What Are the Best Active Ingredients in Acne Creams?

Most people suffer or have suffered, from acne at some stage in their life. Acne is a long-term skin disease that occurs when dead skin cells and oil from the skin clog pores. Typical features of the condition include:

  • blackheads,
  • whiteheads,
  • pimples,
  • oily skin,
  • scarring.

People can suffer from acne at any stage in life from adolescence to adulthood. And when it starts appearing, the first thing people do is look for a solution to get rid of it. There are many products available for the treatment of acne but which ones are actually good?

What makes a good Acne Cream?

One of the main things that make acne creams so good is the active ingredients. The right ingredients are vital to making sure it works effectively.

The main active ingredients of acne cream include;

  • Benzoyl peroxide
  • Adapalene
  • CBD
  • Salicylic acid

Benzoyl peroxide

Works as an antiseptic which helps clean bacteria from the surface of the skin. It usually makes up 5% of a gel or face wash for acne. There are many over the counter forms of Benzoyl peroxide available. These include brands such as Clean & Clear, Neutrogena and Clearasil.


Adapalene is part of a group of medications called retinoids. It works by affecting the growth of cells and decreasing inflammation and swelling. Helps to reduce the number of pimples caused by acne. It also helps to promote the quick healing of pre-existing pimples. This is why this is a good ingredient for acne cream.


Some evidence suggests that CBD can be very helpful for treating acne. Thanks to its ability to adjust how the body creates sebum, CBD may be able to help reduce various types of acne.

Sebum is a waxy, oily substance the skin produces. Sebum protects our skin but if too much is produced it can mix with dirt or dead skin cells and block pores. These blocked pores lead to acne.

Studies have shown that CBD can help reduce the amount of sebum produced by interacting with sebocytes, the cells that produce sebum.

Studies have also revealed that CBD triggered an anti-inflammatory reaction in the sebocyte cells and prevented inflammatory cytokines from activating. Cytokines are known to trigger acne, so reducing them may help prevent further breakouts.

Salicylic acid

Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid. This means it is able to exfoliate the skin. It is able to get deep into the skin to dissolve any debris that is clogging your pores. It is an anti-inflammatory and assists in the quick breakdown of pimples. Salicylic acid is particularly effective against blackheads and whiteheads.

Top 3 Acne Creams

Acne is a condition that most people have had to deal with at some stage in life. Everyone has their own preference or way of dealing with it. This has led to a wide variety of acne creams on the market today.

They all have their benefits and here are our top 3.

1. Neutrogena Rapid Clear Acne Eliminating Spot Gel

Neutrogena recommends this as a way of treating and preventing acne. The acne gel contains Witch Hazel, a natural ingredient known for its skin-soothing properties. It also contains MicroClear, a scientifically-proven technology that boosts the delivery of salicylic acid acne medicine deep to the source of acne.

The active ingredient in Neutrogena’s acne cream is Salicylic Acid 2%. Salicylic Acid has many benefits;

  • Exfoliating the skin
  • Dissolving debris that clog pores
  • Anti-inflammatory properties

One drawback of this product is that the salicylic content may not be suitable for those with sensitive skin. However, the introduction of   Witch Hazel may counteract any skin irritation.

Coming in at £20 per 15ml we recommend you try this to help treat your acne. The good mix of exfoliation, anti-inflammatory properties and debris dissolving properties makes it suitable for almost any acne sufferer. However, if you find it doesn’t react well with your sensitive skin, have a look at our next option below.

2. Poko Serum

Finding it hard to find an acne cream suitable for a Vegan lifestyle? Poko has you covered. Poko’s Soothing Serum infused with CBD is one to write home about. Not only is it vegan-friendly but it also smells really good and is compatible with sensitive skin too.

It has 3 main active ingredients that really made it stand out for us;

  • Aloe vera powder:  This is an excellent source of antioxidants and enzymes that can help protect the skin from pollutants. Natural anti-inflammatory properties can fight acne and soothe the skin.
  • Cannabidiol (CBD):  CBD is known for its powerful skin-loving properties, such as restoring balance and resilience. Its antioxidants can help brighten the skin. CBD is also known to have anti-inflammatory properties which, as mentioned above, can soothe skin and fight acne.
  • Tea tree oil:  Tea tree oil helps soothe and revive irritated skin. It is also known to reduce acne scars, swelling and redness which are symptoms all too familiar to those with acne.

Vegan-friendly smells good and suitable for sensitive skin. For an RRP of £27 for 30ml, it is definitely an acne cream to check out.

3. ProactivMD Adapalene Gel 0.1%

ProactivMD’S Adapalene Gel is known to reduce the number and severity of pimples caused by acne. It can also promote the quick healing of pimples that do develop. Studies have shown it can reduce acne by 87% in up to 12 weeks.

The active ingredient is, as the label says, Adapalene. As mentioned earlier, Adapalene is part of a class of medications known as retinoids. Its any benefits include ;

  • Anti-inflammatory properties
  • Affecting cell growth
  • Decreases swelling

Side effects of Adapalene can include skin irritation.

Product Round-Up

The above 3 products all have their benefits. When choosing a cream to treat any condition we would always recommend consulting a health professional first to find what works best for you.

As we can see from the above information the creams can have side effects or drawbacks. If we were to pick the most reliable out of the 3, Poko Serum would be our number one choice. This is because it typically reacts well with sensitive skin compared to other products that can irritate the skin.

The post What Are the Best Active Ingredients in Acne Creams? first appeared on CBD Village UK.

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