So you’ve wandered down the rabbit hole of researching (Googling) different skincare ingredients? Let's chat about what skincare ingredients work well together for acne. Mixing skincare ingredients can be a game-changer for clearing your skin, but it's crucial to do it right to avoid any unwanted irritation on the way.

We understand the frustration that comes with battling acne, so if you’re wanting to really nail down your skincare routine, let’s meet the top ingredients for breakouts that skincare enthusiasts swear by, and discuss how to expertly mix and match them for maximum effectiveness to treat acne.

Let’s unlock the secrets to a skincare concoction that will have your besties begging for your secrets, because we're about to reveal the holy grail combinations that will have acne running for cover!

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What ingredients are best for acne?

When it comes to combating acne, having the right ingredients sitting on your skincare shelf is essential. Using the best ingredients for acne can work wonders in reducing breakouts, soothing inflammation, and promoting a flawsome complexion. 

Salicylic Acid: 

Considered a holy grail ingredient for acne-prone skin, salicylic acid is known for its ability to penetrate deep into the pores and exfoliate dead skin cells. It helps to unclog pores, reduce oiliness, and prevent new breakouts from forming. Salicylic acid also possesses anti-inflammatory properties, making it an excellent choice for calming the redness and irritation associated with acne. Salicylic acid is actually one of the key ingredients in our everyday pimple patches!

Bio-film breaking technology

It would be remiss of us not to STOP RIGHT HERE and explain that while effective ingredients are one thing, the way they’re formulated and combined together is even more important. Which leads us to what makes tbh Skincare’s patented technology so ‘world first’ and effective at fighting acne. While one of the core ingredients in our cult acne hack spot treatment is Citric Acid, for example, beyond the hero ingredients included, the secret to why it’s so effective is actually how the ingredients combine to form a ‘mechanism of action’ that breaks down the gluey layer in your skin that protects the bacteria and helps them to survive. (Scientists call this ‘biofilm’.) Spoiler: Not a single other ingredient on this list can do what our patented technology can do, which is why it’s so novel and groundbreaking. So while you’re doing all that ingredient research, just remember that while there definitely are certain ingredients that shouldn’t go together in one routine (looking at you guys, AHA and retinol!) the trick is actually to use a range of products that have been formulated in a way that means they work well together. (Our amazing Ultimate Bundle will cover all bases and is a great place to start!)

Benzoyl Peroxide: 

Another world famous ingredient for fighting acne is benzoyl peroxide. It works by eliminating acne-causing bacteria on the skin's surface, reducing inflammation, and clearing clogged pores. Benzoyl peroxide is especially effective against inflammatory acne, such as pustules and papules. However, it is important to note that this ingredient can be drying, can cause sensitivity, and it’s also notorious for bleaching your towels and sheets! When benzoyl peroxide comes into contact with fabrics, it can break down into benzoic acid and hydrogen peroxide. The hydrogen peroxide acts as a bleaching agent, causing colour changes in the fabric. This can result in white or light-coloured towels and sheets becoming discoloured or developing bleach-like spots. As you can imagine, it’s also therefore a pretty harsh ingredient to be putting on your face, which is why we don’t recommend it.

If you’re after a gentler alternative that won’t bleach your sheets (or your face) and is still just as effective, our acne hack spot treatment has been clinically trialled against benzoyl peroxide and outperforms it! You can read more about the trial here!

Tea Tree Oil: 

Known for its natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, tea tree oil is a popular choice for acne-prone skin. It helps to kill bacteria on the skin, reduce inflammation, and soothe the redness and swelling associated with acne breakouts. Tea tree oil can be applied topically as a spot treatment or diluted in a carrier oil for larger areas of concern. However, it's important to perform a patch test before using tea tree oil to ensure you don't have any adverse reactions. Tea tree is also another key ingredient in our everyday pimple patches, for good reason.


Derived from vitamin A, retinoids are excellent for targeting various skin concerns, including acne. They work by increasing cell turnover, preventing clogged pores, and reducing the production of sebum. Retinoids also have anti-aging benefits, they help reduce the appearance of acne scars and fine lines. However, it's important to start with a low concentration of retinoids and a low usage rate, gradually increasing your use to avoid potential irritation and dryness. We also highly suggest that when using retinol, you apply it alongside our rebound serum to protect your skin's barrier. A final reminder that retinoids can only go so far, as they can’t break through the gluey layer of biofilm in your skin where the bacteria causing your acne live. Only our acne hack spot treatment can do that.


This multi-tasking ingredient is a true gem for acne-prone skin. Niacinamide helps to regulate sebum production, reduce inflammation, and improve the overall texture of the skin. It also has the added benefit of strengthening the skin's barrier, which can be compromised in individuals with acne. Niacinamide is a gentle yet effective ingredient that can be used in conjunction with other acne-fighting ingredients for optimal results - it basically soothes and calms your delicate skin barrier after you’ve used all those strong products to treat your acne. Niacinamide is one of the key ingredients in our beloved rebound serum.

Azelaic Acid: 

Derived from grains like wheat, rye, and barley, azelaic acid has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties that can make it effective against acne. While it can’t break through biofilm (this is a recording) it can help to normalise the skin's shedding process, reducing the formation of comedones (clogged pores) and improving the overall appearance of acne. Azelaic acid is also known for its ability to fade post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH), making it beneficial for those dealing with acne scars.

Incorporating various skincare ingredients for acne into your daily routine can make a noticeable difference in your skin's appearance - particularly if you’re using tech that can break down biofilm and implode your pimples at the very source of the bacteria. However, it's important to keep in mind that everyone's skin is unique, and what works for one person may not work for another. If your acne gets to the point of aggressive, inflamed cysts under the skin (known as ‘Grade 4 acne’), you’ll need to consult with a dermatologist or skincare professional to determine the best ingredients and products for your specific skin concerns. 

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Which skincare ingredients go together?

Now that you know which ingredients are going to work best for fighting acne, the next question is which ones should you be using together? Are you ready to create a seriously powerful routine for your skin? It's time to unleash your inner chemist and discover which skincare ingredients go together like a dream team. 

Salicylic Acid and Benzoyl Peroxide: 

These two acne-fighting powerhouses can go together no problem. Salicylic acid dives deep into your pores to exfoliate and unclog them, while benzoyl peroxide tackles acne-causing bacteria head-on. Just be cautious, as they can strip your delicate skin barrier. (And again - they can’t treat acne at the source by breaking through biofilm.)

Tea Tree Oil and Niacinamide: 

Say goodbye to blemishes and hello to a more balanced complexion with this dynamic duo. Tea tree oil, with its natural antibacterial properties, works wonders in reducing inflammation and fighting acne-causing bacteria (you can find this in our pimple patches). Pair it with niacinamide (try our rebound serum), a multitasking ingredient that regulates sebum production and improves skin texture, and you've got a winning combination for calm and hydrated skin.

Retinoids and Niacinamide: 

Get ready for the ultimate age-defying and skin-refining combo! Retinoids, derived from Vitamin A, work their magic by boosting cell turnover, reducing fine lines, and improving skin texture - great for if you’ve dealt with scarring or fine lines. When paired with niacinamide, the result is a powerhouse duo that helps fade hyperpigmentation, minimise pores, and promote a more youthful appearance. It's like a time machine for your skin!

Azelaic Acid and Niacinamide: 

Looking to fade those pesky acne scars and even out your skin tone? Look no further than this brightening and clarifying duo. Azelaic acid, with its antimicrobial properties, helps reduce inflammation and fade hyperpigmentation, while niacinamide tackles redness, regulates oil production, and improves overall skin health. They work together to give you a smoother, more radiant complexion.

Remember, always introduce new ingredients slowly and patch test them to ensure compatibility with your skin.

What are the best products for combination, acne prone skin?

Well, we’re going to pretend not to be offended by you asking this question because tbh products are always going to be the best products for acne-prone skin. They’re the only ones that can break through that pesky, gluey biofilm and treat your acne at the source. Let us break it down for you, bestie: 


The first step in any skincare routine is cleansing. For acne-prone skin, we’d suggest our anti-bacterial cleanser

For more info on how to properly cleanse your skin, read here


After cleansing, take the acne hack spot treatment and apply it to any active breakout. Let the product sit on the skin for 5 minutes, allowing it to soak in properly, before applying any other products over top.


Moisturising is essential for all skin types, including acne-prone skin. Look for a lightweight, simple daily moisturiser that won’t cause breakouts - we developed our thirst trap moisturiser to do just this. It hydrates with glycerin, pentavitin, sodium PCA and genencare and also provides barrier support with amino acids, squalane, apricot kernel oil, jojoba esters, olive oil and vitamin E.


Sun protection is crucial for everyone, if that wasn’t already front page news! As we’re all aware, sun exposure can cause inflammation and damage to the skin, which in turn can lead to more breakouts. When looking for a sunscreen for acne-prone skin, a hot tip is to look for one that is oil-free. This helps to avoid clogging up your pores. Apply a minimum of a quarter of a teaspoon of skin shady SPF 50+ to your fingertips and gently massage it onto your skin.

What ingredients shouldn’t be in products for acne-prone skin?

When it comes to choosing skincare products for acne-prone skin, it's important to be aware of certain ingredients that can potentially inflame breakouts or irritate sensitive skin. Here are a few ingredients to steer clear of.

Comedogenic Oils: 

Avoid products that contain heavy or pore-clogging oils such as coconut oil, cocoa butter, or lanolin. These oils have a high likelihood of clogging pores and triggering breakouts.


Artificial fragrances can be irritating to the skin, especially for those with acne-prone skin. Look for products labelled "fragrance-free" to minimise the risk of irritation.

Synthetic Colourants: 

Artificial dyes and colourants can be irritating to sensitive skin and may cause inflammation. Look for products that are free from synthetic colourants.

Harsh Exfoliants: 

Avoid overly abrasive physical exfoliants or scrubs, as they can cause micro-tears in the skin and lead to increased sensitivity and breakouts. Opt for gentler chemical exfoliants like salicylic acid, alpha-hydroxy acid, or glycolic acid.

Now that you're armed with the knowledge of these powerful skincare ingredients, it's time to tuck them away in your back pocket like a secret weapon, ready to unleash them whenever pesky breakouts dare to appear. With these ingredients at your disposal, you'll have your acne running for cover!

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