Experts Share Their Insights
“I like resveratrol, a natural antioxidant found in red grapes, for acne” says Viseslav Tonkovic-Capin, MD, FAAD, a Kansas City, Missouri-based dermatologist. “It kills bacteria (including cutibacterium acnes, one of the causes of acne) by damaging its membrane while calming down inflammation. Resveratrol also reduces the plugging of the pores, which is another cause of acne.”
Try it in: African Botanics Resurrection Cell Recovery Serum
Put this on at night before moisturizer or face oil. It purports to have acne-fighting power, in addition to providing protection from sun damage and fine lines.
“This plant extract has the effects of retinol without the side effects of redness and irritation,” says New York City-based dermatologist Marie Hayag, MD. “I think everyone should use retinol, but not everyone can tolerate it. Bakuchiol, which is a vegan alternative, is much more tolerable, but, thanks to anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, can still be helpful for acne. It also increases cell turnover and helps collagen production and thus improves fine lines and photodamage.”
Try it in: Herbivore Bakuchiol Retinol Alternative Smoothing Serum
“Apply four to five drops of this serum nightly after cleansing and before moisturizer,” Hayag recommends.
“This form of oatmeal can be easily mixed with creams, lotions, and water,” explains Brooklyn-based dermatologist, Tejas Patel, MD. “It binds to the skin to insulate against irritants and hold moisture, which helps with itchy, dry skin. Oatmeal can cleanse and [like other ingredients on this list] has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. All of these benefits help fight against acne.”
Try it in: Tatcha The Indigo Cream
Patel recommends using a colloidal oatmeal product, like this calming moisturizer, at least twice daily: once in the morning after cleansing and once before bed.
“Honey is one of my all-time favorite natural solutions for acne,” says Rawn Bosley, MD, a South Lake, Texas-based dermatologist. “It’s a natural antibacterial, so it can reduce bacteria on the skin.” Bosley recommends combining it with water and applying directly to the skin as a mask.
Try it in: Earth Tu Face Honey + Coconut Mask
For a non-DIY option, try this mask. Coconut oil, rose petals, and lavender buds enhance honey’s effects.
Willow Bark Extract
“This natural version of salicylic acid, a beta-hydroxy acid, helps to dry up inflamed acne lesions and exfoliate skin,” notes Tsippora Shainhouse, MD, a dermatologist based in Beverly Hills. “It aids in removing oil from greasy, acne-prone skin, leaving pores with a temporarily smaller appearance.” Since the extract can be very drying, Shainhouse recommends using it only if your skin is oily.
Try it in: Tata Harper Regenerating Exfoliating Cleanser
This wash should be gently rubbed into wet skin until it turns white, then washed off. An olive oil complex leaves the face feeling soft.