Here Are The Skincare Ingredients You Should Know About If You’re Prone To Acne

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Every month it feels like a new buzzword drops onto the beauty scene to further mystify the world of skincare. It’s an evolving world, and we’re here for it, but my word there’s a lot to get your head around. Especially when you’re dealing with pesky pimples and acne, and need to know which ingredients to seek out and which to skip altogether!

From AHAs and BHAs to ceramides and peptides, getting savvy on skincare ingredients does require a tad more research — which is why we asked leading dermatologist, Dr Shammi Theesan — a MBBS, BMedSci, FACD Dermatologist (Skin, Hair and Nail Specialist) Founding Dermatologist, ODE Transformative Dermatology and Garnier Australia ambassador to help clear things up (zits included), and shed light on the all-important ingredients we want in our skincare.

Salicylic Acid

Salicylic acid often features in cleansers, toners, spot treatments and acne-targeting masks or peels, as it works wonders at preventing breakouts and improving skin texture. “Salicylic acid penetrates oil to exfoliate deep inside the pore, which both prevents and treats acne,” says Dr Shammi, “It unclogs pores, reduces inflammation, and helps with blackheads and whiteheads.” 

Note: If you’ve been wondering about ‘BHA’ (Beta-Hydroxy Acid) as it pops up more and more in skincare, know that this is just another name for salicylic acid. 

Striking that perfect balance of ingredients, so as not to strip the skin of moisture, is a must. So choose products like Garnier’s Pure Active Anti-Blemish Serum, which has been designed specifically for oily, acne-prone skin.


Niacinamide — AKA vitamin B3 — functions as a skin barrier, making it a real hero when it comes to treating acne. Its antioxidant properties prevent bacteria getting down into the pores and causing spots, while also protecting against environmental stressors that lead to skin irritation. Gotta love these multi-benefits!

“Niacinamide has anti-inflammatory properties, and helps regulate sebum production,” says Dr Shammi. “It reduces redness, controls oil, and can improve the overall appearance of the skin.”


Benzoyl Peroxide

One of the more punchy ingredients in our skincare arsenal is benzoyl peroxide —  great for fighting acne, as it kills bacteria on the skin and reduces inflammation. 

“This one is really effective against inflammatory and non-inflammatory acne, but can be drying,” says Dr Shammi.

Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic acid has been a big buzzword in 2023 — but it’s more than just a passing fad. This skincare powerhouse is much lauded for its ability to attract and retain moisture. This makes it great for keeping skin plump and hydrated — and countering the drying effects of other ingredients in skincare products.

“Hyaluronic acid maintains skin hydration, which is important when using acne treatments that may cause dryness. Crucially, it hydrates the skin without clogging pores,” explains Dr Shammi.


Retinoids are derivatives of vitamin A, which is one of the body’s key nutrients for boosting cell turnover, so they have MANY skin-clearing (and also anti-ageing) benefits. Blackheads, whiteheads, cysts — you name it. Retinoids can tackle it, but again, balance is everything, as too strong or frequent use can cause irritation. Those with very sensitive skin should approach with caution. For everyone else, ease in gradually to get the best end result.

“Retinoids like retinol or tretinoin, promote cell turnover and prevent pores from becoming clogged,” says Dr Shammi. “As well as improving skin texture, they help fade post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH), and can prevent future breakouts.”

Garnier AHA BHA Serum Lifestyle Image

The Garnier’s Pure Active Anti-Blemish Serum features all of these key, acne fighting, skin enhancing ingredients and more. Learn more about the products that contain ingredients most beneficial for your skin type on the Garnier website.

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