Check out our how-to guide for choosing anti-aging products for acne-prone skin, plus our top six recommendations.
|Anti- Inflammatory/ Sebum Control
|Brightening/ Cell renewal
|Paula's Choice | CLINICAL 1% Retinol Treatment
|1% Retinol; BHA; Vitamin C; Vitamin E; Ceramides; Hyaluronic Acid
|InstaNatural | Vitamin C Age Defying & Skin Clearing Serum
|Retinol; Vitamin C; Salicylic Acid; Tea Tree Leaf Oil; Vitamin E; Centella Asiatica
|A'pieu | Glycolic Acid Cream
|3% Glycolic Acid; 0.45% Salicylic Acid; Niacinamide; Adenosine
|PCA Skin | Intensive Clarity Treatment
|0.5% Retinol; Bakuchiol; Salicylic Acid; Niacinamide
|AHC | Natural Perfection Double Shield Sun Stick
|Retinyl Palmitate; Centella Asiatica; Green Tea; Vitamin E; Ceramides
|Youth To The People | Kombucha + 11% AHA Exfoliation Power Toner
|8% Lactic Acid; 3% Glycolic Acid; Kombucha Ferment
How to Pick the Best Anti-Aging Products for Acne-Prone Skin?
As many as 90% of people worldwide experience either mild or severe acne sometime in their lives. It can appear as early as our pre-teen years and typically calms down by the time we reach our 20s or early 30s.
However, for those with naturally oily, acne-prone skin, acne can persist way past our 30s and 40s. This means we not only have to worry about acne breakouts but aging signs as well.
The problem with most anti-aging products is that many contain ingredients that could worsen acne as they tend to target dry skin. While others simply don’t contain enough concentration of anti-acne ingredients. As such, we end up spending on products that don’t work for us.
Fortunately, there are skincare products that can address both acne and aging signs. And we’ve created this guide to help you find which one will work best for you. We’ve also included our top six anti-aging skincare recommendations for acne-prone skin. So, let’s begin!
Check for ingredients that can fight acne and prevent signs of aging
The key to fighting acne and aging signs is to look for dual-purpose ingredients that can do both effectively. Here are some that do just that:
Retinol boasts a long list of anti-aging benefits. This compound deeply penetrates the skin and regulates the functions of healthy skin cells. It boosts skin cell turnover, strengthens the epidermis, minimizes water loss, and promotes collagen production. These keep skin soft and supple while addressing wrinkles and discoloration.
Retinol is also an effective anti-acne ingredient and is a cornerstone treatment in acne therapy. It exfoliates dead skin cells and keeps pores clear. It also reduces inflammation and limits the growth of acne-causing bacteria. Thus, decreasing the number of active acne pimples.
However, retinol can cause irritation and redness in some skin types. Fortunately, those with sensitive skin can opt for Bakuchiol, which is a retinol-like alternative. This plant-derived compound effectively reduces acne pimples. It also improves age-related wrinkles and hyperpigmentation while causing less irritation.
AHAs & BHAs
Hydroxy Acids are popular anti-aging ingredients derived from plants. Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) mainly work on the skin’s surface. It sloughs away dull skin and promotes cell renewal, which helps fade discoloration and smoothen wrinkles. Popular AHAs include Glycolic, Lactic, Citric, and Malic Acids.
Beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs), on the other hand, are oil-soluble and work deeper in the skin. It controls oil production and clears out pores, making it ideal for oily, acne-prone skin. It also has an exfoliating effect that improves skin texture and tone. Popular BHAs include Salicylic Acid and Willow Bark Extract.
Niacinamide is an anti-aging multitasker. Niacinamide greatly reduces aging signs such as wrinkles, fine lines, and hyperpigmentation. It’s also known to improve skin elasticity by enhancing collagen synthesis in the skin.
Aside from this, Niacinamide also has anti-acne benefits. It boosts ceramide production in the skin and strengthens the moisture barrier. This helps skin stay hydrated longer and regulates sebum levels, preventing clogged pores that could cause acne.
Superstar anti-aging ingredients
When it comes to reducing signs of aging, it’s best to seek out tried-and-tested ingredients with potent anti-aging benefits. Here are some popular ones to look out for:
Adenosine is naturally found in our bodies and has remarkable anti-aging effects. It enhances collagen production, allowing our skin to maintain youthful firmness and elasticity. This, in turn, minimizes the appearance of wrinkles, particularly those around the eyes.
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant with top-tier anti-aging benefits. It protects skin cells against free radical damage caused by pollution and UV exposure, which is a major driver for early aging signs. It boosts wound healing and collagen production, making skin more supple and resilient. It also has excellent brightening properties that address discoloration issues like dark under eyes and hyperpigmented acne scars.
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble antioxidant that plays a role in preventing premature aging signs. It has photoprotective properties that keep skin safe from UV-induced DNA damage. Like Vitamin C, it also speeds up wound healing and improves skin thickness.
Look out for known effectiveness
Skincare products tend to be very targeted. This means that many only treat either acne or anti-aging issues, but not both. As such, it’s important to check for specific ingredients.
[bq]When it comes to addressing acne and aging signs, it’s best to choose medical-grade products or those that contain a good amount of known active ingredients. That way you’ll know exactly what kind of benefits you’ll be getting.[/bq]
It’s also important to remember that some skincare product labels can be misleading. Some companies formulate products with very low concentrations of a certain ingredient and still tout its benefits. To check if these claims are true, go through the product’s ingredients list.
Actives are typically specified alongside their content percentage. Ingredients with higher concentrations are usually placed higher on the ingredients list, while those with minimal concentrations are found near the bottom.
6 Best Anti-Aging Products for Acne-Prone Skin (2022)
Paula’s Choice CLINICAL 1% Retinol Treatment
- Retinol to address wrinkles and other aging signs.
- Salix Alba Bark Extract to exfoliate dull skin and fight acne.
- Vitamin C to brighten hyperpigmentation.
- Licorice Root Extract to calm irritation.
- Glycerin, Ceramides, and Hyaluronic Acid for hydration.
- Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E) to promote wound healing.
- Best for all skin types, except those sensitive to Retinol.
The Paula’s Choice CLINICAL 1% Retinol Treatment is a no-frills, high-strength formula designed to equally target acne and aging signs. It offers great hydration and is suitable for all skin types. A small amount of product also goes a long way, making it well worth your money. For these reasons, this is our top anti-aging product for acne-prone skin.
Retinol is effective even in mild concentrations of 0.01%. This product, however, contains a 1% formulation, which is the strongest in the Paula’s Choice Retinol line. This treatment goes to work on deep wrinkles and lines, revealing smoother and more youthful-looking skin. It also addresses age-related discoloration to give you a more even complexion.
Those with stubborn acne stand to benefit a lot from Retinol and Salix Alba Bark Extract. This BHA exfoliant sloughs away dead skin cells, while Retinol accelerates skin renewal. The deep pore cleansing helps dry out active acne blemishes and prevent future breakouts. Combined with Vitamin C, this product brightens the skin and protects it against environmental stressors.
Licorice Root Extract has anti-inflammatory properties that soothe damaged, irritated skin. This helps prep the skin to better absorb healing and hydrating ingredients. You also have Vitamin E, which boosts wound healing and restores skin barrier resilience.
Lastly, this treatment is filled with great skin-conditioning ingredients like Glycerin, Hyaluronic Acid, and Ceramides. Glycerin and Hyaluronic Acid work together to draw moisture into the skin. This keeps it nourished and balances out oil levels. Ceramides improve the skin’s ability to hold on to moisture, allowing it to stay hydrated longer.
The Paula’s Choice CLINICAL 1% Retinol Treatment contains no fragrance or alcohol. It also has a controlled release formula that delivers Retinol to the skin gradually, making it gentle even for sensitive skin types. However, since the product also contains Vitamin C and BHA, sunscreen is a must during the day.
InstaNatural Vitamin C Age Defying & Skin Clearing Serum
- Retinol to address wrinkles and other aging signs.
- Salicylic Acid and Tea Tree Leaf Oil to fight acne.
- Vitamin C to brighten dark spots.
- Aloe Vera Leaf Juice and Centella Asiatica Extract to soothe irritation.
- Niacinamide and Hyaluronic Acid for hydration.
- Tocopherol (Vitamin E) for wound healing.
- Best for all skin types, except sensitive skin.
The InstaNatural Vitamin C Age Defying & Skin Clearing Serum is an all-in-one treatment that repairs and brightens the skin while addressing acne and aging signs. This concentrated serum is lightweight and highly effective, making it our second favorite anti-aging product for acne-prone skin.
This serum combats acne and aging signs in three ways. First, you have Retinol, a potent anti-aging multitasker that accelerates cell renewal and improves the appearance of fine lines. Second, the serum has a high concentration of Vitamin C that brightens dull skin and dark spots. Finally, the anti-acne combo of Salicylic Acid and Tea Tree Leaf Oil frees clogged pores while minimizing excess sebum.
The InstaNatural Vitamin C Serum also helps repair the skin. Aloe Vera Leaf Juice and Centella Asiatica Extract have anti-inflammatory benefits that soothe redness and irritation, allowing the skin to heal faster. Together with wound healing Vitamin E, they help restore the skin’s overall resilience.
Lastly, Niacinamide and Hyaluronic Acid provide excellent hydration. Hyaluronic Acid pulls water into the skin, and Niacinamide minimizes moisture loss by boosting ceramide production and strengthening the skin barrier.
This serum is alcohol-free and safe for all skin types. But those with sensitive skin should know that the serum does contain fragrance and oils.
The InstaNatural Vitamin C Age Defying & Skin Clearing Serum contains no parabens, sulfates, mineral oil, synthetic dyes, petroleum, PEGs, formaldehyde releasers, and unsafe preservatives. It’s also vegan and cruelty-free.
A’pieu Glycolic Acid Cream
- Glycolic and Salicylic Acids for cell renewal and exfoliation.
- Adenosine to improve the appearance of lines and wrinkles.
- Niacinamide to brighten the complexion and restore the skin barrier.
- Betula Alba Juice and Artemisia Princeps Leaf Extract for moisturization.
- Panthenol and Allantoin to soothe skin.
- Best for all skin types.
The A’pieu Glycolic Acid Cream provides gentle exfoliation that brightens skin and clears pores. The cream itself has a smooth texture that melts right in, smoothing out fine lines and wrinkles. It’s also super affordable and is our best budget anti-aging product for acne-prone skin.
This exfoliating moisturizer contains 3% Glycolic Acid and 0.45% Salicylic Acid. Glycolic Acid breaks down dirt and debris on the surface of the skin, while Salicylic Acid works deeper to clear out pores. It lessens acne breakouts and reveals clearer skin without drying it out. And thanks to its mild formula, you get the prolonged benefits of acid exfoliation without the risk of irritation.
Both Adenosine and Niacinamide smooth away fine lines by boosting collagen in the skin. This is especially great for those who want to prevent wrinkles and fine lines early on. Another bonus of Niacinamide is that it also evens out discoloration and strengthens the skin barrier.
The Glycolic Acid Cream contains 30% Betula Alba (Birch) Juice and Artemisia Extract, which provide soothing and long-lasting moisture. It’s also lightweight, making it ideal to wear under makeup.
The A’pieu Glycolic Acid Cream is best used 2 to 3 times a week, or as a spot treatment, so as not to cause irritation in those with sensitive skin. This cream is also best used at night, as the combination of acids and sun exposure can sensitize the skin.
PCA Skin Intensive Clarity Treatment
- Retinol and Bakuchiol to address wrinkles and other aging signs.
- Salicylic Acid to exfoliate and reduce acne.
- Niacinamide to brighten hyperpigmentation and hydrate the skin.
- Best for all skin types, except those sensitive to Salicylic Acid.
The PCA Skin Intensive Clarity Treatment is a medical-grade skin treatment packed with well-known actives that ensure effective results. Its gentle Retinol formulation renews the skin minus the irritation. It also brightens hyperpigmentation and prevents acne, making it our top premium anti-aging product for acne-prone skin.
This treatment contains a gentle combination of 0.5% Pure Retinol and Bakuchiol. Both anti-aging ingredients work to improve skin cell turnover and collagen production. This makes fine lines and wrinkles look less obvious, and gives you a more radiant and clear complexion.
A potent concentration of 2% Salicylic Acid takes care of active acne. This BHA works in the deeper layers of the skin, clearing out clogged pores and controlling sebum production. It thoroughly cleans the skin so that you get fewer breakouts. Multitasking Niacinamide also enhances skin hydration and elasticity, while improving hyperpigmentation.
This Intensive Clarity Treatment makes use of a patented time-release OmniSome delivery system. This gives active ingredients more stability, allowing them to penetrate the skin deeper. Its time-release action also gives you up to 10 hours of anti-aging and anti-acne benefits.
The PCA Skin Intensive Clarity Treatment is best for night use, as Retinol can sensitize the skin with sun exposure. Those new to the product should use only a pea-sized amount twice a week. Once your skin has adjusted, you can gradually increase usage to every other day.
AHC Natural Perfection Double Shield Sun Stick
- Retinyl Palmitate to improve the appearance of wrinkles.
- Green Tea and Centella Asiatica to reduce acne-causing bacteria.
- Licorice Leaf Extract to calm irritation and brighten the skin.
- Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E) for wound healing.
- Hyaluronic Acid and Ceramides for hydration.
- Best for all skin types.
The AHC Natural Perfection Double Shield Sun Stick provides high SPF that keeps skin safe from the harmful effects of UV exposure. It also contains active ingredients that address acne and aging signs as well, making this our favorite anti-aging sunscreen for acne-prone skin.
This sunscreen uses a UV IR Block™ technology that protects the skin from UV and IR rays that speed up skin aging and moisture loss. It also contains anti-aging Retinyl Palmitate which boosts cell renewal and smooths away wrinkles.
The antibacterial properties of Green Tea and Centella Asiatica Extract effectively reduce acne bacteria, leaving you with fewer breakouts. And Licorice Leaf Extract calms inflammation and redness while brightening uneven discoloration.
Hyaluronic Acid nourishes skin by drawing in moisture. And Vitamin E and Ceramides repair the skin barrier, minimizing water loss. This allows the skin to stay hydrated longer, which is vital for oily and dehydrated acne-prone skin. With AHC’s Nano Emulsion Technology, these ingredients can penetrate the skin deeply to deliver their benefits more effectively.
This sunscreen comes in a handy retractable stick that’s easy to use and bring around. It goes on smoothly and has a clear, matte finish that works well under makeup. The slim, angled tip also allows even applications around the eyes, which are often the first to show signs of aging.
The AHC Natural Perfection Double Shield Sun Stick is alcohol-free but does contain fragrances. The good news is that its well-tested formulation is mild enough for sensitive skin and kids.
Youth To The People Kombucha + 11% AHA Exfoliation Power Toner
- Lactic Acid and Glycolic Acid for cell renewal and to address aging signs.
- Kombucha Black Tea Ferment for firm, healthy skin.
- Citrus Bioflavonoids, Ginger, and Lemon Extract to fight free radicals.
- Glycerin and Betaine for moisturization.
- Best for all skin types, except those sensitive to acids.
The Youth To The People Kombucha + 11% AHA Exfoliation Power Toner contains powerful AHAs that tighten pores, brighten skin, and improve skin firmness. It also contains Black Tea Ferment that decreases inflammation and improves the skin barrier, making this our favorite anti-aging toner for acne-prone skin.
This toner contains 8% Lactic Acid and 3% Glycolic Acid that thoroughly exfoliates skin without drying it out. Both ingredients boost skin cell turnover and slough away dead skin cells, revealing tighter pores and smoother skin.
Antioxidant-rich Kombucha Black Tea Ferment improves skin firmness and elasticity, minimizing fine lines. It protects from UV damage, which speeds up skin aging. Its probiotic properties also nourish the good bacteria on our skin, keeping it healthy and balanced.
The combination of Citrus Bioflavonoids, Ginger, and Lemon Extract provides skin with a good dose of vitamins that scavenge free radicals and enhance skin’s radiance. There’s also Glycerin and Betaine, which are excellent moisturizers that keep skin soft and hydrated.
Given its high AHA content, this toner is best used at night to avoid irritation from sun exposure. Those new to the product can start using it three times a week, after cleansing and before moisturizing. Once you think your skin has adjusted, you can gradually increase it to nightly use. If you do decide to use it during the day, don’t forget to wear sunscreen.
The Youth To The People Kombucha + 11% AHA Exfoliation Power Toner contains no alcohol, fragrance, parabens, phthalates, and PEGs. It’s also 100% Vegan, cruelty-free, and FSC-certified.