A common concern across the skincare industry, blemishes can seem hard to budge. Known for making skincare simple and easy to navigate, The INKEY List offer a range of targeted solutions to help unblock pores, reduce oil production and clear the skin.
Director of education at the brand, JZ Zarzecki, explains everything you need to know about blemishes and how to keep them at bay...
What causes blemishes?
"There are three causes of breakouts" says JZ. "First, excess oil. The sebaceous glands start pumping too much sebum or oil for various reasons, including hormones. That gets lodged in your pores along with dead skin and other debris, making an environment for bacteria to thrive" he explains. "The second cause of acne is acne-causing bacteria. The third cause? Inflammation. That oil-clogged pore triggers an inflammatory response, causing redness and swelling" adds JZ.
What are the different types of blemishes?
"Blemish is a wide-ranging term that refers to any type of skin mark" clarifies JZ. "There are numerous types of blemishes, the most recognized is acne that can take the form of whiteheads, blackheads, papules, pustules, nodules, and cysts."
The best products for acne-prone skin
The INKEY List Salicylic Acid Cleanser
What are the benefits of salicylic acid on the skin?
"Salicylic acid, a beta hydroxy acid or BHA, is an effective blemish-fighting ingredient that encourages exfoliation of skin and unclogging of pores, while minimizing excess oil" says JZ.
What are the benefits of salicylic acid for blemish-prone skin?
"What makes salicylic acid so unique is that it is oil-soluble, allowing it to penetrate deeply into the skin's pores and minimize excess sebum" he explains. "By doing so, salicylic acid works to not only treat existing breakouts but also prevent them from reappearing on the surface of your skin. In addition, salicylic acid can also prevent future blemishes from forming by deeply penetrating the pores and keeping them clean. This powerhouse ingredient can do wonders for those struggling with oiliness and blemish-prone skin, providing a clearer complexion" says JZ.
What % of salicylic acid is in The INKEY List Salicylic Acid Cleanser?
The INKEY List Salicylic Acid Cleanser uses 2% salicylic acid, according to JZ. "You’ll find the highest, most active percentage of salicylic acid is 2% in over-the-counter products. This percentage is effective enough on the skin, clearing it of excessive sebum, dirt, and dead skin cell build-up. 2% is also considered the optimal amount for everyday use as it minimizes the risk of irritation" he adds.
How to use the Salicylic Acid Cleanser
"We always recommend a patch test prior to using any skincare product for the first time" advises JZ. He specifies that the cleanser can be used in both your morning and evening skincare routine, instructing to "gently massage a small raspberry-sized amount of the cleanser onto dampened face and neck for at least 60 seconds, then rinse thoroughly." JZ's top tip - "you can use Salicylic Acid Cleanser on other blemish-prone areas, including the back and chest area."
How often should you cleanse the face?
JZ also warns to avoid both over and under-cleansing to keep the skin clear and blemish free. "Over-cleansing or using too harsh a facial cleanser can irritate the skin and trigger more sebum production" he says. "Similarly, under-cleansing the skin can contribute to oiliness and breakouts. In order to minimize excess oil and prevent future breakouts, I recommend a twice a day cleansing. In the morning to prepare the skin for SPF and makeup (if using) and then in the evening to remove environmental pollutants and makeup."
The INKEY List Hyaluronic Acid Serum
What are the benefits of hyaluronic acid on the skin?
"Hyaluronic acid offers immediate benefits of improving skin hydration, along with the appearance of plumper, more smoother looking skin. After all hydrated skin is healthy-looking skin!" says JZ.
What are the benefits of hyaluronic acid for blemish-prone skin?
"Studies suggest that hyaluronic acid can help control sebum (which can clog pores and lead to breakouts) production, making it a useful ingredient for preventing acne" says JZ. "In addition, hyaluronic acid can help lock in moisture, which improves the skin's barrier function, reducing redness and irritation". He also adds that dehydrated skin can cause an increase in oil production, triggering acne, therefore keeping skin hydrated can prevent future breakouts. JZ points out that there is often confusion that oily skin doesn't need hydration, explaining that having an oil-prone face doesn't necessarily mean your skin is hydrated. "All skin types require hydration to maintain their natural characteristics and protective barriers. Don't let oiliness fool you into thinking your skin is taken care of - give it the hydration it needs! he stresses.
How to use the Hyaluronic Acid Serum
"At The INKEY List, we recommend applying the Hyaluronic Acid Serum to damp skin, immediately following cleansing the skin" instructs JZ.
The INKEY List Vitamin B, C and E Moisturizer
What are the benefits of vitamin B for blemish-prone skin?
"Vitamin B(3), also known as niacinamide, is a multi-tasking skin ingredient that minimises excess oil, reduces the appearance of blemishes and breakouts, and minimizes redness. Research shows that this powerhouse ingredient helps to reduce inflammation and sebum production, making it an ideal solution for anyone struggling with blemish-prone skin" says JZ.
What are the benefits of vitamin C for blemish-prone skin?
"Vitamin C offers impressive benefits to know about: protecting the skin from outside aggressors like pollution, brightening, helping with pigmentation and dark spots, and helping to stimulate collagen production" says explains JZ. Being an antioxidant, vitamin C can work wonders for your complexion. Not only does it help regulate excess oil production, but research has shown this versatile ingredient can also unclog pores, minimize the appearance of enlarged pores, and improve the skin barrier" he adds.
What are the benefits of vitamin E for blemish-prone skin?
"The antioxidant, vitamin E, helps to soothe and smooth skin. It can help reduce inflammation and redness, unclog pores, and improve the appearance of acne scars" says JZ.
How to use the Vitamin B, C and E Moisturizer
Containing all three of the skin-boosting vitamins, JZ details that the Vitamin B, C and E Moisturizer can be applied both at morning and night. "We recommend a pea-size amount of the moisturiser be applied to the face and neck both morning and night" he advises, explaining that the powerhouse formula is also non-comedogenic. "Those with oily skin or prone to acne will benefit most from noncomedogenic products – it means that the product is specially formulated so as not to cause blocked pores, which could result in breakouts" adds JZ.
The INKEY List Retinol Serum
What are the benefits of retinol on the skin?
"Retinol, otherwise known as vitamin A, is a gold standard ingredient that addresses many concerns including the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, uneven skin tone and texture" says JZ. "It has been recommended by doctors and dermatologists since the 1970s, where it was first discussed as a treatment for acne or blemish-prone skin" he adds.
What are the benefits of retinol for blemish-prone skin?
"Operating like a gentle exfoliant, retinol clears off dead skin cells, dirt, and oil, making it a powerful tool in preventing acne breakouts" explains JZ. "However, unlike many other acne treatments that work on the surface of the skin, retinol works beneath the skin surface to stimulate collagen and elastin production. Over time, this vitamin A derivative can minimise pore size appearance and fade away acne scars" he tells.
How to use the Retinol Serum
JZ recommends doing a patch test of the serum before introducing it into your skincare routine. Once you have done this, he instructs to begin using the retinol serum one or two times per week, in the evenings only. "Apply a pea-size amount to your face and neck. As your skin acclimates to the use of the product you can gradually increase use" he explains.
JZ advises applying the serum after cleansing and following with the Hyaluronic Acid Serum in the evening. On top of this, apply an SPF in the day time following retinol application. "As Retinol speeds up skin renewal, newer skin reaches the surface quicker. This can increase the skin's sensitivity to the sun. That's why we recommended only using the Retinol Serum in the PM and always using a broad-spectrum sunscreen during the day" he explains.
Products to avoid when using retinol
"We do not recommend using the Retinol Serum and vitamin C at the same time" says JZ who advises using the Retinol Serum in the evening and applying any vitamin C products in the morning. "If you are also using AHAs (glycolic acid, alpha hydroxy acid, lactic acid, mandelic acid or apple cider vinegar), BHAs (beta hydroxy acid) or PHA Toner in your evening routine, and want to add the Retinol Serum, we suggest using these on alternate evenings and ensuring you start off slowly to ensure you do not sensitise the skin" advises JZ.
The INKEY List Omega Water Cream Moisturiser
What are the benefits of the Omega Water Cream for the skin?
"The Omega Water Cream is a lightweight and water-based gel moisturizer that supports a healthy skin barrier without oil or silicone in its unique formulation. Dermatologically tested, it contains a simple combination of an omega fatty acid complex, betaine and niacinamide. These ingredients work together to optimize long-lasting hydration, help control oil levels and even skin tone" says JZ.
What are the benefits of the Omega Water Cream for blemish-prone skin?
"The Omega Water Cream is formulated with niacinamide, a natural nutrient that can be found in certain foods or applied topically for breakouts. Research shows that this powerhouse ingredient helps to reduce inflammation and sebum production, making it an ideal solution for anyone struggling with blemish-prone skin" explains JZ.
How to use the Omega Water Cream Moisturiser
"We recommend a pea-size amount of the Omega Water Cream be applied to the face and neck both morning and night" instructs JZ.