself of any dirt and impurities that have tried to pack themselves in.
The final verdict: As one of the most effective, gentle AHA and acne fighting ingredients, glycolic acid can be a great part of your everyday skincare regimen (particularly if you have blemish-prone skin). If not, or if you just want some light, consistent exfoliation, start by working it into your routine once or twice a week. We recommend you add it into one step of your routine, like your cleanser or in a gentle exfoliating serum.
You’ll be able to increase the frequency as your skin adjusts, and it can lead to brighter, smoother, and healthier skin over time.
You can also read more about the differences between AHAs and BHAs here.
Product to try: Our Bright Side Cream Cleanser contains the acne treatment ingredients that deliver! You can count on the ultimate exfoliation with glycolic acid, mango seed butter, orange peel, and nourishing vitamin E to work double time to cleanse and uplift your skin.
What it is: Green tea is a type of tea made from the Camellia sinensis plant leaves, which aren't oxidized during processing, preserving their natural green color and health benefits..
How it works: Glycolic acid Green tea contains the unique plant compound Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). It's an antioxidant that fights inflammation and reduces sebum production, which reduces acne.
The final verdict: Green tea is effective in the fight against acne. Its polyphenols help regulate sebum production and reduce inflammation, potentially contributing to clearer skin.
Product to try:
In essence of being one of the most magical things that help with acne, this green tea packed serum will nourish the skin, while naturally moisturizing at the same time. Allowing your skin time to indulge in the soothing organic formula for a new twist on moisturization throughout the day.
Look forward to the sensation of relief, and the joy of instant hydration on impact. With our Daydreamer Natural Face Moisturizer, you'll experience the full effects of clearer skin.
What it is: Another well-known go-to, benzoyl peroxide is one of the more controversial ingredients for acne on the list. It’s available both over the counter and in prescription-strength treatments and it has antibacterial properties.
How it works: Benzoyl peroxide is one of the best ingredients for oily acne-prone skin. It works by both killing the bacteria that causes acne and removing excess oil and dead skin cells. In fact, if you're figuring out how to get rid of oily skin, this could be the way for you. It does this through oxidizing activity on the skin,meaning that - like hydrogen peroxide - it releases oxygen on the skin to destroy bacteria. Additionally, it’s a comedolytic and an anti-inflammatory, meaning that it also opens up pores and decreases skin inflammation.
This bacteria-killing ability makes benzoyl peroxide a good alternative to antibiotics in many cases, particularly if you’re dealing with antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
The final verdict: Benzoyl peroxide is one of those acne ingredients that can cause many side effects, including dry skin, burning and stinging, redness, and scaling - particularly if you have sensitive skin. That’s why we recommend that you only use benzoyl peroxide if you have oily or more resilient skin.
Also, keep in mind that the peroxide can bleach hair and clothing - so you may want to apply when you’re fresh out of the shower.
What it is: A mineral-rich paste drawn from the earth, clay has been used as a purifying skin ingredient for centuries - and for good reason. The right clay product can draw out oil and debris without stripping skin, leaving you with clear skin and acne-free pores.
How it works: While some clays can be pretty intense, a gentle clay like kaolin clay lightly adsorbs impurities from the skin - holding them on its surface like a magnet - without really removing any of the skin’s natural oils. In this way, it naturally detoxifies, exfoliates, tones the skin and reduces inflammation without overdrying the skin or stripping it of its natural oils. We recommend you find a high-quality kaolin mask or a gentle clay cleanser to leave you fresh-faced for the day.
The final verdict: This is definitely one of the best ingredients for acne that you should incorporate into your routine at least on a weekly basis - but be careful that you don’t choose a clay variety that’s too harsh.
You can read more about different clay types and how to choose the right one for your skin here.
Products to try:
This natural kaolin clay face mask contains the best natural ingredients for acne. Our No Plans Clay Mask multitasks by both preserving hydration and purifying the skin through detoxification. Replenish essential vitamins and minerals while leaving skin clean from impurities while providing lasting moisture.
This gentle cleanser can help you in becoming acne free. Ingredients such as French clay, kaolin clay, Vitamin C, and DMAE work together to draw out impurities, while adhering to the skin's natural balance.
What it is: Sulfur is an abundant element that’s been a staple in natural medicine for hundreds of years. More recently, it has been used as a popular acne treatment.
How it works: Sulfur is one of the best ingredients for oily acne prone skin. It removes dead skin cells that clog pores and helps remove excess oil. More specifically, it’s keratolytic, meaning that it works by softening and thinning the epidermis to prevent clogged pores. It also reduces bacteria growth.
It's often combined with other ingredients, such as salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide or resorcinol.
The final verdict: Products containing sulfur may cause dry skin. And some products have an unpleasant odor.
What it is: Willow bark is one of the natural acne-fighting ingredients that's derived from the bark of willow trees. It contains salicin, a compound similar to salicylic acid.
How it works: Willow bark has exfoliating properties due to its salicin content, helping to unclog pores and promote cell turnover. This gentle but potent extract is one of the less known about things to help acne. It can actually heal acne and prevent future flare-ups.
The final Verdict: Willow bark's exfoliating and anti-inflammatory properties can be effective in treating acne and improving overall skin health.
Products to try:
Our concentrated brightening treatment includes some of the best ingredients for acne scars. By combining botanical hyaluronic acid, glycolic acid, organic shea butter, and other ingredients, such as willow bark, this exfoliator offers a powerful one-two punch, allowing you to say goodbye to acne. Chock-full of natural antioxidants, this moisturizer is suitable for normal and oily skin types.
Jam-packed with coconut oil, jojoba oil, vitamin E, rose flower water, and other ingredients such as organic white willow bark extract, this body lotion spray is there to work all day and night to condition and moisturize your skin.
What it is: Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a potent antioxidant found in various fruits and vegetables.
How it works: Vitamin C encourages collagen synthesis and reduces oxidative stress. When it comes to things that help with acne, this vitamin acts by promoting skin healing and repair. It can aid in the restoration of your skin's appearance post-acne.
The final Verdict: Vitamin C's antioxidant properties and collagen-boosting effects make it one of the best ingredients for acne, scars, and maintaining overall skin health.
Product to try:
Get ready to clear pores of toxins with an incredible lineup of dandelion, vitamin C, vitamin E, and jojoba. Seeking C Face Serum reduces dark spots and dullness, while naturally preventing acne breakouts from the jump.
What it is: When asking what are the best ingredients for acne, it's important to look at vitamin A. This vitamin, also known as retinol, is fat-soluble and absolutely essential for skin health.
How it works: Vitamin A regulates skin tone and reduces discoloration left behind by acne. Its cell turnover-promoting properties contribute to smoother and more even skin.
The final Verdict: Vitamin A's ability to regulate skin tone and stimulate collagen production making it one of the best ingredients for acne prone skin. It can improve the appearance of acne scars and prevent further breakouts.
Product to try:
This fluffy whipped cream is here when your skin needs locked-in moisture the most. Packed with ingredients like vitamin C and jojoba oil, get ready for the combating effect of this ultra-hydrating cream for all skin types.
What it is: Aloe vera is a succulent plant known for its soothing and hydrating properties.
How it works: Aloe vera has antibacterial properties that can help control acne-causing bacteria and reduce inflammation.
The final Verdict: Aloe vera's antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory effects make it among some of the best ingredients for acne scars, allowing you to effectively calm and manage acne-prone skin.
Product to try:
With the best skincare ingredients for acne, such as aloe, vitamin B5, witch hazel, seawater, and kelp, you're bound to experience the magic of an effective toner for dry, oily and even acne prone skin. Our Coast is Clear Face Toner is natural and organic, working to remove excess oil, without risking it all, no fear of over drying your skin with this gem.
What it is: Niacinamide, also known as vitamin B3, is a water-soluble vitamin that plays a vital role in maintaining skin health.
How it works:Niacinamide boasts an array of benefits for acne-prone skin. It effectively reduces inflammation and controls sebum production, helping to minimize the appearance of breakouts. By regulating oil production, it aids in preventing clogged pores and the formation of new acne lesions. Additionally, niacinamide's soothing properties can alleviate redness and irritation associated with acne. Its ability to enhance the skin's natural barrier function further supports overall skin health and resilience.
The final Verdict: Niacinamide's anti-inflammatory benefits and oil-balancing effects make it one of the best skin care ingredients for acne.
Product to try:
When searching for the answer to what ingredients are best for acne, be ready to up the ante with our natural anti-aging cream. This cream restores and hydrates the skin with ingredients such as Niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, and peptides.
What it is: Tea tree is a well known antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal essential oil that’s extracted from the tea tree plant. It’s a natural blemish fighter and one of the best ingredients for acne, fighting odor, fungus, or bacteria.
How it works: Studies show that tea tree oil can effectively address acne-related concerns.
This has to do with the fact that it’s a rich source of antioxidants and antibacterial ingredients that effectively neutralize fungal, yeast, and bacterial skin issues.
At Eight Saints, we’re all about gentle, scientifically-backed, effective ingredients. That’s why, when it comes AHA vs BHA and acne-fighting ingredients, our all-star is glycolic acid. As a natural exfoliant and antibacterial ingredient, it can encourage healthy cell turnover, fade dark spots, clean pores, and allow for better penetration of other products.
Plus, it’s far less likely to irritate the skin than many of its counterparts, like salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide.
Happiness is a practice. Just like your skincare routine. In order to love the skin you're in, remove acne, and show it some TLC, we recommend our free Discovery Kit. This skin care kit offers some of the best ingredients for acne-prone skin.