Best Acne Ingredients For Acne And Oily Skin

Best Acne Ingredients for acne and oily skin can vary quite a bit , depending on if the person has sensitive skin, and what other skin care products the person is using.

This blog post focuses mainly on Acne grades 1 and 2 which is considered mild and moderate, respectively.


Many acne control and oily skin care product sets include many different acne control products that have the common ingredients for acne and oily skin which can include ingredients that can over dry the skin, causing some skin types to over produce oil ,making the acne worse.

Others are too harsh and can over sensitize the skin making the skin red and inflamed.

BEST Acne Ingredients for Acne and oily skin :

Step 1: Understanding what grade of acne you may have so you don’t over do it.

Step 2: Which ingredients for acne and oily skin work best for those types of acne lesions.

If you only have a few pimples and you are prescribed antibiotics or even in some cases Accutane for non responsive acne, or you have a few blackheads and whiteheads and you are automatically prescribed Retin A, this is COMPLETELY OVERDOING it. It is like trying to kill an insect with a shotgun.

Grade 1 Acne can be described as:

Very Mild Acne:

-mostly flesh colored bumps

-some whiteheads/ blackheads

-can have oily skin

-no necessarily “greasy skin”


Best Acne Treatment for Acne and Oily skin is NOT OVER DRYING THE SKIN

Typically, milder forms of acne do NOT need antibiotics, Retin A or Accutane.

This is usually a desquamation issue, which means the skin cell turnover rate is a little slower so the pore can get clogged with dead skin cells easier.

Retin A and Retinol can help speed skin cell turnover rate, but if the acne is mild, you can simply purchase over the counter products that include AHA’s such as glycolic acid and lactic acid which can be more mild on the skin.

The best ingredients for acne and oily skin where the acne is mostly flesh colored bumps, then glycolic acid, lactic acid and salicylic acids work best.

Salicylic acid is a BHA (Beta Hydroxy Acid) this is an oil soluble acid that helps dissolve oil that can be trapped inside the pore, which can be helpful with whiteheads and blackheads.

Depending on the skin condition, you don’t have to use all your skin care products that include all of theses ingredients.

Here come the PRO TIPS for these slightly varying degrees of acne.


Step 1: Use a gel based balancing cleanser -This type of cleanser will help hydrate the areas that are dry and balance out the more oily areas.

A good example would be on such as the Ormedic Balancing Cleanser where they do not use any sulphates. Gentle surfactans such as decyl glucoside/ cocoglucoside are gentle surfactants that are sugar or coconut based cleansers.

Step 2 : Double Cleanse with a mild acne control cleanser or a cleanser for normal – oily cleanser

Step 3 If you have sensitive skin, use a gentle exfoliating product that has lactic acid or enzyme based exfoliant such as having bromelain (from pineapple) /papain (from papaya). Exfoliating cleansers do not work as well as an exfoliating product.

It is basically a cleanser that has some exfoliating properties. It was never meant to effectively exfoliate the skin.

Apply with a matte moisturizer that will help absorb oil ONLY IN THE OILY AREAS or an OIL FREE MATTE MOISTURIZER SUNSCREEN.

***IF you have hyperpigmentation, this OIL FREE SUNSCREEN also has plant based lighteners to help boost up the lightening ingredients in your serums.

***Sensitive skin ***use less AHAs . IF you can tolerate Salicylic acid as a spot treatment while using an enzyme based exfoliant, this may work better for you over time. However, Enzyme based exfoliants that do NOT contain any acids do not work as effectively as exfoliants that have AHA’s as their main exfoliating ingredient.

Focus on for mild acne:

-Hydrating the skin with right moisturizer to help balance out oil and water in the skin to naturally control oil.

Oily skin- water based hydrating treatment may be a better fit.

-Finding the right cleanser-

-Exfoliating regularly with the right product.

Best Acne Treatments for Acne (Moderate Grade 2):

Moderate Acne Grade 2: No overall inflammation of the face. Instead of having random pimples, there are a few more:


-most pustules/ papules

-may have oilier areas of the face such as the forehead, nose, and chin

Best Ingredients for acne and oily skin:

Benzoyl Peroxide works best on red papules and pustules, especially if you have more oily skin. Benzoyl Peroxide is not recommended if your skin is sensitive and if you are also using another drying agent such as Retin A or taking Accutane.

If your skin is NOT sensitive and you have persistent oily skin, then an acne cleanser along with using a balancing cleanser or exfoliating cleanser may work.

If you have quite a few break outs BUT not very oily skin, then you can use a balancing cleanser and a stronger exfoliating product.

Most acne cleansers will have some sort of sulphates to help break down oily skin.

This acne cleanser works if you just have oily skin with some break outs or if you have extremely oily skin with persistent break outs. Although I avoid sulphates in most cleansers, this one uses a gentle form of a sulphate to help break down very oily skin or someone who uses heavier oil based make up to help cover their acne.

Acne Cleanser:

The best acne ingredients for acne and oily skin for grade 2:

More Blackheads-salicylic Acid spot treatment

Glycolic Acid/Retinol- this should be fine with cleansers and exfoliating products

Exfoliating masks that you can use BOTH as a scrub AND a mask to help with:

-red bumps


-acne scars

Ageless Resurfacing Masque



If you are in between acne grade 1 and grade 2 where you have acne and some oil but more BUMPY SKIN, an exfoliating cleaner that is not harsh with sulphate or lower in acids , this product may help.

Best Exfoliating Cleanser

This low foaming cleanser has a combination of :

Glycolic Acid: (water soluble )to help speed up skin cell turnover rate and help even out skin tone

Lactic aid/Malic Acid: water soluble gentle hydrating aha. Both of these are larger molecules than the glycolic acid so it is not as harsh and hydrating to the skin.

Salicylic Acid:oil soluble exfoliating agent to help dissolve oil that are clogged in the pores to help minimize blackheads and whiteheads.

To help understand the differences between the ingredients best for acne grade 2 or above:

Benzoyl Peroxide vs Salicylic Acid vs Retinoids for Acne

Benzoyl Peroxide is a better spot treatment for red papules and pustules.

***If you find that your skin is persistently oily NO MATTER what product you use, then diet may also be a contributor to the excess oil production in addition to genetics, weather, and food.

Certain foods are known to affect hormone levels in the body which can affect sebum production. To find out if you may be eating foods that are known to be common triggers for acne, then check out this video below:

Acne and Diet


If your acne is more severe, then please look for our blog post regarding the best acne treatments for acne grade 3 and 4.

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