Reoccurring acne can be one of the most frustrating things in the world, because everything on your drugstore shelf promises to be the best acne-fighting product ever when it comes to getting rid of breakouts, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it is. Firstly, everyone’s body is different — it’s called bio-individuality, and what works to fix your acne might cause an onslaught of new pimples for someone else. Secondly, the skincare world is filled with myths, and it’s high time we cleared some of those up.
That’s why I reached out to Dr. Kally Papantoniou, a Cosmetic Dermatologist based on Long Island. She told me that products, while very important, aren’t everything when it comes to skincare: “It is confirmed by studies that diet can play a strong role in acne, and the following are recommended: avoid dairy, reduce high glycemic index foods, refined carbs and sugars.” She also stressed the importance of a good night’s sleep and adequate hydration when it comes to clear skin.
Next, she told me all of her favorite ingredients, fixes, and tips when it comes to choosing the right skincare products to fix your acne. Here’s a list of the best ones if you’re looking to keep breakouts in check.
Look To Your Ingredients Lists
Re-Fresh Skin Therapy Peel With Salicylic Acid , $23, Amazon
When I asked which ingredients Dr. Papantoniou looks for in acne-fighting products, she said, “Salicylic acid, 2%,” because it’s a natural way to fight bacteria and lessen breakouts. This re-fresh Skin Therapy peel with salicylic acid has the right percentage according to Dr. Papantoniou, and it’s naturally derived from willow bark to gently exfoliate, lessen inflammation, and promote skin regeneration.
Use Yogurt To Fight Inflammation
FarmHouse Pajama Paste Yogurt Mask, $16, Amazon
According to Dr. Papontoniou, people with acne-prone skin can apply a yogurt mask for five to ten minutes a day. This FarmHouse pajama paste yogurt mask hydrates your skin, but it also reduces redness and eases inflammation. Yogurt has also been shown to shrink pores and reduce breakouts, and this particular brand is 99 percent natural and contains no parabens.
Moisturize With Honey And Coconut Oil
Era Organics Moisturizer Cream , $17, Amazon
“A mixture of raw honey and virgin coconut oil can be applied as a mask for 10-20 minutes for great antibacterial and exfoliative effects,” Dr. Papantoniou told me. This Era Organics moisturizer cream contains both honey and coconut oil, as well as loads of other healing and organic ingredients. Reviewers say it’s an amazing way to moisturize while taming acne — especially the cystic kind.
Look For Retinol And Vitamin C
Dr. Tabor's Trilane Retinol + Vitamin C , $36, Amazon
Another great combination of ingredients according to Dr. Papantoniou? “Retinol and vitamin C.” This gentle moisturizer, called Dr. Tabor's Trilane Retinol + Vitamin C, contains both of those ingredients as well as other antioxidant-rich ones to soothe skin, unclog pores, even ski ntone, and moisturize without breakouts.
Honor Your Skin’s Need For Oil
Molivera Organics Rosehip Oil , $13, Amazon
While some people tend to avoid oils while treating acne, Dr. Papantoniou says, “Our skin has a balance of its own natural oils, and we must remember that this balance is very important for healthy skin… There are some great oils that should not clog pores and have healthy anti-inflammatory benefits to skin, such as rosehip oil.” Molivera Organics rosehip oil is just about the best quality there is because it’s cold-pressed, pure, organic, and comes in a glass dropper bottle for your convenience.
Use Benzoyl Peroxide, But Watch The Percentage
Humane Benzoyl Peroxide 10% Acne Treatment , $22, Amazon
Benzoyl peroxide is another of Dr. Papontoniou's acne-fighting tips, but she recommends a percentage of five to 10 — any more can be too drying and harsh. Humane's benzoyl peroxide 10% acne treatment is specifically created to be gentle and soothing, even for the most sensitive skin. It cleanses skin without irritations, parabens, or fragrances, and it fits within Dr. Papontoniou’s recommended percentage. One reviewer said, “The effectiveness of this acne wash is amazing.”
Skip The Physical Exfoliants, If You’ve Got Acne
Youthful Glow Glycolic Acid Skin Peel , $12, Amazon
When it comes to physical exfoliation, Dr. Papontoniou isn’t on board, as it can irritate and cause discoloration if you’ve got acne. “I am not a fan of physical exfoliation with brushes or scrubs. I still prefer chemical exfoliants, such as glycolic acid or salicylic acid, which work gently and are superior at evening out skin tone and discoloration.” This glycolic acid skin peel is a great way to exfoliate without any germ-ridden sponges or harsh scrubs. It’s gentle enough for sensitive skin, and reviewers say it leaves their faces soft and glowy.
Soothe Inflammation With Aloe Vera
InstaNatural Aloe Vera Gel Moisturizer , $16, Amazon
When it comes to easing acne-irritated skin, some solutions are better than others. “You can apply aloe vera gel as a mask to soothe inflamed skin,” Dr. Papantinou says, and InstaNatural aloe vera gel moisturizer is a great option. It has organic and cold-pressed aloe that soaks into skin easily to hydrate, reduce swelling, and heal from the inside out
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