Discover the best skincare products for acne, for all skin types.

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Acne: Causes and Treatments

Acne forms when a pore becomes blocked up with excess sebum (oil produced by your skin), dead skin cells, and/or bacteria. 

There are a variety of factors that may cause the pore to become clogged:

  • Hormonal fluctuations (such as during puberty or pregnancy) and certain medications
  • It is believed that diet may contribute to acne as well and that eating too much refined sugar or carbohydrates can play a role
  • If your parents had (or have) acne, you may also be genetically predisposed to developing breakouts

Treatment options for acne

As far as treatments, there are both oral medications and topical products that can be used to treat and prevent acne.

Oral medications for acne

Oral medications require a prescription, but there are both over-the-counter and prescription-strength topical products available. 

  • Short-term oral medications, such as antibiotics
  • Longer-term prescription medications that women can take, such as birth control and spironolactone
  • For more severe cases, a medical professional may prescribe isotretinoin (commonly referred to as Accutane)

Topical products for acne

A dermatologist can also prescribe topical prescription products, including:

  • retinoids
  • antibiotics
  • dapsone (Aczone)

Often, these products will be used in tandem with oral medications to achieve the best results.

Without a prescription, there are a variety of over-the-counter products, such as:

  • serums
  • treatments
  • exfoliants
  • face washes
  • masks 

We’ll go over some of the key ingredients to look out for below.

Best Products for Acne

If you’re looking to add some skincare products to your routine to help fight acne, there are a few effective ingredients to look out for. 

This includes:

  • benzoyl peroxide
  • salicylic acid (a beta hydroxy acid)
  • retinoids
  • sulfur
  • zinc

All of these ingredients have been proven to help fight acne. 

While a face wash formulated with one of these ingredients can be beneficial, you’ll get the best results by using exfoliants, serums, and/or treatments containing some of these key ingredients.

You’ll find some great product recommendations here on Skincare Hero.

Add products slowly

Keep in mind that you should only add one new product to your skincare routine at a time.

That way, you can see how your skin reacts, and best determine whether a specific product is working for you.

Be consistent

It’s also key to stay consistent with your general skincare routine.

Everyone (including those with acne) should be cleansing and moisturizing their skin on a daily basis to remove potentially pore-clogging debris and keep the skin hydrated and balanced.

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