Medically reviewed by Minimalist Health Specialist -  Written by Aheli Sen (Fashion & Beauty Expert)  on 28th Dec 2020

These Must-Have Ingredients Can Treat Acne-Prone Skin  

Ingredients Can Treat Acne-Prone Skin

What is the most tempting thing to do when your skin breaks out?  

Well, it could go two ways, one, where you pick and scratch out the pimple, and two, when you pile a ton of products on it with the hopes of being rid of it. 

What do we end up doing with both cases? 

Neither method works! 

The best way to work around pimples is the following: 

  • To find a product or a range that works for the condition. 
  • To find an ingredient that puts an end to breakouts and apply it in the correct format and quantity in the affected regions.
  • To have a healthy and balanced diet.  
  • To consult a derm about the correct products, agents, and medicines to be taken. 
  • To avoid touching the face too much and thus prevent further breakouts.

Ok, so we know that a dermatologist is your go-to person because they get what works for your skin type and your unique skin condition.

However, there is a magical number that they claim to work for all, it being number four. Now, why four? Well, it is nothing but the number of products that one should be layering on their face to keep the skin going.

It is important to consider the number of products that the skin can tolerate before it becomes too much and the skin either reacts badly or not at all to the excessive layering. To clean congested pores, calm inflammation, and stimulate cell turnover, four products prove to be the correct number of products for your skin.

Moreover, it must be kept in mind that in case of a terrible skin condition, a derm may prescribe the usage of more than just four products on the face.

Now, this magic number only works when:

Each product works for your skin type and condition.

Combining products work well with each other rather than canceling each other out while layering.  

With the availability of a plethora of products that treat mild or moderate acne or occasional acne over the counter, how does one figure what works best? 

These over the counter products come in all forms like lotions, creams, gels, foams, leave one, kits, treatments, and more.

The first & foremost thing to be kept in mind is first to learn which of these over the counter agents works best for you and in what format and then move to find skincare products while looking at their ingredients list to ensure the best suitable outcome.

Many food and drug admins think that many of these popular over the counter acne products could cause severe allergies and reactions that include inflammation, tightness of the throat, swelling all over the face and the tongue, etc.  

What are the most common ingredients found in products for acne? Let’s have a look, shall we?

There are a dozen acne products in the market which are part of both the medical world and the skincare world. Each of the active agents discussed below has its special function or has an overall effect.

Let us now discuss the most basic ingredients that are most widely present and in what content: 

1. Benzoyl Peroxide -

It is a bacteria-killing agent that also removes excess oil and dead skin. It is available in the strengths of 2.5 to 10 percent. Benzoyl peroxide is also very special as it is one of those active agents that treat acne over just preventing it. Its side effects would include inflammation, dryness, and rough patches. 

2. Salicylic Acid -

It is also called BHA or Beta Hydroxy Acid. It is a liquid agent that specializes in cleaning the insides of a hair follicle. Salicylic acid makes the skin feel inflamed. It is usually found in between the percentages 0.5 and 5. 

Salicylic Acid 2% Face Serum
Salicylic Acid 2% Face Serum
Salicylic Acid 2% Face Serum
Salicylic Acid 2% Face Serum

Salicylic Acid 2% Face Serum

₹ 545

When to use: PM

Frequency: Alternate days

View details

3. Retinol -

It is essential to adapt the daily skincare regime to maintain your acne-prone skin. Opt for a gel or serum that contains retinol that would help unclog pores and prevent the skin from breaking out in the future.  


Retinol makes skin extra sensitive to the sun, so it is recommended that you use it at night and go out into the sun wearing sunscreen. 

Granactive Retinoid 2% Face Cream
Granactive Retinoid 2% Face Cream
Granactive Retinoid 2% Face Cream
Granactive Retinoid 2% Face Cream

Granactive Retinoid 2% Face Cream

₹ 689

When to use: PM

Frequency: Twice a week

View details

4. AHA -

A high functioning chemical agent, Alpha Hydroxy Acid helps peel off dead skin cells. It is a very strong agent and is mostly prescribed to be on the skin for not more than 10 minutes when used in its raw chemical peel form. Even in other formats like when mixed in masks and cream and lotions, AHA is advised to be kept on the skin for shorter periods. It is also suggested to do a patch test for AHA to irritate and redden skin very fast if it does not work. 

5. Clay -

There are a billion clay masks out there. It is a popular ingredient to remove excess oil and gunk from the skin. This explains why there is an overload of this product in the market. However, not all clays are the same; even though their main function is to mattify skin and temporarily get rid of dirt, different clays function very differently for the skin.

6. Tea-tree Oil -

from all of the above agents mentioned, this is an agent we have seen to be mainly part of the skincare industry for as long as one can remember. Even though the industry is shifting to newer, more trending elements to make their products sell with changing times, no one can deny that every skincare brand almost has a range of tea tree, oily skin-specific products. Now, what is so special about tea tree oil? It is anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial; thus, unlike the chemicals we have spoken about above, this does not irritate the skin but calms it down and heals pimples by fighting off bacteria and prevents the same from appearing on the skin. The most fun part of the tea tree oil is that 5% of this agent is just as active and working as 5% benzoyl peroxide. Now that is something. 

How to go about using the above-mentioned active agents for oily skin? Easy. Here are a few tips: 

The most important part about having to treat the skin is just the same as treating any other part of the body. So, what do we do? We go to the dermatologist first. We recommend that you see the doctor and take help in choosing which format of any agent that would treat your acne. Take help. It saves time and effort.

Be patient with the results - More often than not, we think we would buy skincare and feel an immediate difference. This cannot be! It is not like changing a dress. Just like medicines take time to treat, so do skincare. It takes skincare to show results about 4 to 5 weeks, and patience is a virtue.

More often than not, we get excited to do the most, to begin with. However, we can only work and build our way up to it. For example, when we start working out, we start with the simple stuff and, over time, practice to reach more advanced levels. The same applies to the topical medicines that we use for acne. You have to start with the least concentration of a skincare product or a topical drug, and then you work your way up. Start with retinol that has the littlest concentration. Now, why are we mentioning this? Because the skin, too, needs to get used to the active agents before moving on to the next level or, as in this case, concentration.

It is always recommended to consult an experienced dermat before venturing into the world of anti-acne skincare all by yourself. It saves time, money, energy, and skin irritation caused by applying the wrong medication.