4 Nature-Powered Ingredients That Fight Acne

Harsh, drying ingredients aren't the only way to get clear skin.

Treating acne can be tricky. Sometimes, it feels like the most effective products for zapping zits just leave you with irritated, dry skin. Total catch 22, right? But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Some of the most powerful acne-fighting ingredients can be plucked right from nature and are much gentler—while still being effective—than their harsher counterparts. That’s what Felipe Jimenez, Ph.D., a biochemist and skincare product developer, found as he developed acne care line ClarityMD.

“The main goal was to create a product that reduced acne fast without harsh ingredients that can over-dry or irritate skin,” Dr. Jimenez explains. “To achieve this, we knew we had to avoid using traditional acne ingredients like benzoyl peroxide, retinoids or sulfur, which are known to be very drying, irritating and aging to the skin.”

Instead, he focused on a botanical ingredient called bakuchiol that showed promise with acne-fighting characteristics similar to traditional ingredients, but with the added bonus of reducing redness. “Not only that, but it had been used for years in Ayurvedic medicine as a skin beautifying agent,” he adds.

Here, Jimenez explains how bakuchiol and the three other ingredients found in ClarityMD’s Bionutrient Clarity Complex work overtime to keep skin clear without any irritating side effects in sight. 

Bakuchiol

There’s a reason you probably haven’t heard of this skin-clearing ingredient before: It’s not commonly used in cosmetic lines because it’s a little difficult to formulate with, explains Jimenez. But getting it right can bring some big benefits.

“Clinical data shows that it neutralizes p. acnes bacteria, reduces the production of oil (sebum) in the skin and also possesses redness-reducing properties while helping prevent scarring and dark spots caused by acne.,” he says. These three distinct abilities are why ClarityMD chose to use it over retinol—the ingredient best known for its anti-aging abilities falls short when it comes to redness reduction, and can actually irritate skin and cause redness.

Salicylic Acid

If you’ve ever suffered a breakout (who hasn’t?), you’ve probably used salicylic acid. “It’s a traditional anti-acne over-the-counter ingredient that addresses comedonal acne (non-inflammatory acne),” Jimenez says. Salicylic acid, which is sometimes referred to by its more technical name, beta-hydroxy acid (BHA), clears up acne by penetrating into the pores and breaking up bonds that glue dead skin cells together, Jimenez explains. It’s lipophilic, which means it can break through the oil build-up to effectively clean out the pore.

Glycolic Acid

Jimenez calls this ingredient a “gold-standard,” and for good reason. Glycolic acid is an alpha-hydroxy acid that works as a powerful chemical exfoliator—it “helps slough off dead surface cells and debris, helps to clear pores and addresses acne scarring,” he adds. Any discoloration you have from past breakouts will also benefit from these refining powers, helping you get clearer and more even-toned skin with regular use.

Chamomile

We’ve all been told that sipping on chamomile tea can help us wind down and calm our minds after a long day. Well, it has the same effect topically on your skin. “Clinical data shows that it is an effective anti-irritant ingredient,” Jimenez points out. Added to a product like ClarityMD, it makes it gentler on skin and helps soothe skin that’s being treated with effective acne-squashing acids like glycolic and salicylic.

This post is brought to you by YouBeauty and ClarityMD.

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