Look for These Acne-Fighting Ingredients to Treat Blemishes

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What’s the first thing you do when you spot a pimple on your face? To avoid acne scars, picking at your pimples should be out of the question. Other than waiting for the pimple to heal by itself, you can always reach for products that help speed up the healing process.

It takes certain acne-fighting ingredients to treat pimples. From acne patches and spot treatments to clay masks and chemical exfoliants, there are plenty of products you can count on to address this skin care concern. Keep reading to find out which ingredients to look for to treat blemishes:

Salicylic Acid 

If you’re used to treating blemishes on a daily basis, then it’s probably not the first time you’ve heard about this ingredient. Salicylic acid is an oil-soluble substance that works best for oily and blemish-prone skin. It helps get rid of whiteheads and blackheads and removes dirt deep within pores. If you’re dealing with clogged pores, reach for products formulated with salicylic acid.  

Use COSRX’s Salicylic Acid Daily Gentle Cleanser to unclog  pores and prevent new pimples from forming. The cleanser combines the power of salicylic acid and tea tree oil to treat breakouts and regulate sebum production. 

Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs)

Acne can be caused by a buildup of dead skin cells, oil and bacteria. When this happens, you may notice an uneven skin tone along with blemishes popping up on your skin. The ideal ingredients to look for to tame affected areas are AHAs, including glycolic, lactic and mandelic acids. AHAs help buff away dead skin cells, revealing  smooth and bright skin.

If you have sensitive skin or you’re new to AHAs, try Beauty of Joseon’s Green Plum AHA Bubble Toner. Formulated with 3% glycolic acid and green plum water, the toner gently exfoliates skin while improving the appearance of post-acne dark spots. If your skin is used to AHAs, try Isntree’s Clear Skin 8% AHA Essence, which contains both lactic and glycolic acids, to purify skin and unclog pores.


Niacinamide is your BFF when you have acne, especially the inflamed kind. The acne-fighting ingredient doesn’t just help pimples fade more quickly, it also acts as an anti-inflammatory and antibacterial ingredient that eases irritation and reduces redness. 

To calm inflamed acne, look for skin care products with niacinamide high up on the ingredients list. A product like RNW’s DER. CONCENTRATE Niacinamide Plus fights inflammation and helps with hyperpigmentation issues. Incorporating niacinamide into your daily skin care routine can treat active pimples, while preventing them from leaving stubborn dark spots.

Kaolin Clay

For those with an oily complexion, use a face mask formulated with kaolin clay to get rid of excess oil and impurities that cause breakouts. Kaolin clay works great in keeping the shine away and removing any traces of dirt that can clog pores. For those with normal, dry or combination skin, incorporate a clay mask during the luteal phase of your menstrual cycle, when your skin is oilier and more prone to breakouts.

Use a clay mask like SOME BY MI’s Super Matcha Pore Clean Clay Mask at least once or twice a week to thoroughly clean your pores. Enriched with centella asiatica extract and tea tree leaf water, the clay mask soothes skin without drying it out.

Hyaluronic Acid

While using exfoliants and active ingredients help treat acne, it’s also important to incorporate hydrating ingredients into your routine to keep your complexion hydrated and healthy. Hyaluronic acid helps pull moisture from the air to the surface of your skin, making it the perfect ingredient to boost skin’s moisture levels. 

Apply a few drops of THE PLANT BASE’s Waterfall Moist Balanced Hyaluronic Acid 100 on damp skin to make it feel and look plump and hydrated. The serum absorbs into skin quickly and keeps skin moisturized and protected. Since hyaluronic acid is a gentle ingredient, feel free to add it into your daily skin care routine. 

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