Acne is a multi-faceted problem and for best results you should tackle all the pathogenic mechanisms behind it: bacteria, inflammation, hyperkeratinization, and excessive sebum production.
Effective treatments include:
- Vitamin B3
- Green tea
- Vitamin C
- Tea tree oil
- Benzoyl peroxide
- Salicylic acid (when combined with other treatments)
Most studies have only looked at how one of the above treatments works. As such, we don’t know whether it’s better to use just one ingredient or combine many. It’s not evident that combination of 2 or 3 ingredients would work better than a single ingredient. It’s possible that they interact and cancel each other out.
My personal choice would be to combine vitamins C and B3 with salicylic acid. Depending on what your skin tolerates, you can replace salicylic acid with benzoyl peroxide or tea tree oil. Again, I have no objective data to say which is the optimal combination.
Here are some products to try.
- The Ordinary, Niacinamide 10%
- The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2% 30ml
- The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Solution (30ml)
- InstaNatural Vitamin C Skin Clearing Serum
- InstaNatural – Skin Brightening Serum with Vitamin C
- Paula’s Choice-RESIST Super-Light Daily Wrinkle Defense SPF 30
- Paula’s Choice-CLEAR Extra Strength Daily Skin Clearing Treatment with 5% Benzoyl Peroxide
- Paula’s Choice SKIN BALANCING Invisible Finish Moisture Gel Moisturizer
- Thursday Plantation Tea Tree Medicated Gel For Acne
These are by no means your only options. You can find plenty of alternatives at Amazon and skincare stores. Searching for products with vitamin C or vitamin B3 will bring up many choices.
The Ordinary’s products are very affordable, and I like to combine all 3 serums from above. Vitamin C and salicylic acid serums in the morning and niacinamide serum in the evening. They combine very well with almost any of the moisturizers listed here, especially the SPF 30 moisturizer.
If you feel you need something stronger, you can add the benzoyl peroxide or tea tree oil moisturizers into the mix. I would apply the SPF 30 moisturizer in the morning and BP or TTO in the evening (if you choose to use them).