Acne treatment Acne treatment

The Best Ingredients for Acne

The Best Ingredients for Acne The Best Ingredients for Acne

Acne, a skin condition caused by clogged pores, usually appears on the face, neck, shoulders, chest and back, says the Mayo Clinic. Production of a skin oil called sebum revs up when hormones increase, which is why acne tends to strike teenagers, pregnant women and sometimes women who are heading into menopause. The sebum joins up with dead skin cells, causing clogs that lead to whiteheads, blackheads, pimples and cysts.

Benzoyl Peroxide

Benzoyl peroxide, a familiar ingredient in many over-the-counter products, has been used for decades in the fight against acne, according to AcneNet, a website produced by the American Academy of Dermatology. Benzoyl peroxide targets P. agnes, a resident skin bacterium that flourishes, quickly multiplying and causing clogs, when sebum is in abundance. Benzoyl peroxide also helps rid the skin of dead cells.
While it battles your acne, benzoyl peroxide can make the skin overly dry, especially if not used in the recommended amounts. It also may bleach clothing, hair, sheets and towels, so care should be taken during and after application. Continuing to use benzoyl peroxide after blemishes clear will help prevent new ones, AcneNet says.

Salicylic Acid

Salicylic acid works in a different way to combat acne. Rather than targeting bacteria, this treatment works to get the shedding of skin cells under control, which in turn helps to unclog the pores and stop new outbreaks. Some users may find it irritates their skin, says AcneNet. Continual use of salicylic acid may keep acne at bay, the website says. This ingredient is sometimes combined with sulfur, long used to treat acne but rarely used alone because of its bad odor. Why sulfur helps clear up acne is a medical mystery, says AcneNet.


Topical retinoids, derived from vitamin A, encourage cell turnover to help keep the pores clear, says the Mayo Clinic. A side benefit: They also reduce fine lines and wrinkles, according to AcneNet. Three of the most common retinoids, available only by prescription, are adapalene, tazarotene and tretinoin. For the best results, these creams can be combined with topical antibiotics to provide the broadest defense against inflammation, the Mayo Clinic says.
Retinoids may cause the skin to redden, itch, burn, sting or peel, but an adjustment of dosage or mode of application can help. Use sunscreen or other sun protection, because topical retinoids may make your skin more sensitive to sunlight. Pregnant women should not use tarazotene, which has caused birth defects in animals, says AcneNet.

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