acne-fighting ingredient
Beauty Talk

Top 6 Ingredients Proven to Fight Acne Effectively

Last Updated on May 30, 2020

Looking for the best acne-fighting ingredient to keep pimples away? At some point in life, you will likely get acne. And if you have oily skin like me, you are probably dealing with them every month.

And now that summers have begun, the acne situation is going to get much worse for people with acne-prone skin. Hence I decided to share the best acne-fighting ingredients that will keep your skin clear and healthy.

Which Acne-Fighting Ingredient Will Help Clear Your Skin?

1. Neem

Neem has been used as an acne-fighting ingredient in our Indian culture for centuries now. Even scientific studies have proven that neem leaves and oil contain anti-microbial properties which can help fight acne-causing bacteria.

Neem is also the cheapest acne-fighting ingredient which you can easily find online and offline in India. I personally love using neem oil as a spot treatment on those angry red pimples to reduce swelling and heal them quickly.  

How to Use It:

If you get pimples on a regular basis, mix neem powder into clay mask as a biweekly treatment.

Neem oil also works as a wonderful spot treatment to treat active acne. Apply it 2-3 times in a day directly on the spot to reduce inflammation and kill bacteria.

neem as acne fighting ingredient

2. Salicylic Acid

This ingredient that has shown amazing results in treating mild to severe cases of acne. Salicylic acid is a beta-hydroxy acid that helps exfoliate the skin by loosening the bonds that hold the top layer of skin together.

Being oil-soluble in nature, salicylic acid can penetrate through the layer of sebum on your skin to exfoliate deeper. This helps reduce acne from forming by prevents pores from clogging.

Salicylic acid also has some antibacterial properties which can further help treat acne. I highly recommend using a leave-on product to get the most benefits out it.

I use it twice in a week when my periods are close as that’s when I get most of my pimples.

the ordinary salicylic acid serum

How To Use It:

You can find salicylic acid in cleansers, serums and even some moisturizers in the concentration of 0.5-2%. If it is cleanser or moisturizer, you can use it every day.

But if it is a serum, I recommend using it 2-3 times a week. Alternatively, you can use it daily as a spot treatment too, but on active pimples only.

Pro tip: Salicylic acid can be a bit drying so keep your skin moisturized at all times. 

3. Tea Tree Oil

Green beauty market is full of anti-acne products made with tea-tree essential oil as the key acne-fighting ingredient. This potent essential oil made from an Australian shrub has antimicrobial properties which help kill bacteria on your skin.

Being an essential oil, it can be highly sensitizing if overused. Hence under no circumstances should you be applying undiluted tea tree essential oil to treat acne or any other skin issue.

How To Use it:

I will recommend you to avoid trying any DIY treatments with tea tree oil. If you wish to use tea tree oil to beat acne, buy a readymade product from a respectable brand.

Or else you can use steam-distilled tea tree hydrosol as a facial toner. It is gentler on the skin but has similar acne-fighting properties. Here are some recommendations-

Vilvah Tea Tree Water

Juicy Chemistry Australian Tea Tree & Basil Water (Use code “DEMURE10” to get 10% off)

Nature’s Tattva Tea Tree Hydrosol

4. Green Tea

Green tea, when applied topically on a regular basis, can reduce sebum production. This is due to an antioxidant in it called ECGC that helps reduce DHT levels(more on it here). 

Green Tea also helps reduce inflammation. And lower sebum levels and inflammation equals to lower chances of acne too!

How to Use It:

You can make a DIY Green tea toner easily at home with just some green tea leaves. Brew 1 cup of green tea and when it cools down, store it in a clean spray bottle.

Spray this on clean face 2-3 times during the day and gently pat it in. You can also use this to activate your face mask.

5. Retinol

Retinol is a Vitamin A derivative which is one of the most successful ingredients for treating acne. It exfoliates the skin, reduces inflammation and even helps fade the acne scars afterwards.

Sadly, most retinoids(vitamin A derivatives) products in India are sold in pharmacies and require a prescription. So if you want to use this, talk to your doctor for a prescription. 

Retinol also has side effects like redness, flaking and burning sensation, so if you have sensitive skin, use it with caution. 

How To Use It:

Retinol is a strong ingredient and hence it is best to start using it once or twice a week only for the first few weeks. Start with the lowest concentration and allow your skin to adapt to it.

Also Read: My Top Picks for Acne-Fighting Serums in India

6. Clay

If for some reason I skip applying clay mask for a week or two, my skin immediately starts feeling clogged and I can see tiny whiteheads all over my skin. Because natural clay act as a magnet for excess oil and dirt.

It even gently exfoliates the skin to keep your pores clean. Which is why I think clay is it is one of the best acne-fighting ingredients for oily skinned people. 

Multani Mitti or Fuller’s Earth is my top choice since it is easily available in India and cheap too. But these days kaolin, bentonite and rhassoul clay are also easily available from brands like Nature’s Tattva. (Use code “RUTUD10” for 10% discount)

summer essentials for oily skin

How To Use It: 

Apply clay masks 1-2 times in a week for best results. (Here are some easy yet effective face mask recipes to try) You can also add them in DIY powder cleanser and ubtan recipes. 

Which acne-fighting ingredient do you use to treat your acne? help us out by share your recommendations.

* This post contains affiliate links. If you choose to purchase using the link, I will earn a small amount (at no extra cost to you!) The amount helps me maintain website costs and bring more and better content to you.

acne fighting ingredients
acne fighting ingredients

Hi, I am a freelance writer and beauty enthusiast from Mumbai. As I navigate the realms of beauty, my mission is to empower you with the right knowledge to nurture yourself and feel confident in your own beautiful skin.

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