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By Cynthia Bailey MD. This page was updated on Sun, Sep 15, 2019

As a dermatologist, I know that the best way to get rid of acne is to use Complete Skin Care Routine made with synergistic products that take good care of your skin and help fight acne. These include products for the 4 essential skin care steps of,

  1. Cleanse
  2. Correct
  3. Hydrate
  4. Protect

Acne treatment always works in 2 main ways:

  1. By unclogging pores to get rid of blackheads.
  2. By treating germs that cause pimples.

These steps are typically accomplished in the Cleanse and Correct step of your skin care routine.

The other products you use need to work with your cleansing and correcting products, and not counteract those products.

How do acne treatment products work?

In spite of the thousands of confusing acne products available, there are only 5 non-prescription acne medication ingredients that work well. These ingredients are not technically “natural”. That said, I have a full range of powerful acne products with all 5 of these key ingredients at levels that work to stop acne, and you need to know what these ingredients are:

What are the most effective acne treatment ingredients found in the best acne products?

  1. Benzoyl peroxide (which kills P. acnes, also called C. acnes, the germ associated with acne vulgaris, which is the classic teen acne.)
  2. Salicylic acid (a beta hydroxy acid that penetrates deeply into oily pores to help break up clogged pore debris that tucks the C. acnes germ into a nice stronghold where it can worsen acne.)
  3. Glycolic acid (an ingredient originally derived from sugar cane that helps exfoliate skin to loosen clogged pores. It also helps to lighten the appearance of acne scarring.)
  4. Retinol (vitamin A, which helps to dislodge blackheads and reduce acne scarring.)
  5. Pyrithione zinc (which helps reduce the Pityrosporum yeast that often plays a role in Pityrosporum folliculitis type of acne.)

These are pharmaceutical ingredients, stabilized and turned into medicines and effective acne fighting ingredients.

My opinion, as a dermatologist is that choosing products with some of these ingredients, and balancing the rest of your skin care routine with natural products, is the best way to fight acne, which is a frustrating, embarrassing and often emotionally painful skin problem.

What is the best way to prevent acne scars naturally?

Know that by healing and preventing acne, you also allow your pimples to heal and allow acne scars to fade. Retinol and glycolic acid products help fade acne scars. Wearing a good broad spectrum mineral zinc oxide sunscreen helps to prevent hyperpigmentation from acne lesions, called post inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH).

Should you use a moisturizer when you have acne?

Use moisturizers that balance skin hydration without oils. This helps to prevent skin dryness and skin barrier weakening. The most popular moisturizer with my acne patients is my Daily Face Cream for Oily Skin. Extremely oily skin may only need my Instantly Luminous Serum, which has hyaluronic acid and glycerin to hold in skin moisture. Green Tea Antioxidant Skin Therapy is also rich in hyaluronic acid as well as loaded with green tea antioxidants to help fight skin inflammation, including redness from acne.

Why do you need to wear a sunscreen when you have acne?

Protect your skin from pigment inducing UV rays using oil free mineral zinc oxide sunscreens every day. Oily complexions benefit from the mattifying properties of my Sheer Strength Pure Physical Tinted Matte SPF 50+ Sunscreen.

What is the best makeup for oily skin with acne?

If you wear makeup and have oily skin, use a pure mineral powder that contains kaolin clay, which helps absorb oil throughout the day. My Loose Mineral Powder is ideal.

How to create a Complete Skin Care Routine for your facial skin that incorporates acne fighting ingredients and a desire for natural skin care products:

CLEANSE with either my Naturally Best Bar Soap or Hypoallergenic Natural Shower Gel. If you have Pityrosporum-type of yeast acne, use my Calming Zinc Soap. If you have significant acne vulgaris, consider using my Triple Action Exfoliating Cleanser or Glycolic Acid Face and Body Wash. Yes, the latter two are not technically natural products, but they importantly deliver ingredients that help unclog pores and are formulated with mindfully chosen ingredients. If you have large pores or oily skin, consider using my Naturally Hydrating Pore Minimizing Toner.

CORRECT acne with Benzoyl Peroxide 2.5% Cream if you have pustules. This is about as simple as an acne treatment can be. If you have a combination of pustules and clogged pores or blackheads, consider using Retinol Night Cream at night and Benzoyl Peroxide during the day. If you have tolerant skin you can top the Retinol with Glycolic Acid Face Cream. Correct inflammation with my Green Tea Antioxidant Skin Therapy.

HYDRATE with my Daily Moisturizing Face Cream for Oily to Normal Skin. If you have excessively oily skin, your sunscreen may provide enough protection from skin moisture loss.

PROTECT with one of my Sheer Strength Pure Physical Sunscreens, all of which are oil free and give the best broad spectrum protection. Choose from Spray or Invisible for all complexion types, or Matte Tinted for oily complexions or those wanting help softening complexion flaws.
Top your skin care routine with Mineral Powder if you wear makeup.

How do you create a complete skin care routine for acne on your body, back and chest?

CLEANSE AND CORRECT: Wash with Calming Zinc Soap and consider alternating that with my Triple Action Cleanser using a Salux Cloth.

CORRECT AND HYDRATE by applying my Glycolic Acid Lotion to help unclog pores. You can spot treat with Benzoyl Peroxide.

PROTECT with sun protective UPF 50 clothing or my Sheer Strength Pure Physical Spray SPF 50+ sunscreen.

These examples give you a balance between powerful acne fighting products and natural skin care products. It’s not easy to fight acne with an entirely natural skin care routine. Learn more about acne on my Acne Advice Pages, where I describe the different types of acne and diet and lifestyle choices that will help support your efforts to have clear skin.

Shop my dermatologist-recommended acne products and natural skin care products to treat,

  • adult acne,
  • teen acne,
  • back and chest acne.

About The Author
Cynthia Bailey, MD
Dr. Bailey Skin Care
(888) 467-0177
425 South Main St
Sebastopol, CA
95472 US