Best Ingredients to Look for in Acne Facial Cleansers

Cynthia Bailey, MD|March 7, 2016

Facial Cleanser_MainWhat ingredients should you look for in an acne facial cleanser? This is a difficult question that so many people face. The key is to look for acne facial cleansers that contain salicylic acid, glycolic acid or benzoyl peroxide. For people who also have the yeast type of acne called pityrosporum folliculitis, I recommend they alternate one of the first three ingredients with a pyrithione zinc cleanser. What do those ingredients do? The first three ingredients all help unblock pores to clear out blackheads and clogged pores. Benzoyl peroxide is also the best ingredient for treating the acne-causing bacteria called p. acnes – in fact, study after study continues to show that benzoyl peroxide is more effective at treating p. acnes than prescription, topical antibiotics! Pyrithione zinc helps to treat other pityrosporum yeast-based skin conditions such as dandruff and tinea versicolor and is a great addition to pityrosporum folliculitis acne care as well. Glycolic acid helps lighten skin hyperpigmentation from old acne lesions. It’s also a great ingredient to brighten the complexion for a more youthful appearance on the skin. What are the benefits/results you can expect? Acne cleansers with these ingredients will gradually unclog pores, reduce the size of existing blackheads and slow or stop the formation of new ones. Benzoyl peroxide and pyrithione zinc will also help to lessen red acne pimples and pustules. Why is it important to wash your face if you have acne-prone skin? There are 3 really important reasons to wash your face when you have acne prone skin:

  1. It’s a simple and convenient way to deliver treating ingredients in your cleanser to your facial skin.
  2. It allows the ingredients to be placed onto clean skin and penetrate into pores where they are needed.
  3. It’s important to remove products, pore clogging dead cells, oil and bacteria accumulated during the day. These all can worsen acne. Acne treatment starts with the use of an acne cleanser twice a day, morning and night. Facial Buf Puf Facial Buf Puf

What's the best way to use acne cleansers to achieve results? Wet your face with warm water first, then lather your cleanser over all of your facial skin. Depending on your skin type, you can use your fingers (recommended for extremely sensitive skin), an exfoliating sponge such as a Facial Buf Puf, or a sonic skin cleansing brush system such as the Clarisonic. Secondly, rinse well with warm water to remove the lather entirely. Acne cleansers are designed so that the important acne cleanser ingredients will stay behind, but the cleanser’s foaming agents as well as built-up oil, dead cells, old product and bacteria will be rinsed off your skin. Naturally Hydrating Pore-Minimizing Facial Toner Naturally Hydrating Pore-Minimizing Facial Toner Any other skin care advice for people with acne? Using a skin toner or astringent is an excellent additional step in acne skin cleansing. The toner or astringent will remove more oils and deliver additional treating ingredients. Topical products, medicines, moisturizers and sunscreen can be applied on top too. What are the best facial acne cleansers with physician strength ingredients? For my acne patients, I prescribe these cleansers: Foaming Acne Treatment Cleanser with salicylic acid and glycolic acid (in 2 different strengths): Foaming Acne Treatment Cleanser Foaming Acne Treatment Cleanser Foaming Benzoyl Peroxide Cleanser with the maximum allowed amount of 10% benzoyl peroxide to be tough on acne: Foaming Benzoyl Peroxide Acne Treatment Cleanser Foaming Benzoyl Peroxide Acne Treatment Cleanser Calming Zinc Bar with maximum strength 2% pyrithione zinc for pityrosporum folliculitis type of acne: Calming Zinc Cleansing Bar Calming Zinc Cleansing Bar Glytone Mild Gel Wash Cleanser for mild blackhead acne and anti-aging skin concerns: Glytone Mild Gel Wash Glytone Mild Gel Wash I also recommend using my Acne Treatment Pads as an additional cleansing step for oily skin. These pads remove any residual oil and deliver additional salicylic acid and glycolic acid to help unclog pores. What are the best acne products to combine with acne treatment cleansers to maximize results? Ultimate Acne Solutions Skin Care Kit, Extra Strength Ultimate Acne Solutions Skin Care Kit, Extra Strength I’ve created kits so that it’s simple to get everything you need for complete acne skin care. Glycolic Acid Skin Care Kit for Oily Skin Glycolic Acid Skin Care Kit for Oily Skin My Ultimate Acne Kit contains the glycolic acid and salicylic acid cleanser, my astringent treatment pads as well as my Benzoyl Peroxide Acne Treatment Lotion. Use the kit twice a day and watch acne improve quickly. For adult acne where a combination of anti-aging skin concerns or skin hyperpigmentation are also an issue, I created my Glycolic Acid Skin Care Kit to maximize glycolic acid treatment. What about cleansers for back acne? I created my Back Acne Kit for back and chest acne problems. The kit combines cleansers with 10% benzoyl peroxide and 2% pyrithione zinc to penetrate tough back and chest skin. Back Acne Kit Back Acne Kit What acne cleansers or treatments have you found to work for you? We'd love to hear from you in the comments! This email was brought to you by Dr. Bailey Skin Care, LLC, a company that specializes in skin care products. To stop receiving these emails, you may unsubscribe below. Disclaim Medical Advice: The information in the Dr. Bailey Skin Care web site, and related links, articles, newsletters and blogs, is provided as general information for educational and advertising purposes only. The information is the opinion of Dr. Cynthia Bailey, or other indicated authors. Consult your physician or health care provider for any specific medical conditions or concerns you may have. (This also applies to Dr. Bailey’s patients in her medical practice in Sebastopol - the information is not a substitute for, or an extension of, the medical care she provides her patients.) Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking it because of something you have read here. Use the information and products referred to in this information at your own risk. Use of the Dr. Bailey Skin Care web site, and related links, articles, newsletters and blogs indicates your agreement with these statements and the Terms and Conditions of If you do not agree to all of these Terms and Conditions of use, please do not use this site.

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