A variety of factors contribute to acne, and a combination of bacteria, excess oil, and clogged pores are known to play a major role. Acne often begins with a buildup of dead skin cells and oil within a pore, which forms a “plug” that blocks its opening and creates an environment that allows P. acnes bacteria to multiply. The overgrowth of this bacteria leads to the redness and inflammation associated with blemishes, which can occur occasionally in one specific spot or consistently over a larger area of the face and/or body. This inflammation can also trigger more acne formation.
Hormonal fluctuations and stress can increase breakouts as well, and some clinical studies have found that certain foods like dairy and sugar (and other high-glycemic index foods) can also impact the complexion. In addition, it’s especially important for acne-prone skin types to choose targeted acne treatments and products that are “non-comedogenic,” which means they will not cause the pores to become clogged.
Acne products that promote the skin’s natural exfoliation are essential for any anti-acne regimen. Regular exfoliation with ingredients such as salicylic acid can help the buildup of dead cells that can cause the pores to become clogged. The exfoliation provided by acids and  retinol can also help improve the appearance of  skin discoloration caused by past acne, enhance skin smoothness, and promote more even, radiant skin tone.
SkinCeuticals acne products include  Blemish + Age Cleanser,  Blemish + Age Toner  and  Blemish + Age Defense  treatment serum. This range provides acid-based exfoliation to help clear away dead cells and help to prevent clogged pores, refine surface texture, and provide brightening benefits for the skin.  Retinol 0.3  in the evening (as tolerated) complements the results achieved with our Blemish + Age acne products by further enhancing cell turnover to maintain clear pores, while improving the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and  discoloration  caused by sun damage and past acne marks.
All skin types—including oily and acne-prone—require extra hydration as well. A non-comedogenic, oil-free moisturizer with  hyaluronic acid, such as  Phyto Corrective, is ideal for hydrating the skin without clogging the pores.
Sunscreen  is another essential daily skincare product for acne-prone skin. First, it’s a myth that sun exposure helps clear up acne. Although a suntan may improve the appearance of acne at first, the damage and dryness caused by exposure to UV rays can cause an increased production of sebum, increasing the likelihood of an acne breakout . A properly formulated non-comedogenic sunscreen can help to protect oily and acne-prone skin from UV rays without clogging pores.
There is no universal acne-fighting ingredient as different skin types have different needs. However, exfoliation with ingredients like salicylic acid can help prevent pores from becoming clogged with dead skin cells.
Retinol and exfoliating acids are particularly effective for those who are also concerned about visible signs of  aging. In addition to helping prevent clogged pores, these ingredients also help improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, uneven skin tone, and other age-related skin changes.
Lingering pigment changes in the form of dark spots are common after blemishes have healed—and  discoloration  caused by past pimples (also known as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation) can remain long after acne is under control. Retinol, as well as lipo-hyrdoxy acid, glycolic acid, and salicylic acid, exfoliate the uppermost layers of the skin where post acne pigment resides to help promote even skin tone and restore radiance.
SkinCeuticals  Blemish + Age Defense  has been shown to improve active acne and post-acne dark spots. In a split-face, double-blind clinical trial, this product provided greater improvement in skin tone and blotchiness, as well as fine lines and rough skin texture, than a prescription retinoid.
When performed by a physician or properly-trained skincare specialist, these professional treatments can help clear congested pores and improve post-acne dark spots by promoting the exfoliation of the skin’s uppermost layers. Chemical peels that incorporate salicylic acid penetrate the pores and dissolve excess sebum. Professional salicylic acid peels are generally superficial, so there’s little to no downtime—and a series of treatments is recommended for overall skin improvement. Visit a  Skinceuticals professional  who performs chemical peels to help improve skin’s appearance.
Acne can be a lifelong battle—and many women and men find themselves suffering from this skin condition later in life.
The key to acne treatment is breaking the cycle that causes blemishes to form, and SkinCeuticals products intervene at all points in the acne-formation process. A blemish forms when dead skin cells clog a pore, and exfoliation is necessary for keeping skin clear. Since manual scrubs can worsen the inflammation associated with acne lesions, chemical-based exfoliation with glycolic acid is recommended. To further prevent clogged pores, it’s important to balance the skin’s oil production. SkinCeuticals acne treatment products (including cleansers, toners, serums, and masques) feature ingredients that absorb and minimize oil while clarifying pores to further reduce breakouts. Bacteria is also a major cause in acne development, and SkinCeuticals has developed an ingredient blend proven to be just as effective as benzoyl peroxide and a topical antibiotic without the undesirable side effects. And since many acne skincare products can cause skin dryness, SkinCeuticals has formulated a variety of non-comedogenic moisturizers suitable for acne-prone skin.