Acne Treatment Guide to Topical Ingredients

What Really Tackles Acne in Topical Creams? 

When talking about topical acne ingredients, you're likely to hear ingredients like Benzoyl Peroxide, Salicylate acid, Retinol & Glycolic acid.

And they work like charm :-) These are the same ingredients used by some of the most expensive and known cosmetic brands, even by dermatologists and plastic surgeons. Good thing...

If you carefully choose these acne treatment ingredients, almost all of them also have anti-aging properties.

They will make your face look years younger --- and they do not bleach!

If you have not read our popular acne mask guide, download it right now

Benzoyl Peroxide

Benzoyl Peroxide (liquid oxygen) = exfoliation deep in the pores and fight acne-causing bacteria called Propionibacterium Acnes (P. Acnes). P. Acnes bacteria is found deep in the pores of your skin.

One thing this bacteria does not like is oxygen. These kinds of bacteria are called Anaerobic Bacteria.

Benzoyl helps to push the peroxide (liquid oxygen) deep into your pores to kill the bacteria.

Benzoyl peroxide will be one of your biggest allies in gaining control of your acne. Apply Benzoyl Peroxide in the evenings prior to bed on all areas that are prone to erupting pimples.

Benzoyl Peroxide

Once your acne dries and is under control, cut back on your BP usage to only a few times per week.

Your skin can become acclimated to this treatment, and we need to keep it constantly guessing what will happen next to keep it in submission.

Tip: Benzoyl Peroxide & Salicylate Acid, the next ingredient works differently and one cannot be used in place of the other. Keep Reading

Salicylate Acid

Salicylic acid a very close cousin to Aspirin, the one you take for a headache, is a type of beta-hydroxy acid (BHA) that can help treat acne by unclogging your pores.

It does so by exfoliating the skin and helping to dislodge dead skin cells that can clog pores.

You'll find it in cosmetics over the counter in 0.5%-2% concentrations.

 The cells in the lining of the hair follicles for people with acne (have high testosterone) tend to multiply faster than normal and stick to one another.

Salicylic acid works by dissolving this cement that holds those sticky cells together in the clogged pores.

Guess what happens when the cement that clumps them together melt like butter?

The skin oil drains out freely denying the bacteria an opportunity to cause acne. What You Need to Know About Salicylate The good

  • Very effective in exfoliating the skin (removing the old dead skin), making you look years younger.
  • It also reduces the pore size without compromising sebum (skin natural oil) drainage.
  • It is relatively cheap, and you can even improvise yours.
  • It rarely, if ever cause redness or a reaction.
The Bad
  • It takes a while to see the results (starting 3-4 weeks of daily use)
  • You cannot use too much of it because it can be absorbed into the body causing blood thinning
  • Some people are allergic to salicylate and Aspirin in general
Salicylate Acid is a cousin to Aspirin, the dirt cheap pill you can use for a headache.

Alpha Hydroxy Acids

There are several types of Alpha Hydroxy Acids and they work very well in acne and removing blackheads and whiteheads.

Besides glycolic acid that is mild and commonly used in acne treatment creams, the rest are commonly used in chemical peels, one of the best ways to treat acne. They are: -

  1. Glycolic Acid
  2. Lactic Acid
  3. Citric Acid
  4. Malic Acid
  5. Tartaric Acid
  6. Mandelic Acid

Glycolic Acid is the best of them all and popularly known as "The Holy Grail of Skin Exfoliation"


Retinol, a form of vitamin A, has both anti-aging and anti-acne effects. 

Retinol also reduces acne outbreaks by preventing dead cells from clogging your pores.

By clearing acne and reducing outbreaks, they may also reduce the formation of acne scars.

Just in case you wondered, see our list of anti-aging cosmetics ingredients - and retinol is one of them!

Acne scars are the reason so many people complain about dark spots on their face.

If you have dark spots and blackheads, you may need to consider using retinol.

The downside of Retinol Since it works so well removing dead skin and making your pores clear, it may make your skin more susceptible to the sun.

That is the reason why most retinol products are supposed to be used at night.

They come as a night cream or night serums. It is recommended to use a minimum of SPF 30 sunscreen if using retinol and going outdoors.

This combination gives near miraculous results - seriously! Since Our goal is to make you an informed, smart consumer... You might find a lot of products claiming to be retinol or have retinoids.

This is what you need to know.

Retinol and the other milder versions of retinol called "esters" are both vitamin A.

The difference is how long the version of A takes to be useful to the skin and in what percentages.

Retinoic Acid is instantly in the right form to exfoliate. This is prescription only and percentages ranges are from 0.025% to 0.1%.

Pure Retinol needs to be converted into retinoic acid by the skin. This can happen very quickly with a molecular (deeply penetrating) serum but can be slower if it is in a cream. Percentage ranges are from 0.05% - 2.5%.

Retinol Esters need to first be converted into retinaldehyde, then retinol and then finally into retinoic acid (sounds like a long process huh?).

A great percentage of the product is lost at this point. These percentages can be very high due to the fact that only a minuscule amount ends up finally converting to retinoic acid.

These percentages may "look" good on a package, but they do not reflect the accurate workable content. We have perfect retinol for you!

Retinol is the gold standard in Anti-Aging Cosmetics Ingredients

The Vitamin -B Family

Vitamin B5, or Panthenol, is antimicrobial and decreases pore size. Vitamin B3, or Niacinamide, creates an effective, calming barrier on the skin.

PANTHENOL (B5) Panthenol helps the skin maintain its optimal health and promotes healing of tissues.

Vitamin B5 has another important role. It can metabolize proteins, carbohydrates, and fats resulting in healthier skin cells and tissues.

The level of hydration panthenol provides as well as its anti-inflammatory advantages make it effective in relieving the itchiness and discomfort of eczema and a number of other skin conditions.

It has been verified in multiple studies that panthenol can be often used for acne treatment.

The study showed a 50% reduction in acne after 8 weeks daily usage, and it can help to decrease pore size!

NIACINAMIDE (B3) Has gone through numerous clinical studies to determine its effectiveness for the skin's health.

There are 2 important enzymes (NADH and NADPH) that contribute to the production of cellular energy and lipids.

These enzymes are responsible for cell growth. With a sufficient supply of both enzymes, your skin creates an effective barrier to external factors that also helps to prevent moisture loss.

Due to the fact that most acne treatments are drying, vitamin B3 can help to balance the skin without being greasy or aggravating acne.

Tea Tree Oil for Acne

There are so many other ingredients out there but the above are the main ones. Example, Tea tree oil is more effective than 5% benzoyl peroxide as a topical antibacterial organic and natural remedy.
However, some people are allergic to tea tree oil.

Tea Tree Oil

Neem Oil for Acne

Neem oil is more effective than 5% benzoyl peroxide as a topical antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal. The drawback is the smell.

You can mix it with Ylang Ylang essential oil to make it smell good.

Neem oil is also good against the athlete foot, skin fungal infections and it is great for hair growth.

Which One Will You Try or Have Tried Already?

Let me hear your struggles with acne, blackheads and blackspots. I wat to know which topical creams you have tried in the past. Which ones worked and which ones didn't.
I will personally respond to your comments. By leaving a comment, you may also get selected to get free acne treatment from Western Cosmetics family.
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