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If you live with acne then you are probably interested in including anti-aging products in your daily routine.
Those who suffer from repeated blemishes and outbreaks seek out the best anti-aging products for acne-prone skin because as we all know prevention is better than cure.
Uncontrolled acne, with its constant inflammation, dry scaling, and scarring is a sure way to age skin prematurely.
At least on the surface, anyone with acne can see patches of redness, dry skin, and pimples that make their skin look less than optimal. Over time, the inflammation caused by acne leaves effects far beyond scarring, making sagging skin and fine lines a problem sooner rather than later.
Resolving the issue however isn’t as simple as applying lots of acne creams and anti-aging products – without being careful you can make your outbreaks worse or even aggravate lines and wrinkles.
In this article, we uncover the opposing issues of acne and aging and how best to manage both in your daily routine.
|ZELEN Life Cleanser||Check It Out|
|Juice Beauty Green Apple Age Defy Moisturizer||Check on Amazon|
|boscia Clear Complexion Tonic||Check on Amazon|
|Paulas Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant||Check on Amazon|
|AVYA Skincare Night Moisturizer||Check on Amazon|
|AHAVA Mineral Facial Treatment Mask||Check on Amazon|
|ZELEN Life Pack||Check It Out|
Before you buy: 5 Things to consider when purchasing an anti-aging product for acne-prone skin
- Is it non-comedogenic?
- Is it free from harsh chemicals like alcohol?
- Does it contain antioxidants?
- Do the ingredients have any anti-microbial action?
- Is there a focus on keeping the skin hydrated?
There are more points to consider for specific product types, but this checklist is a good starting point when considering new products to add to your routine.
If in doubt, look for natural and gentle products, anything harsh or stripping may look like it clears the skin very well but will aggravate both outbreaks and the onset of aging.
The 7 best anti-aging products for acne-prone skin
- Contains organic vitamin C
- Suitable for all skin types, particularly sensitive and acne-prone skin
- Multiple antioxidant sources
The best cleanser for:
Anyone looking for a spectrum of strong antioxidants with a good moisturizing base.
The ZELEN Life Cleanser contains Vitamin E from Jojoba and A, C, D, E, and K all from Sunflower – a pretty impressive lineup from just two ingredients.
The multiple vitamins give your skin a flood of antioxidants to combat the day’s pollution and free radical build-up, a vital step in fighting the signs of aging.
To further facilitate the strong antioxidant action is Aloe Vera which, not only balances out the skin’s pH but also helps to encourage cell development and regeneration. This cleanser is gentle yet effective and manages to actually boost hydration whilst ensuring the skin remains oil-free and pores are unclogged.
In terms of anti-aging, both Aloe and Jojoba calm and soothe the skin, vital for keeping inflammatory free radicals to a minimum. Jojoba also balances skin hormones whilst keeping fine lines at bay a great daily addition to your anti-aging routine.
- Great combination of vitamins and antioxidants in an organic, botanical formula
- Works to combat signs of aging inside and out
- Natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory
- Cruelty-free and vegan-friendly
Things to think about:
- Works well with an exfoliating acid
The ZELEN Life Cleanser is an essential part of your skincare routine: bringing together antibacterial, antifungal, non-comedogenic, and moisturizing properties all in one bottle. Containing natural sources of vitamin C and other nutrients, it is a cleanser that can effectively clean oily and acne-prone skin without irritation.
With organic Jojoba, Aloe, and more, this cleanser washes away impurities and clears clogged pores to leave you with fresh and pH-balanced skin, free from blemishes. A sound anti-aging investment for those who need to keep acne and blemishes in check.
- Vitamin C
- Co-enzyme Q10
- Alpha-lipoic acid
The best moisturizer for:
Those looking for a multi-purpose moisturizer with natural anti-aging and anti-acne ingredients.
This fresh anti-aging moisturizer brightens and smooths skin with a strong mix of antioxidants that includes apple extract, CoQ10, and more. The antioxidant action is supported by some great hydrating ingredients that lock in moisture without leaving the skin greasy.
After cleansing the cream can be used night and day to tackle fine lines and even reduce irregular skin tone. This cream also contains plant-derived hyaluronic acid to ensure that the hydrating effects last long after you have finished your routine.
The ‘Green Apple’ which gives the product its name is the apple juice in every drop, a natural source of Malic acid. This is rich in vitamins and other sources of antioxidants like flavonoids and phenols to give you great day-long protection.
Malic acid is also a natural acid exfoliator that has been shown to support collagen growth in the skin.
- Strong focus on antioxidants
- Gentle exfoliant
- Malic acid exfoliates and supports the structure
Things to think about:
- Not for those with sensitive or Rosacea skin
Juice Beauty’s anti-aging moisturizer is a great antioxidant-focused offering with added hydroxy acids to keep the skin fresh and youthful. Keeping free radicals down will ensure skin is soothed, great for reducing inflammation from acne and keeping aging at bay.
Using multiple ingredients like hyaluronic acid to retain moisture lets the skin naturally draw down on its sebum production, helping you keep outbreaks to a minimum. Some users complain that the mix is slightly too heavy for their skin but the majority of those with acne should find that the balance is just right.
- Gentle chemical exfoliator
- Botanicals calm skin
- Manages sebum production
The best toner for:
Those with a reactive complexion looking for a simple toner with minimal active ingredients to keep skin calm.
boscia position themselves as a vegan and cruelty-free product – one of the reasons they are on our recommended list. This toner comes as a useful spray, calming blemish-prone skin with a mix of willow bark, rosemary, and lavender.
The company says this botanical mix promotes skin clarity and prevents future blemishes by soothing and refreshing the skin. This fragrance-free cleanser has been formulated with acne in mind, with antibacterial benefits that also improve blood flow and circulation in the skin.
The Willow Bark extract is actually a naturally occurring Beta hydroxy acid (ie. salicylic acid), helping to gently lift dead skin away and smoothing out fine lines. Lavender water continues the anti-aging effect by refining the appearance of pores and bringing the skin’s pH back into balance.
- Antimicrobial and antibacterial
- Reduces oil production
- Salicylic acid helps to unclog pores
- Suitable for vegans and not tested on animals
Things to think about:
- Need to be careful not to spray in or near eyes
This refreshing cleanser by boscia is a simple and calming spray that keeps moisture locked in any dry or dead skin washed away. Balancing oil control with anti-aging can be difficult but this finds the balance needed to keep the skin fresh and pores unclogged without feeling like alcohol has been wiped over your face.
We recommend spraying onto a cotton ball rather than your face to avoid unwanted eye irritation. Some also find this product sticky at times, so be sure to only apply as much as recommended.
- Gentle yet effective chemical exfoliator
- Clears and minimizes pores
- Green tea for anti-aging benefits
The best exfoliator for:
Anyone with multiple pre-existing skin conditions.
Paula’s Choice exfoliant is making quite a stir amongst those with irritated and angry skin.
Reports from users with multiple conditions like rosacea, cystic acne, sensitive skin, and more are finding that it makes a significant difference in the appearance of their skin. With conditions like rosacea, they would often find that their faces felt hot, bumpy, and ‘burned’.
While this isn’t a miracle cure, those with chronic conditions have been amazed at the transformation that their tired and congested skin had overnight, often being much less red, and more calm and clear.
The big caveat of course is that it contains salicylic acid which will make your skin more sensitive to sunlight. That makes this a night time only product, not a downside in itself but something that you need to be aware of.
As a final note, this should be left on the skin, not rinsed off. Immediately washing simply stops the chemical exfoliator from having enough time to act.
- Great reviews from those with more complex and significant skin issues
Things to think about:
- Should be used at night only
- Some acne users find the solution a bit heavy
Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting Exfoliant is a gentle way to remove stubborn skin blemishes and complaints whilst also soothing redness and evening out skin tone. If you suffer from multiple or more severe skin complaints you should definitely check it out considering the glowing user reports found online.
- Unique antioxidant mix
- Retinol to combat aging
- Good balance of moisturizer for oily skin
The best night cream for:
Those who live and work in cities or other areas with high pollution levels.
The AVYA Night Moisturizer is a retinoid-based treatment designed to rest and refresh your skin while you sleep.
Using several less mainstream botanicals such as artichoke leaf, dong quai, and carob extract, this cream gives you a nightly boost of antioxidants to help speed up and support the repair of your skin.
The retinoids (vitamin A) speed up cell turnover, refreshing your skin reducing the risk of oil build-up and acne breakouts. To keep skin soothed and hydrated, they have also included hyaluronic acid which famously binds 1000x its weight in water.
All these features combine to reduce underlying skin inflammation, an important step in reducing reactionary sebum production from the skin.
To give further benefit to calming properties while also combating hyperpigmentation, the ‘AVYA Signature Qusome’ is mixed into the cream. Containing peony (flower extract), turmeric, and neem, the cream is laden with a complex mix of antioxidants with multiple anti-inflammatory properties.
- Retinoids to smooth fine lines
- Focus on anti-inflammatory ingredients
- Signature Qusome provides melanin stabilizing properties
Things to think about:
- Some find the scent not to their liking
The AVYA Night Moisturizer is a great cream for those who want to maximize their anti-aging routine. Using retinoids is almost essential in modern skin care, with this mix doubling up on the antioxidants to clear away the day’s build-up of pollution and other irritants.
- Real Dead Sea Mud
- Mild exfoliator
- Jojoba extract to calm and soothe
The best facial mask for:
Those who want a big natural mineral boost.
This mud mask uses ‘the most mineral-rich mud on earth’ to flood your face with antioxidants, remove impurities and moisturize the skin. This mud is sourced from the Dead Sea – giving it some unique active ingredients.
The team at AHAVA has also added in Jojoba granules for a mild exfoliating effect, with magnolia bark calming the skin as a natural anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory agent. They advise that for best results it should be used after cleansing, and a generous amount applied and left on for around 10 minutes.
This can be done up to 3 times a week to give your skin a mineral boost whilst also clearing away impurities and controlling shine. Despite the deep cleanse, users report that their skin feels calm and hydrated rather than overly stripped of oils.
- Unique, natural sourcing of active ingredients
Things to think about:
- Some really don’t like the smell
- Smaller amount compared to similar priced products
The AHAVA Mineral Facial Treatment Mask is an opportunity to do a deep cleanse and unclog pores without irritating the skin with harsh ingredients. Made with blemish-prone skin in mind, the mud absorbs excess oil for a clearer and more balanced complexion which is a great solution for anyone struggling with acne.
The gentle anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties ensure that the skin is cleansed fully without irritating the skin and promoting further oil production.
- All-natural and organic, oil and acne control
- Soothing and rejuvenating 24/7 protection
- Multiple anti-aging ingredients to keep your complexion fresh
The best anti-aging products for:
Men and women who have an incomplete skin care routine, or those looking for a complete solution–consistency is vital in both antiaging and acne control.
The ZELEN Life Pack contains everything you need to have a complete routine ready to go for your skin. The pack tackles all the core causes of both acne and aging, allowing you to experience unclogged pores and blemish-free skin without worrying about any greasy residues or overly strong ingredients.
Consistency really is key when it comes to skin care and this is what the ZELEN Life Pack ensures. The combination of cleanser, toner, and moisturizer gives daily nourishment and protection from irritants and environmental stressors.
At night, the oil control and anti-aging effect continue, with the mask and night cream offering support and recovery while you sleep.
The night cream is rich in Vitamin A, giving your skin a natural retinoid boost to rejuvenate the face forehead, and neck whilst minimizing wrinkles. Refreshed skin is naturally more blemish resistant, creating a positive loop of calmer skin and less aging.
- A one-stop-shop for anti-aging and anti-acne products
- Enriched with vitamins to calm skin and control sebum
- Work together to provide 24-hour skin therapy
- Every product is packed with active botanicals
Things to think about:
- Mechanical rather than a chemical exfoliator
- For the vegan conscious–the exfoliator and toner contains honey
The ZELEN Life Pack contains 6 great products to look after you and your skin around the clock. Start your acne control off with a gentle and powerful cleanser, restore your skin’s pH with a plant-powered formula before soothing with a handmade moisturizer of jojoba calendula and clary sage.
This great mix reduces underlying irritation, a chronic driver of skin aging. The pack manages to get the balance of controlling skin oil and acne whilst also giving enough attention to anti-aging ingredients at the same time. For a clearer and more refreshed appearance that will stand the test of time, the ZELEN Life Pack is the go-to choice for those with acne-prone skin.
How we chose these products
We always look for products that fit the bill of natural, organic, and additive-free. Nowhere does this perhaps matter more in the case of acne and anti-aging, where keeping inflammation and irritation at bay is the name of the game.
There is a range of products out there that claim to be anti-aging or for acne-prone skin but never for both. We have utilized our checklist of must-haves and inclusions (like we shared at the beginning of the article).
This left us with only the best natural products that worked effectively to calm, nourish and protect acne-prone skin – each product has survived testing in the real world with amazing results.
Background: The genetics of acne and aging
Acne is a disease with many root causes, rather than just one trigger like excess oil or food. While these are implicated in causing acne, there are many other factors like genetics, skin microflora (bacteria), hormones levels, and stress that play a part.
It has been shown that both the glands that produce sebum (skin oil) and acne itself are directly linked to personal genetics. This is interesting because of a contradiction seen in those with acne.
The big mystery and contradiction of acne is the paradox of skin aging.
In the short term, skin can be covered in blemishes, scarring, and redness that both worsen and improve as time goes on. While this may give the appearance of premature skin aging, dermatologists have noticed something quite unusual.
What’s the big mystery?
Skin doctors have found that many years after acne has been controlled, patients who used to suffer from it actually have reduced signs of skin aging. This includes fine lines, wrinkles and skin thinning.
Initially, it was thought this was simply down to excess oil production. Too much oil locks in moisture and makes dry skin much less likely – however, this would imply that we should all be piling on endless moisturizers to look younger.
Initial research has found that those who suffer from acne have changes within their cells that actually protect against damage over time. Where usually skin cells would multiply a few times and eventually die, people who have had acne seem to have cells that can keep on multiplying and stave off death.
(For those who are scientifically inclined: the researchers found that those with acne have longer telomeres in their white blood cells and skin cells).
Over the course of a lifetime, these small resistances to cell death mean a healthier, well-structured face that has less blemishes, scarring, and wrinkles.
So if these findings are true, how do those of us with acne see the benefit now rather than later?
Acne prevention is better than cure
The best time to start looking after your skin and treating acne is today, not tomorrow, or any other day in the future.
Acne and other skin conditions are compounding in nature. In simple terms that means that the longer you leave them the worse they get and inevitably become harder to treat as well. The effects of acne such as low mood, heavily blemished skin, and even social anxiety can all be greatly reduced with a consistent routine.
By starting treatment as soon as possible the majority of the negative impact on a person’s quality of life can be avoided.
Anti-acne vs. Anti-aging
To simplify things, part of acne treatment is about reducing skin oil to normal levels whilst part of anti-aging treatment is ensuring that the skin remains hydrated with high enough sebum and other compounds from products to lock in moisture.
These two seemingly opposite goals are the reason why people struggle to find the best anti-aging products for acne-prone skin. Fortunately, the answer is not as complicated as you might think.
The first step is setting up a simple daily routine if you don’t have one already. Many people who suffer from acne rely on a ‘hit and run’ approach. Instead of daily skin care, they attack outbreaks with harsh products as and when they occur in the hopes of returning their skin to health.
This of course does the exact opposite, sending the skin into a downward spiral as it tries to cope with the dual attack of acne and astringent chemicals.
Your simple daily routine should begin with a good cleanser and moisturizer, used once in the evening and once at night. If you use other products (excluding prescribed medications like tretinoin) you should put them on hold for now.
Many find this switch is very effective, partly because so many of us with acne avoid moisturizers like the plague thinking they will only block pores and leave skin greasy.
The next most important step is to wear SPF daily.
Again, the issue that those with acne have with creams is down to the incorrect belief that adding more moisture to the skin is a bad thing.
If you cleanse, moisturize and use sun protection then will you be protected from sun damage and free radicals (from pollution), which happen to account for around 70-80% of all skin aging that a person experiences.
Contrary to popular belief, adding these skin care solutions will not make your skin greasy, that will happen only if you use the wrong type or a cheap product.
It will pay in the long run to have a solid daily skin care routine, such as the products included in this review.
For years acne control and anti-aging routines have seemed to be on opposite ends of the skin care spectrum.
Finally now with the advance of the cosmetics industry beyond damaging chemicals and thick, suffocating creams, we can begin to tackle both issues in a simple daily routine.
We hope this article has cleared up any confusion on the topic, if you have any questions just ask below.
Once you have given any of our recommendations a chance to work on your skin, tell us in the comments section so we can hear about your success.Did you find this article useful? Enter your email to receive subscriber-only skincare advice to help you perfect your routine and achieve radiant skin. Get tips and tricks, how to's and exclusive offers direct to your inbox...
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- Ribero S, Sanna M, Visconti A, et al. Acne and telomere length: a new spectrum between senescence and apoptosis pathways. J Invest Dermatol. 2017;137(2):513-515.
- Kircik LH, Dahl A, Yatskayer M, Raab S, Oresajo C. Safety and efficacy of two anti-acne/anti-aging treatments in subjects with photodamaged skin and mild to moderate acne vulgaris. J Drugs Dermatol. 2012 Jun;11(6):737-40. PMID: 22648221.