Skin Care

The Best Ingredients for Acne-Prone Skin

It’s a familiar frustrating feeling; you do everything you can to get clear skin, yet you wake up with a new zit every morning. You might find yourself breaking out around your menstrual cycle, or when you’re stressed out. Part of the issue with breakouts may be the products you’re using, as some ingredients in popular products are known to be irritating to your skin and can clog your pores. What products should you be using if you’re suffering from acne or breakouts? Here’s a list of the top ingredients for acne-prone skin:

Benzoyl Peroxide

Benzoyl Peroxide is a common ingredient used for acne due to its bacteria-killing abilities. It also is an anti-inflammatory and works to open up pores and rid them of dirt, excess oil and dead skin. When an unfriendly pimple pops up, La Roche Posay’s Effaclar Duo Dual Action Acne Treatment with 5.5% Benzoyl Peroxide is your go-to treatment to help clear unwanted blemishes. If you’re looking to incorporate benzoyl peroxide into your daily routine, Jan Marini’s Benzoyl Peroxide 2.5% Face Wash is an antibacterial cleanser that deep cleanses your skin to help treat breakouts and acne.


Retinol, a type of retinoid, is a derivative of Vitamin A. Retinoids increase skin cell turnover, which gets rid of the oil and dirt that get stuck in your pores and clog them. For an over the counter retinol product, Neocutis’ NOUVELLE + Retinol Correction Cream is easy to apply on blemishes and works to brighten and even skin. If you’re looking for an acne fix that has a salon feel, HydroPeptide’s Polish and Plump Peel is a 2-peel set that includes a chemical peel with retinol and a pampering facial to nourish your skin.

Salicylic Acid

Salicylic Acid is a beta-hydroxy acid, a type of acid that helps to chemically exfoliate the skin. BHA’s can more easily penetrate into your pores to dissolve old skin cells and oils that clog your pores, leading to clearer and more refreshed skin. iS Clinical’s Cleansing Complex is a lightweight cleansing gel that won’t dry out your skin that contains salicylic acid and glycolic acid, both known to be good for acne and breakouts. In addition, the Glytone Acne Clearing Toner contains 2% salicylic acid that works to deeply penetrate pores and effectively remove surface oil.

Glycolic Acid

Glycolic Acid is an alpha-hydroxy acid that works to break cell bonds in the outer layer on skin and the next layer to slough off the dead skin cells that can cause you to break out. The Murad Acne Body Wash uses both Glycolic and Salicylic acid to exfoliate and clear breakouts for clearer, smoother skin.

Lactic Acid

Lactic Acid is another type of alpha-hydroxy acid that works to chemically exfoliate the skin by increasing the rate of cell turnover and work to get rid of dead skin cells that clog pores. In addition, lactic acid helps to improve the skin’s moisture and keeps it from getting dehydrated. The PCA Skin Facial Wash is a gentle formula with lactic acid that cleanses your face of impurities, excess oil and makeup to help clear your skin without stripping it and causing it to dry out. If you’re looking for a physical exfoliator with lactic acid to leave your skin soft and smooth.


Sulfur helps acne by drying out spots on the skin and excess oil that contributes to future breakouts. The Clearogen Acne Lotion contains natural sulfur that kills harmful bacterial, rids your skin of excess oil and helps to clear current and future blemishes on the skin.

Treating acne and breakouts can often lead to your skin drying out, so remember to prioritize moisturizer in your routine, morning and night. It’s also important to remember that blemishes happen for everyone, and while we can’t control when blemishes pop up on our skin, we can do our best to try to control them by incorporating some of these ingredients into your skincare routine. Because breakouts can often come from stressful situations and times, be sure to take care of yourself and take time to relax, drink water, and eat your fruits and veggies!

About Dr. Alan J. Parks

Dr. Alan Parks is a board certified dermatologist. Dr. Parks founded his practice, Eastside Dermatology, in 1986 and has been practicing there ever since. In 2016 Dr. Parks launched DermWarehouse, an eCommerce website selling professional strength skin care products to customers across the United States.

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