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The Best Ingredients for Acne

The Best Ingredients for Acne

Learn how to build a skincare routine that will clear blemishes and calm breakouts.
13 May 2022
The Best Ingredients for Acne
Learn how to build a skincare routine that will clear blemishes and calm breakouts.

There are a lot of reasons why pimples can make an appearance: naturally oily skin, a fluctuation in hormones or an increase in stress, for example. They can also be caused by the friction that can occur with wearing a face maskโ€”a type of breakout that has come to be referred to as โ€œmaskneโ€. Regardless of the source, when it comes to treating a breakout, the answer is clear: A consistent routine that contains the best skincare ingredients for acne will reduce existing pimples and prevent future ones.

La Roche-Posayโ€™s Effaclar line is skincare for oily to acne-prone skin. The Effaclar range contains several dermatological ingredients with properties to care for oily to acne-prone skin. To give your blemish-prone skin a helping hand, hereโ€™s what you need to know about each one.

Salicylic acid

The number one must-have ingredient in any acne skincare routine is the beta-hydroxy acid (BHA) called salicylic acid. To understand what this powerhouse brings to the table, we need to take a closer look at white heads and blackhead pimples, or pustules. A pimple is created when excess sebum (a.k.a. oil) builds up in a pore and becomes trapped along with dead skin cells. The result? A congested pore that appears as a bump in your skin.

Salicylic acid can dissolve the congestion by actively loosening the gluelike bond between skin cells, which makes it particularly effective at unclogging pores, especially blackheads. But itโ€™s also oil-soluble and oil-loving, which means that itโ€™s uniquely equipped to travel deep within the epidermis, unlike other ingredients that work on the upper layers of skin. The impressive clearing power of salicylic acid also helps to reduce inflammation, which speeds up the healing process.

The first step in the best acne treatment plan is using a cleanser with salicylic acid to help remove excess sebum. La Roche-Posay Effaclar Micro-Peeling Purifying Gel contains 2% salicylic acid plus lipo-hydroxy acid (LHA). LHA, a derivative of salicylic acid, delivers a gentle micro-exfoliation without irritating skin. Used daily, it will deeply unclog pores and leave your skinโ€™s texture smoother.

Glycolic acid

If you want to effectively treat your acne, then you need to know about another essential acid ingredient. Meet glycolic acidโ€”a type of alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA). The ingredient naturally occurs in sugar cane but has long been synthetically derived to create safe and potent skincare products; it remains the most studied AHA.

As a family of water-soluble ingredients, AHAs offer exfoliating benefits that can impact the surface of the skin. Glycolic acid can break apart the bonds of dead skin cells to help reveal fresh skin underneath. It can improve a rough or dry texture, reduce the appearance of dark spots and stimulate collagen production, which has a firming effect.

Glycolic acid also boasts a vital stat: It has the lowest molecular weight of any AHA, which allows it to be transported under the outer layer of the skin. Glycolic acid also excels at reducing the look of acne scars. And it has antibacterial properties, too!

To reap the most of this ingredientโ€™s rewards, look for it in a product thatโ€™s meant to be left on the skin, such as Effaclar Ultra Concentrated Serum. This nightly serum has tri-acid complex that contains glycolic acid, salicylic acid and LHA, and it works to reduce the look of pores while refining an uneven skin texture. The concentrated blend also contains niacinamide, another workhorse for acne-prone skin worth discovering.


Also known as vitamin B3, niacinamide is one of the buzziest ingredients in skincare lately. And there are plenty of reasons why it deserves recognition. The antioxidant can aid in repairing damaged skin, but thatโ€™s not all! Niacinamide has an outstanding reputation for reducing the look of enlarged pores and helping to improve an uneven skin tone, which makes it a game-changer for treating acne-prone skin.

A moisturizer with niacinamide such as Effaclar Duo (+) Global Acne Treatment is an ideal way to incorporate the standout ingredient into your acne skincare routine. Oily skin needs hydration to maintain its balance. If it becomes dehydrated, then sebum production can start to overcompensate, leading to clogged pores. This oil-free lotion provides necessary hydration and is formulated with salicylic acid to act on imperfections without drying out blemish-prone skin. Not only treats acne, but also keeps the skin hydrated for 24 hours.


Acne is an inflammatory skin condition, so an ingredient that has a calming effect scores big points. Thatโ€™s where zinc comes in! Naturally present in our bodies, zinc is a trace mineral that plays an important role in a range of biological functions, such as the growth of cells, healing injured tissue and maintaining a healthy immune system. Applied topically, zinc is known to have anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antifungal properties and has a purifying capability that helps remove excess oil.

Treating oily skin with a gentle cleanser that contains zinc, such as Effaclar Purifying Foaming Gel, will help remove dirt, oil and impurities while soothing breakouts. The lightweight gel also contains prebiotic thermal water, which further helps to calm skin and reduce irritation. Suitable for sensitive skin, the soap-free formula can be used on the face, body and scalp.

Want to learn more about acne skincare? Check out this article on what causes acne and how to prevent it.

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