Let’s face it – Acne is no fun to be around. Not only does it leave emotional and psychological effects on its sufferer, it also impacts self-esteem and self-consciousness. We know how hard it can be to find products that actually work for your troubled skin, so here are five ingredients you should look out for in your skincare to combat acne once and for all. Good luck!

1. AHA and BHA

While two are often confused with one another, they work very differently. AHA or alpha hydroxy acids are derived from natural substances and boosts the skin’s natural shedding process, getting rid of the top layer of the skin’s surface by way of gentle exfoliation. It doesn’t penetrate as deep as BHA does, but works wonders to smooth out bumps and scars.

On the other hand, BHA or beta hydroxy acids have anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties that help with treating blackheads and whiteheads, unclogging pores and normalising the lining of pores that cause acne to develop. Yes, AHAs and BHAs can work hand in hand, but make sure you are generous with sunscreen as your skin will be ultra sensitive.

Product Recommendation:

This Works Evening Detox Spray-On Exfoliant (RM134) – Highlighting salicylic acid (a form of BHA) as its main ingredient, this overnight skin brightening tonic detoxifies the skin and helps to defend it from pollutants and environmental irritants. It gently resurfaces congested skin, while the witch hazel calms down irritation.

2. Centella Asiatica

Also known as gotu kola or Indian pennywort, centella asiatica is a perennial herb that boasts magical medicinal and anti-inflammatory properties as it is rich in antioxidants, phytochemicals, and many other nutrients. Aside from promoting collagen production to help the skin stay plump and youthful, it’s even better for acne-prone skin.

Centella asiatica works to suppress inflammation by regulating certain enzymes that cause redness and irritation, which is exactly what those who suffer from acne regularly have to put up with. On top of that, this powerful ingredient also helps improve the appearance of acne scars over time.

Product Recommendation:

Skin Inc Oxy-Recharge Bubble Mask (RM245) – Formulated with a soothing blend of natural antioxidants and centella asiatica, this revitalising one-minute 3-in-1 detoxifying peel treatment deeply cleanses, soothes irritation, lifts away dead skin cells and promotes firmness by plumping up the skin.

3. Vitamin C

Vitamin C may be excellent for ageing skin, but it also works wonderfully for acne-prone skin. On top of promoting collagen formation to plump up scars and imperfections, it protects the skin against damaging free radicals that can be found in sun exposure, pollution and environmental toxins.

Additionally, it reduces inflammation effectively while lightening hyper-pigmentation and evening out the skin tone by boosting the skin’s natural healing process. We recommend only using Vitamin C treatments at night should you be in the sun often, and similar to AHA and BHA, do not forget your sun screen.

Product Recommendation:

For Beloved One Flawless Brightening Ethyl Ascorbic Acid Essence (Price N/A) – Contains Vitamin C to restore brightness, diminish melanin, soothe and even out the skin tone, carnosine to shield against environmental damage and pollution, as well as glycolic acid to resurface the skin.

4. Snail Mucin

Before you think otherwise, know that snail mucin isn’t obtained cruelly as there are proper methods involved, and though snail mucin isn’t necessarily targeted towards acne-prone skin, a quick search on Google will attest its efficacy in terms of calming and soothing agitated skin whilst reducing inflammation and the development of new breakouts.

Consisting of hyaluronic acid, antimicrobial peptides, proteoglycans and glycoprotein enzymes, snail mucin is extremely worthwhile to look into for skin repair. Over time, it evens out the complexion, reduces redness, promotes radiance and simply eliminates new acne from popping up.

Product Recommendation:

Cosrx Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence (RM68.90) – Containing a whopping 96% of snail secretion filtrate, this essence loads the skin with replenishing nutrients for intense repair whilst offering elasticity and hydration. The result is healthy, glowy and radiant skin.

5. Clay and charcoal

It goes without saying that both clay and charcoal are potent with anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties. While healing the skin, it also draws out impurities such as bacteria, chemicals, dirt and micro-particles, besides purifying deep within the pores.

This fundamental beauty ingredient prevents clogging, blackheads and whiteheads while making sure that new breakouts will have little to no chance of making it to the surface of the skin. While we love our clay and charcoal masks, they can sometimes dry out the skin so be sure to pump back ample moisture after.

Product Recommendation:

Boscia Pink Clay Mask (RM148) – This pore-purifying peel-off mask contains activated charcoal to help minimise the appearance of pores, absorb excess oil and gently exfoliates the skin. Bonus: It also contains vitamin C and antioxidants to treat acne-prone skin.

Carmen Chong
YouTube-obsessed and a beauty junkie at heart. Find her on Instagram: @carthemen