Due to exposure to environmental stressors such as pollution, UV radiation, heat and humidity, acne has fast become one of the most common skin disorders today. According to Ayurveda, acne vulgaris falls under the classification of minor skin problems known as 'Kshudra Twak Rogas' and primarily occurs owing to the imbalance in Agni. This, consequently, leads to an imbalance between the three doshas, Pitta, Kapha, Vata, which further impacts the blood and tissues.
While acne may be a difficult one to control, it certainly isn't impossible. Ingredients often found in skincare products—salicylic acid, niacinamide, Vitamin C, tea tree extract—possess powerful antioxidants and lend anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial properties that work to soothe irritated skin and destroy acne-causing bacteria. Thereby, for those suffering from recurring acne, you must pick products with varying chemical compounds that offer the goodness of potent ingredients!
Take note of the following ingredients that may bring you a step closer to achieving your skincare goals:
BHA's such as salicylic acid—which are naturally found in the barks of a willow tree—are an ideal choice for those who experience clogged pores and breakouts. "Salicylic acid helps fight acne, balances the skin's pH level, provides exfoliating properties and decongests the pores by getting rid of dead skin cells. Pick a cleanser that offers this component, especially for those who possess an oily skin type. Make sure that you check the product's pH level before making the purchase," informs Dr Geetika Mittal Gupta, a Mumbai-based Celebrity Dermatologist.
Niacinamide helps regulate the amount of oil your sebaceous glands produce. "It aids your skin to grow a lipid barrier that helps retain moisture, thus making it beneficial for dry skin types. It also reduces inflammation—such as papules and pustules—and helps ease the redness due to eczema, acne, or any other inflammatory skin condition that often occurs during monsoon. Plus, it helps lighten dark spots with increased collagen production," adds Dr Gupta.
Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA's)
"Alpha hydroxy acids such as tartaric acid, citric acid, malic acid, hydroxy caproic acid, glycolic acid, lactic acid, and mandelic acid act as exfoliators that help get rid of dead skin cells and blackheads. Hence, they manage excess oil production and keep breakouts at bay," explains Anushree Chatterjee, Training and Development Manager at Mantra Herbal. "These water-soluble acids also help combat free radical damage and lighten dark spots, sunspots, tanning, and hyperpigmentation. Exfoliating the skin at a cellular level, they tackle dead skin cells which can clog your pores and dull your complexion. In addition, its antimicrobial effects help eradicate acne-causing bacteria and the moisturising properties lock in moisture, giving way to soft, supple skin," says Dr Gupta.
Tea Tree Extracts
Tea tree extracts possess anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties that help calm redness and swelling and soothe inflammation. It may also prevent and reduce acne scarring and acts as a pore purifier owing to its natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects, which promote the quick healing of breakouts. According to Chatterjee, tea tree oil is an essential oil with a comedogenic rating of 1, making it effective in treating acne. However, it mustn’t be applied directly to the skin, as it may cause rashes or irritation.
Benzoyl Peroxide and Clay
"Benzoyl Peroxide lends excellent anti-bacterial properties that help kill acne-causing bacteria. When applied to the skin, it works by reducing the amount of acne-causing bacteria and results in causing the skin to dry and peel. On the other hand, clay is a powerful oil absorber and when used in face masks, it soaks up excess sebum and pulls out dirt from the pores," adds Chatterjee.
"An antioxidant ingredient that targets spots, dullness, and uneven skin tone, Vitamin C is a powerhouse ingredient that can brighten your skin, reduce inflammation, fight free radical damage, reduce the appearance of discolouration and dark spots, and diminish fine lines and wrinkles. It re-adjusts the excess sebum on your skin to make it look healthy and well-moisturised," Dr Gupta puts forth.
In case you notice minimal or no improvement in acne despite applying products infused with the above-mentioned ingredients, consult a dermatologist.