Anyone who has dealt with acne (either previously or currently) will relate to what I’m about to say: At some point, it feels like you’ve tried every trick in the book to clear up your skin including the harsh face washes, drying treatments, activated charcoal—you name it. But most of the time, all they do is strip your skin and aren’t necessarily a permanent solution to the issue. Ugh. It took me a while to figure this out, but there’s one particular ingredient I added to my routine that really made a difference for me in a short period of time.
According to Debra Jaliman, a board-certified dermatologist, adding antioxidants to your skincare routine can make a huge improvement in your skin. “Antioxidants help protect the skin from free radical damage,” says Jaliman. “Many people with acne have post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Vitamin C helps to brighten the skin and decrease pigment so it is very beneficial.” In addition to antioxidants like vitamin C, there are a few other well-known ingredients you can add to your regimen that isn’t as harsh as other drying acne treatments. “Niacinamide is also another potent antioxidant that you will see in many skincare products,” Jaliman shares. “It helps to reduce both redness and brown discoloration. It is also used to [actively] treat acne. Retinol can also help to stimulate collagen production and helps to unclog pores because it increases cell turnover.”
As long as you test out ingredients like retinol in a lower concentration first, you shouldn’t have too big of an issue with irritation. For a few powerhouse products selected by Jaliman and myself that contain potent antioxidants, keep scrolling below.