Skin Science, How To

Ways to get rid of acne — even the most stubborn kind

by Anubha Charan
June 10, 2021

Ever been faced with acne that's so stubborn it feels like a permanent feature rather than a temporary inconvenience? Even after it clears up, it can leave a mark behind that never seems to fade.

It doesn't have to be this way. Any acne issue can be treated with the right products and some small tweaks to your daily routine. Let's talk about ways to get rid of acne — even the most stubborn kind.



Why Some Spots Never Seem To Go Away

What makes a breakout really stubborn in the first place?

All acne begins with one of the primary factors: A pore becomes clogged with sebum and dead skin and rapidly turns into a breeding ground for bacteria.

Persistent acne may also be the result of genetics, stress, extremely oily skin or lifestyle choices. For instance, a dirty pillowcase or cellphone screen constantly rubbing against your skin can exacerbate pimples.

Similarly, there are reasons some post-acne marks take a long time to fade. A pimple can actually damage the skin around it, causing those pesky post-acne marks. The same is true if you've been picking at your skin. And then, again, there are genetics — some people are just predisposed to more persistent blemishes and marks!



Is There A Way Out?

Yes! There are always ways to get rid of acne, regardless of how stubborn it is. It could be as easy as a simple skincare swap or two. Here's how to switch up your acne-fighting routine:

  • Benzoyl peroxide: This works to kill acne-causing bacteria along with removing excess oil and dead skin.
  • Salicylic acid: This beta hydroxy acid (BHA) can dissolve pore-clogging debris, balancing out excessive oil and helping to dry out the pimple.
  • Retinol: A form of vitamin A, retinol can encourage exfoliation, aiding skin's natural turnover process. This makes the ingredient a great multitasker, working at both reducing the look of post-acne marks and fading away post-acne marks.
  • Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs): AHAs like glycolic and lactic acid are exfoliation superstars — they help purge pores of dead skin, oil and acne-causing bacteria. They also help dissolve and dislodge old, damaged skin to reveal younger and more even skin underneath.
  • Brightening ingredients: For persistent acne marks, reach for skin-brightening ingredients like niacinamide. Niacinamide is a form of vitamin B3 that helps skin renewal and can visibly reduce discoloration.
  • Sunscreen: Not only do many of the ingredients listed above make skin more sun sensitive, but UV exposure can intensify hyperpigmentation and actually make spots appear darker. Don't forget to arm your skin with sunscreen — it's one of the most important elements to help your acne-fighting arsenal.

Stubborn acne is a pain, but it doesn't have to last forever. With the right products and routine, clear skin is just one thoughtful regimen away.

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