Fighting acne? 6 skincare ingredients you need to know to win

By Kens Apothecary

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If you’re in constant battle with acne, then you know that the struggle is real.

Waking up to a new pimple while trying to stave off whiteheads and blackheads can be frustrating. Your makeup doesn’t apply smoothly. Your confidence takes a dip. All you want is clear, healthy skin.

Is that too much to ask? Never.

That’s why we’ve rounded up 6 skincare ingredients that put up a good fight against acne. Learn how these ingredients work towards your journey to clear skin.

Salicylic acid (also known as beta-hydroxy acid, BHA)

This anti-inflammatory champion is one of the most effective and popular acne-fighting ingredients around. With the ability to penetrate through sebum (perfect for oily skin types), salicylic acid cleans pores from the inside to prevent it from being clogged and forming acne.

We recommend: Eve Lom Dynaspot — this nifty spot treatment with salicylic acid and antiseptic extracts soothes inflammation and works fast on breakouts. It also has a universal skin-tint and can be used under or over makeup.

Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs)

While BHAs work deep in the pore itself, AHAs are water-soluble and slough away at the surface level. Popular AHAs include glycolic acid, lactic acid, mandelic acid and enzymes from papaya, pineapple and other fruits. Problem skin should not shy away from exfoliation — in some cases, a build-up of dead skin cells and clogged pores are the cause of acne in the first place.

We recommend: Omorovicza Acid Fix — a gentle blend of glycolic acid, lactic acid and salicylic acid in a lightweight formula, this exfoliant refines skin texture, promotes cell turnover to prevent congestion and aids in moisture retention.

If you’re new to exfoliation (or think you don’t need it), read our guide on why exfoliation is the key to getting clear, smooth skin.



Niacinamide is quite the workhorse in skincare: it’s anti-inflammatory, regulates sebum, strengthens the skin’s protective barrier and has anti-aging properties. For acne-prone skin, this means less pore congestion (thanks to the skin generally being less oily) and improved clarity.

We recommend: Caudalie Vinopure Blemish Control Serum — a lightweight fragrance-free serum with niacinamide, salicylic acid, non-comedogenic essential oils and antioxidants to visibly reduce blemishes, blackheads and refine skin texture.


Acne skincare ingredients - KENSapothecary Malaysia

Keep skin hydrated when you use acne treatments to avoid dryness, inflammation and redness. (Photo: Unsplash)

Borago oil

Borago oil (sometimes known as borage oil) is a rich source of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), a fatty acid that helps with inflammation, redness and dehydration. Borago oil has a low rating of 2 on the comedogenic scale, making it suitable and low-risk for oily skin types (anything upwards of 4 is considered comedogenic).

We recommend: Grown Alchemist Matte Balancing Moisturiser Açai-Berry Borago — this lightweight moisturiser is formulated with antioxidants like açai to renew cells and sesame seed extract to regulate sebum. Borago oil improves the appearance of skin while rice bran oil encourages skin repair.



Glycerin is a favourite among dry skin types due to its ability to retain moisture. Oily and sensitive skin, however, can also benefit from this extremely gentle ingredient. It helps with inflammation, redness and promotes new cells to grow while plumping up the skin to result in a more youthful appearance.

We recommend: Dr Sebagh Breakout Foaming Cleanserthis doubles as a makeup remover and uses oat amino acids and glycerin for a deep cleanse that regulates sebum without stripping the skin’s natural moisture levels.

Azelaic acid

Often used to treat rosacea as well, azelaic acid can kill bacteria that forms acne, reduce inflammation and lighten dark spots from past breakouts. This gentle ingredient is often used as a boost with other acne-fighting products and is suitable for sensitive skin that may not be able to tolerate stronger acne treatments.

We recommend: Ren Ready Steady Glow Daily AHA Tonic — an exfoliant with a gentle formulation that combines lactic acid and willow bark to clean and tighten pores, and azelaic acid to brighten skin tone. This multi-tasker also targets congestion and resurfaces the skin to reveal a glowing, smooth complexion.


While these skincare ingredients are some of the most effective when it comes to fighting acne, don’t load on too many products in your routine. This can often wreck havoc on skin and make things worse.

We always recommend a patch test if you’re concerned about introducing new products to your routine. Come by to KENSapothecary stores and try out a product to see how your skin will react.


About The Kens Apothecary

2 Thoughts to Fighting acne? 6 skincare ingredients you need to know to win

  1. Luther Reply 08/04/2019 at 12:00 pm

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  2. Kathaleen Reply 08/04/2019 at 9:14 am

    Hi there! Such a nice short article, thanks!


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