Your Go-To Guide to Getting Rid of Acne

And the best ingredients to fight it

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Most of us have dealt with acne in one form or another, and it’s never been easy. If you haven’t, consider yourself extremely lucky.

For the rest of us, obsessively analyzing every single ingredient on the back of product labels was a part-time job. If you’ve grown up at any point before the 2010s, you weren’t even guaranteed a complete list. 

But the beauty industry has transformed over the years, becoming more and more transparent about their ingredients and active agents. Totally natural products are now easily accessible too.  

While that makes things a little bit easier, knowing which ingredients to use is a science of its own. We’re here to help though. MILLE rounds up all the types of acne that might come your way and how to effectively get rid of them. 

One common note for all types: we know some days you might feel you want to tear up your own skin but please don’t touch the zits. Stay off them. And don’t forget to moisturize no matter what. 

Hormonal Acne

What does it look like?

If you tend to have sudden breakouts around your chin and jawline about once a month just before your period, then you might suffer from hormonal acne. 

Why does it happen?

It’s typically due to excessive oil production during hormonal changes, which ends up blocking your pores and causing zits. 

How to get rid of it

If your acne is mild, think about cutting back on sugars, dairy, and red meat. Outside of SOS treatments like Tea Tree oil or drying gels, hormones can be regulated by a change of diet and can drastically improve your skin condition. If you have severe hormonal acne, go see your doctor. Oral contraceptives may be prescribed to regulate your hormonal activities and prevent the chin invasion.  

Ingredients to look for in your products:

The best strategy is an oil-free cleanser boosted with one of these two ingredients, salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide. 

Philosophy Clear Days Ahead Oil-Free Salicylic Acid Acne Treatment Cleanser

Philosophy Clear Days Ahead Oil-Free Salicylic Acid Acne Treatment Cleanser
sephora.com

Blackheads

What does it look like?

Pesky black dots all around your face especially the T-zone.

Why does it happen?

Unlike whiteheads, blackheads have open surfaces due to oil that sits on pores and tends to oxidize, eventually turning black.

How to get rid of it?

Exfoliation is your ultimate weapon against blackheads. Watch out not to use harsh exfoliants that might lead to micro-tears in your skin. Chemical exfoliants are much more gentle.  

Ingredients to look for in your products:

Salicylic, glycolic, and lactic acid for a deep cleansing and pores minimizing.

Murad AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser

Murad AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleansersephora.com

Whiteheads

What does it look like?

No need for explanation on this one.

Why does it happen?

Your clogged pores cause oil and bacteria to get trapped on the surface causing an inflammation and white pimples to appear.

How to get rid of it?

Again, acids work well on all types of acne. For whiteheads, SOS zit gels are increasingly more efficient in making pimples disappear overnight. They dry out the oils on top of your acne, so don’t overlook moisturizing. Believe it or not, when your skin is too dry, your body produces more oil. 

Ingredients to look for in your products:

Salicylic Acid, whip seed oil, tea tree oil, and gentle non clogging moisturizing agents to offset all the acid exfoliation. 

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo Dual-Action Acne Treatment

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo Dual-Action Acne Treatmentamazon.com

Inflammatory Acne: Papules and Pustules

What does it look like?

Tiny red zits that come in patches and never pop, those are papules. Pustules are bigger and more swollen, filled with white or yellow liquid.

Why does it happen?

These afflictions are due to a bacteria-caused inflammation, the higher the inflammation the bigger the pustule.

How to get rid of it?

You need to calm the inflammation down without stripping your skin of its moisture. Some doctors also prescribe antibiotic creams to kill the bacteria.

Ingredients to look for in your products:

A local treatment packed with benzoyl peroxide works best. It will kill any bacteria and help soothe the pustules. Be careful not to pop them, as it can cause long-term scarring.

Kate Somerville Anti Bac Acne Clearing Lotion

Kate Somerville Anti Bac Acne Clearing Lotionsephora.com

Cystic Acne

What does it look like?

Big red pimples that hurt. They are notoriously hard to get rid of. 

Why does it happen?

This type is considered one of the most serious cases of acne is a combination of bacteria, oil, and dry skin cells that gather under the skin in the form of a cyst. People with oily skin are more prone to it. 

How to get rid of it?

Unlike other types of acne, the usual acids, exfoliation, and hydration techniques might not cut it on their own. Rather pay a visit to your dermatologist for antibiotics and cortisone solutions. 

Ingredients to look for in your products:

Salicylic Acid, benzoyl peroxide. Retinoids also work on cystic acne. 

Avene Retrinal 0.1 Intensive Cream

Avene Retrinal 0.1 Intensive Creamamazon.sa

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