The Best Ingredients for Acne-Prone Skin

It might surprise you to hear that some of the best ingredients for acne-prone skin are actually hydrators. Treatment is not all about clearing away pores and removing oil. Managing hydration levels is key — and this means water levels and not oil —because acne and inflamed skin issues are linked to a compromised skin barrier. Below you’ll find our top three ingredients plus product recommendations.

The Ingredients


Hydroxy Acids

Salicylic Acid and Glycolic Acid are two important Hydroxy Acids to effectively clear blocked pores and exfoliate the dull, dead skin cells on the outer layers of the skin. Salicylic Acid also works really well to dissolve sebum and oil build-up. Many people don’t realise that Glycolic Acid is a powerful hydrator as well which means that it clears pores and smooths texture issues without drying out your complexion.


Recommended Products

Clear Skin Multi Fruit Acid Serum


Formulated with Salicylic Acid - an oil soluble Hydroxy Acid that unclogs pores by penetrating and dissolving lipids on the epidermis and within hair follicles. This gentle serum will exfoliate the skin and remove dirt, oil, product build-up and any breakout-inducing bacteria sitting on the surface. Salicylic Acid is also known to enhance the penetration and efficacy of other ingredients. Win, win!


Resurfacing Active Moisture Cream

Our skin lab is seriously proud of this moisturiser: this Glycolic Acid-rich product both nourishes the skin (to make sure the skin barrier is in tip-top shape) and then also refines any bumpy texture issues. Glycolic Acid is often thought of as a powerful cleansing and skin refining active, few people realise that it can also hydrate the skin which is what our team have been able to harness in this one product.



This ingredient’s key acne-related benefit is that it helps regulate sebum production while boosting epidermal lipids (meaning that skin remains hydrated). This superstar antioxidant is also anti-inflammatory, which is a bonus to help calm down angry and inflamed breakout zones.


Recommended Products

Niacinamide + Vitamin Complex Serum


This serum pairs two powerhouse antioxidants to target acne issues. Niacinamide works to regulate the skin’s natural oil production and improve the barrier function which in turn, reduces the number of instances of breakouts and acne eruptions. If there’s any post-blemish hyperpigmentation, then Vitamin C will work away to diminish the intensity of these markings and brighten the complexion.


Essentials Deep Hydration Moisture Cream


A daily moisturiser rich in Niacinamide that was designed by our skin lab to focus on skin barrier and elevating hydration levels. Although it has a thicker texture, this cream will not add oil to the skin. Instead, it will restore water loss and help lock in and regulate hydration which is key when targeting acne concerns. Niacinamide is also an anti-inflammatory to help calm angry complexions. For more information on Niacinamide and its myriad skin benefits, click here



While Retinol is famous for its anti-ageing benefits, an insider secret is that it also improves acne-prone skin. Retinol helps regulate oil production, increases epidermal turnover and endothelial cells (which means that it speeds up blood flow and the healing process for broken skin). When in a soothing oil-based format, it’s particularly effective as it also aids hydration.


Recommended Products

Essentials Pure Retinol 0.5% in Luxurious Plant Oils


This best-selling oil has been formulated with the powerful ingredient cushioned in ultra-calming botanical (think Chamomile and Calendula) oils. One of the biggest benefits of this oil for acne-prone skin is that it regulates oil production, reduces the tendency of cells to clump together and clog pores. It also helps stimulate cell turnover which prevents future acne damage. Those new to Retinol could start at the lower dosage 0.2%  and then work your way up slowly to the highest option of 1%.





Keep reading: The Best Retinol Routine for Acne & Blemish Prone Skin

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