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12 Best Serums for Acne-Prone Skin

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Rejoice! Stubborn acne and breakouts are about to finally vacate the premises with these best serums for acne-prone skin. Get ready beauties – clear, blemish-free skin is here.
best serums for acne

In pursuit of instant relief from acne (as a teen), I would go through uncountable tubes of spot-treatment creams and pimple patches only for the zits to return within days. These instances led to extreme displeasure – still fresh in my memory. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I grasped the importance of a result-oriented approach to managing acne. Big relate? Keep scrolling!

While SOS remedies come in handy before a big date night or an important board meeting, they don’t reduce the risk of future breakouts or treat acne from its root. To counter the problem on hand, a targeted serum is non-negotiable in one’s skincare routine. This infallible, lightweight formulation seeps deep into the skin to address excess oil product, build-up of dead-dried cells, and clogged pores! Results? Zit-free skin, oh yeah.

If you are battling acne breakouts on the reg or have pimple-prone skin – here’s a list of the 12 best serums for your consideration.

1. Acne Squad Serum for Acne Scars with Triple Concentrate Formula

Acne Squad Serum for Acne Scars with Triple Concentrate Formula
Acne Squad Serum for Acne Scars with Triple Concentrate Formula
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The super shield serum infused with niacinamide controls excess sebum and prevents acne. The lightweight formula brings forth a duo of vitamin E and retinol that reduces inflammation and improves cell turnover. Include it in your AM/PM ritual STAT!

2. Chemist At Play Face Serum For Hyperpigmentation Control 8% Tranexamic Acid + Niacinamide Serum

Chemist At Play Face Serum For Hyperpigmentation Control 8% Tranexamic Acid + Niacinamide Serum
Chemist At Play Face Serum For Hyperpigmentation Control 8% Tranexamic Acid + Niacinamide Serum
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The vegan, cruelty-free, and SLS-devoid formulation works on different stages of acne. At the heart of this blend, niacinamide controls sebum production while ensuring ample hydration to the skin. According to this case study, tranexamic acid proved to be tremendously beneficial in reducing hyperpigmentation concerns like melasma, acne scar, sun spots. Crafted on a base of ceramides, this Chemist at Play best-seller also bolsters barrier health, providing a holistic healing experience to the user.

3. d'you Hustle Serum With 5% Niacinamide, Hyaluronic Acid, Vitamin C For Acne & Pigmentation

 d'you Hustle Serum With 5% Niacinamide, Hyaluronic Acid, Vitamin C For Acne & Pigmentation
d'you Hustle Serum With 5% Niacinamide, Hyaluronic Acid, Vitamin C For Acne & Pigmentation
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The up-and-coming skincare brand-d'you has the vote of confidence from Bollywood’s leading actress Alia Bhatt. A hero offering from the brand, the Hustle serum is a fast-absorbing ampoule deemed fit for all skin types. This brew is supercharged with niacinamide, which controls oil production (by the sebaceous glands), shrinks the pores’ size, and keeps barrier health intact. The 10% fermented extract infusion fights acne-causing bacteria while maintaining a healthy microbiome. Buy this luxe essential to prevent acne.

4. Minimalist 2% Salicylic Acid Face Serum For Blackheads & Whiteheads

Minimalist 2% Salicylic Acid Face Serum For Blackheads & Whiteheads
Minimalist 2% Salicylic Acid Face Serum For Blackheads & Whiteheads
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The numero uno acne remedy in skincare is the active salicylic acid. This oil-soluble ingredient cuts excess oil from the skin and removes hardened dead cells. Leverage these acne-inhibiting properties in the form of Minimalist’s face serum. Feather-light, non-greasy, this concoct administers a healthy microbiome and reduces episodes of inflammation or redness (post or pre-acne). It also bestows the skin with a gorgeous matte finish, the perfect precursor to a full face of glam.

5. The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%

The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%
The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%
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This hydrating serum by The Ordinary works on multiple skin concerns adroitly. The star of the brew, niacinamide, decongests pores while administering a single-tone complexion. Also, zinc in this blend visibly reduces sebum produced by the skin and upholds barrier health. Grab this efficacious product by the Canadian cult brand only for INR 550!

6. The Derma Co. 2% Salicylic Acid Serum for Face for Active Acne with Witch Hazel

The Derma Co. 2% Salicylic Acid Serum for Face for Active Acne with Witch Hazel
The Derma Co. 2% Salicylic Acid Serum for Face for Active Acne with Witch Hazel
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Featuring willow bark on the ingredient glossary, this Derma Co. best-seller controls oil products and sloughs off build-up from the dermis. The transparent formulation also stars witch hazel, an ingredient that diminishes the appearance of massive pores with a few drops! Buy this crowd-pleaser from Nykaa for just INR 499.

7. Deconstruct Pore Control Serum - 2% Salicylic Acid + 3% Niacinamide

Deconstruct Pore Control Serum - 2% Salicylic Acid + 3% Niacinamide
Deconstruct Pore Control Serum - 2% Salicylic Acid + 3% Niacinamide
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The scientific and sensible formula from Deconstruct leverages the benefits of two skincare workhorses – salicylic acid with niacinamide. Infusing seamlessly into the skin, this ampoule reduces oil production and contracts visible pores. It also brings down the episodes of pesky white and blackheads with use. Grab this preventative measure for acne-prone skin only on Nykaa.

8. Dr. Sheth's Centella & Niacinamide Serum

Dr. Sheth's Centella & Niacinamide Serum
Dr. Sheth's Centella & Niacinamide Serum
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This Dr. Sheth’s offering is the safest preventative measure for acne-prone skin. The essence of the brew, niacinamide, helps with oil control and skin decongestion. Zinc in this blend alleviates acne-related inflammation while ensuring a dose of hydration to the dermis. But that’s not all, the duo of soybean extract and probiotic blend helps uphold the skin barrier and its optimal functionality. Grab this multitasking serum only on Nykaa!

9. L'Oreal Paris Revitalift Crystal Micro-Essence With Salicylic Acid

 L'Oreal Paris Revitalift Crystal Micro-Essence With Salicylic Acid
L'Oreal Paris Revitalift Crystal Micro-Essence With Salicylic Acid
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This potent micro-essence by L’Oreal Paris penetrates ten layers deep into the skin and addresses acne. It is crafted with brightening salicylic acid, which expels excessive buildup on the dermis to reveal a bright and happy complexion. The oil soluble active (a.k.a salicylic acid) also curbs sebum production, while considerably reducing pores. But don’t just take our word for it – the L’Oreal treatment has received a nod of approval from leading beauty influencers like Aanam C, Ankita Chaturvedi, and Sonam Babani.

10. Pilgrim Salicylic Acid & Niacinamide Oil Control Serum for Blackheads

Pilgrim Salicylic Acid & Niacinamide Oil Control Serum for Blackheads
Pilgrim Salicylic Acid & Niacinamide Oil Control Serum for Blackheads
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The leave-on formula by Pilgrim brings forth a formidable duo of 2% BHA and 3% niacinamide to the forefront. This formulation seeps deep into the skin to regulate sebum production, clear pore congestion, and exfoliate dead cells. Quick-absorbing and non-greasy, the concentrate also upholds barrier health, which makes the skin resilient to new breakouts. Grab the formula to ensure smooth, flawless skin, STAT.

11. Suganda 5% Niacinamide Serum For Acne & Acne Marks, Blemishes, Pigmentation & Enlarged Pores

Suganda 5% Niacinamide Serum For Acne & Acne Marks, Blemishes, Pigmentation & Enlarged Pores
Suganda 5% Niacinamide Serum For Acne & Acne Marks, Blemishes, Pigmentation & Enlarged Pores
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If you’re new to the realm of serums, get your hands on this potent brew by Sugandha. Niacinamide, at the heart of this formulation, curbs excess oil and clears out pores while granting the user a refined complexion. This serum also features centella (a.k.a gotu kola), which extends soothing properties to the skin. Get this lightweight and hydrating serum from Nykaa for only under INR 600!

12. Brillare Salicylic Acid Face Serum For Oily, Acne Prone Skin

Brillare Salicylic Acid Face Serum For Oily, Acne Prone Skin
Brillare Salicylic Acid Face Serum For Oily, Acne Prone Skin
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One of the highest-rated serums for acne-prone skin on Nykaa – this formulation by Brillare is plant-based and melded with probiotics for best results. It contains zinc, an antimicrobial for efficient sebum regulation and salicylic acid for unclogging pores. Also laced with ferulic acid, the serum shields the skin against aggressors to dwindle acne flare-ups.

Factors To Consider Before Buying A Face Serum For Acne

  • Formulation: Serums come in an array of formulations. If you have sensitive-dry skin, go for a serum with a milky or creamy consistency. For oily skin, choose a lightweight, water-based serum that will absorb into the skin without making the skin feel greasy.
  • AM and PM usage: Ingredients like niacinamide and cica can be worn both during daytime and nighttime. For daytime wear, layer sunscreen after applying these serums. Since retinol is a potent anti-ageing and salicylic acid is a chemical exfoliant, it’s best to apply them during nighttime when your skin isn’t exposed to the sun.
  • Skincare routine evaluation: When dealing with inflamed zits, one must mindfully construct their skincare routine. This is to weed out the possibility of bogging your skin with excessive usage of active ingredients. If you’re going for a serum with active ingredients, stick to a cleanser and moisturiser that have minimal ingredients and are gentle.

Ingredients To Look For In An Anti-Acne Serum

There are multiple ingredients that target acne-related concerns. Here’s what they do in simple terms:

  • Salicylic acid: Deeply exfoliates and dissolves excess sebum as well as acne-causing bacteria.
  • Niacinamide: Controls oil production and gets rid of acne marks.
  • Retinol: Mildly exfoliates, boosts cell turnover and reverses signs of skin damage like hyperpigmentation.
  • Asiatica Centella: Also known as cica or Gotu Kola, research published in 2013 reveals that components like asiatic acid, madecassic acid, asiaticoside and madecassoside are what make cica an effective plant-based ingredient to tend to wounds, inflammation, redness, and burns. That’s why it’s added in anti-acne serums to soothe red, painful zits.

How To Use An Anti-Acne Serum

  • If you’re new to using a serum with strong ingredients, start by using it once a week and gradually work your way up. An alternative option would be to spot-treat the problem areas with one to two drops of the serum.
  • For sensitive skin, follow the ‘sandwich’ method. Apply a layer of moisturiser first. This will offset the potency of ingredients like retinol while helping accelerate the healing process. To seal the second layer of the serum, seal it with a final layer of moisturiser.
  • Avoid using ingredients like salicylic acid and retinol together as it will irritate the skin. Niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, vitamin C and cica are some ingredients that can be used together.
  • For the daytime, stick to vitamin C and niacinamide serums and turn to retinol and BHA serums during the night.
  • Using retinoids and BHA twice a week is sufficient while niacinamide and vitamin C serums can be used daily.
  • Lastly, always wear sun protection during the day.
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