Acne 101

Nadine Eden | 12.01.2021

Acne is a very common concern and impacts most people at some point in life - it’s one of the topics you #askINKEY about the most!

What causes acne?

Acne forms when the opening of the hair follicle becomes blocked by excess sebum and old cells and from here can develop into a few different types of spot.

It can have a number of causes including hormones, genetics and stress; often coming from a combination of these. It’s a common misconception that acne is caused by poor hygiene or not cleansing the skin enough - it’s important not to over cleanse as you could risk further irritation!
We’ve broken down some of the main types of acne and some of the spots associated with them.

Non-inflammatory acne

Otherwise known as Comedonal Acne, these spots are usually close to the surface of the skin, and won't appear red or inflamed.

Blackheads (open comedones) - Small bumps with a black or yellowish tone. Their colour comes from the oxidation as a result of them being open and exposed to air.

Whiteheads (closed comedones) - These bumps are similar to blackheads, but remain closed, keeping them from oxidising and are therefore white in colour.

Inflammatory Acne:

When the usually harmless bacteria that lives on the surface of the skin, gets into a blocked follicle it can cause a reaction from your immune system leading to inflammatory acne. These spots typically present with redness and may be painful.

Papules -These are formed when surrounding skin tissue becomes inflamed and show as small red bumps.

Pustules - These are typically much larger in size and filled with pus.
It's really important to resist the urge to pop inflammatory acne - not only can it make the inflammation worse it can also cause it to spread.

What ingredients can help acne prone skin?

While you can't prevent breakouts completely, there are some products that can help reduce them and help them fade quicker when they do arrive...

Succinic Acid

Succinic Acid is a bio based chemical derived from corn and helps reduce the appearance of blemishes and decrease oils levels in the skin. It can also help reduce acne bacteria on the skin, a usually harmless skin bacteria that can cause inflammatory acne when hair follicles become blocked.

Try using The INKEY List Succinic Acid Blemish Treatment


Salicylic Acid

Salicylic Acid can work really well for breakouts. It’s oil soluble and can reach deep inside the pores, helping to reduce breakouts. With anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, it can also help spots fade quicker when they do arrive.

Try using The INKEY List Salicylic Acid Cleanser and The INKEY List Beta Hydroxy Acid Exfoliating Serum.


A naturally occurring vitamin (B3), Niacinamide tackles the various side effects of spot prone skin such as redness and excess oil.

Try using The INKEY List Niacinamide

When to see a doctor or dermatologist

If you’re not seeing the results you’d like no matter what products you try or you find your acne is getting you down it’s always worth checking in with a doctor or dermatologist. They can assess your skin and have access to a much wider range of treatment options to suit you.


Want to see which other products we're shining the SPOTlight on to help tackle breakouts and blemishes? Visit our SPOTlight product hub here!

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