This week, The Skin Edit team speaks to top skin expert Nadine Baggott. The beauty editor and TV presenter shares her advice on what active ingredients to look out for when choosing skincare for acne-prone or problem skin. So don't wait any longer and read on for tips on how to get the smooth, glowing skin you've always wanted!
When it comes to solving skin problems my advice as a beauty editor is to always look at the list of ingredients in your skincare. This is never more true than when it comes to battling breakouts and acne.
I promise that you will NOT need a science degree for this (I have one and even I find it a little baffling) but remember that certain active ingredients work, and will appear time and time again in the best products.
So, what should you look out for? Well, it doesn’t matter if you have the odd spot around the time of your period, or full on acne, the ingredients are the same. I shall list them here so you can use this as a step-by-step approach.
Try the first ingredient and if it doesn’t work, then try the next. You will also find more than one in the best products because you need an exfoliant to unblock pores, an antibacterial ingredient to help zap the nasties that feed on your sebum, and an anti-inflammatory to take down the bumps and redness. Here are the ingredients you need to look out for.
Salicylic acid is the gold standard chemical exfoliant to treat spots, breakouts and acne. It is lipophilic, in other words it’s attracted to oil to it gets right into the sebaceous gland where it exfoliates the dead skin cells that clog pores and follicles and causes the congestion that creates spots, blackheads and whiteheads. It also has an anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial effect.
LHA, or lipohydroxy acid is the latest exfoliating acid on the block, again it is attracted to oil so is ideal for spots and acne. It also has a mild anti-microbial (bacteria killing) and anti-inflammatory effect.
Another name for vitamin B3 or niacinamide, it has been found to be effective in the treatment of breakouts because it is a powerful anti-inflammatory, so it takes away redness and swelling.
Benzoyl peroxide is listed by the World Health Organisation as an essential medicine because it has such a powerful antibacterial effect. In acne products it works topically to kill the bacteria that thrive on oily skin.
Finally look out for retinol, a derivative of vitamin A that can be used as retinoic acid (or retin A) on prescription to treat very bad acne, but that has a relative called retinol found in over the counter skin care that works on spots. Many people think that retinol is an exfoliant but it isn’t; what it does is send message to the deeper cells telling them to behave in a healthy way and this can speed up skin shedding and flaking. This effect helps clear out blocked pores and at the same time retinol helps boost collagen production to reduce the effect of acne scarring.