#1 Salicylic Acid Products – Highest Rated, Best Products and Treatments
#2 Benzoyl Peroxide Overview and Information
Like Salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide unclogs your pores by killing the bacteria that causes acne and inflammation. In fact, it works incredibly on white heads. Just be aware, it can bleach your towels and other fabrics. It is often considered the most effective over the counter acne treatment because of its ability to penetrate hair follicles to really clear the bacteria with minor irritation. Those with sensitive skin should patch test and use mainly as a spot treatment.
Treatments containing benzoyl peroxide typically have concentrations ranging from 2% up to 10%. If you have never used benzoyl peroxide before, it is a good idea to start with a low concentration and work your way up to higher concentrations.
The benefits of benzoyl peroxide can be amplified when using another acne fighting treatment such as salicylic acid or retinols. Just make sure to keep an eye on redness or flaking skin. If this occurs, either use on product in the morning and one at night or stagger the nights you use each product.
Top Rated Benzoyl Peroxide Products
#3 Acne Friendly Masks
Masks can be a great way to treat acne and clogged pores. Clay masks are great for those with oily, acne prone skin. If you have dry or sensitive skin, you can still benefit from using masks. You would just need to use the mask for less time, less frequently or as a spot treatment. Clay masks really pull all of the dirt an bacteria out of your skin and are great for blackheads. Clay masks containing sulfur are also a great option.
Perhaps the most common clay used in masks is bentonite clay, which is a highly absorbent clay that is supposed to help purify the skin and draw away oils, toxins and dirt that clog pores and cause acne. Some clay masks require you to mix the powder clay with a liquid such as water or apple cider vinegar. Others come already mixed.
It is important not to over use masks or leave them on for too long because they can cause irritation. In the above-mentioned products, the Aztec Secrets mask causes your skin to tingle (pretty intensely at times) while it sits on your face and upon removal causes the skin to be bright red for a little while after.
Top Rated Acne Masks
The above ingredients and products are great for treating acne, but what about the pigmentation left behind? That’s where alpha hydroxyl acids (AHAs) come into your routine. They exfoliate the surface layer of your skin, which helps reduce the pigmentation and flakiness on your skin as well reduce signs of aging. They are often preferred for people who suffer from dry skin because of their gentle nature. AHAs are also less drying than BHAs; some even improve your skins moisture barrier.
AHAs have many sources, but the two main sources are glycolic acid and lactic acid. Glycolic acid is the most common form of AHA. It is derived from cane sugar and has the smallest molecule size of any AHA, which allows it to penetrate the skin deeper. Facial peels utilize vey high concentrations of AHAs (or BHAs), but using treatments and serums with lower (around 10%) concentrations on a regular basis can show similar results. Glycolic acid can cause purging, so make sure to patch test.
Another AHA source is lactic acid. It is much more gentle than glycolic acid. Lactic acid is derived from milk, fruit, vegetables and other plants. It hydrates, increases natural barrier lipids in the outer layer of skin, and lightens and brightens skin. If you find glycolic acid to be too harsh and irritating, try using lactic acid. Lactic acid has a larger molecule size so it doesn’t penetrate the skin as deep as glycolic acid.
For AHAs to be effective their pH has to be low, around 3-4. They also increase photosensitivity A LOT, so it is very, very important to use sunscreen while using AHAs. Because of this, it is not recommended to use AHAs in the morning. Also using any AHA with products such as retinols needs to be done with caution, as this can cause severe irritation. Use of products needs to be staggered to minimize negative effects.