7 Best Anti-Aging Products for Acne-Prone Skin Types (2021)

7 Best Anti-Aging Products for Acne-Prone Skin Types

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best anti aging products acne prone skin
In a hurry? Here are our top picks:

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.[1]

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.[2]

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.

Quick summary

bb2-table__imageZELEN Life Cleanser
  • Organic formula rich in vitamins and antioxidants
  • Jojoba, aloe, and sunflower combat signs of aging and acne breakouts
  • Hydrates, calms and balances skin's pH, helps inflammation and redness
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bb2-table__imageJuice Beauty Green Apple Age Defy Moisturizer
  • Gently exfoliates skin while boosting hydration
  • Loaded with antioxidants
  • Apple's malic acid promotes collagen growth
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bb2-table__imageboscia Clear Complexion Tonic
  • Unclogs pores due to the inclusion of salicylic acid
  • Lavender fights signs of aging and balances pH
  • Botanical formula helps control breakouts
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bb2-table__imagePaulas Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant
  • Superior chemical exfoliation with a gentle action
  • Salicylic acid helps reduce blemishes
  • Anti-aging properties thanks to the inclusion of green tea
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bb2-table__imageAVYA Skincare Night Moisturizer
  • Contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory ingredients
  • Retinol has potent anti-aging compounds, smoothes fine lines
  • AVYA's Signature Qusome calms skin and assists hyperpigmentation
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bb2-table__imageAHAVA Mineral Facial Treatment Mask
  • Jojoba granules offer mild exfoliation
  • Magnolia bark soothes skin, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory agents
  • Dead sea mineral mud removes impurities and has moisturizing effect
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bb2-table__imageZELEN Life Pack
  • A holistic natural skin care routine that offers complete oil and acne control
  • An anti-aging powerhouse that tackles wrinkles and fine lines
  • Provides day and night, 24/7 hydration, protection and regeneration
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Before you buy: 5 Things to consider when purchasing an anti-aging product for acne-prone skin

  1. Is it non-comedogenic?
  2. Is it free from harsh chemicals like alcohol?
  3. Does it contain antioxidants?
  4. Do the ingredients have any anti-microbial action?
  5. 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

1. ZELEN Life Cleanser

ZELEN Life Cleanser Image

Best features:

  • 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.

Overview:

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.

The good:

  • 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
  • Chemical-free
  • Cruelty-free and vegan-friendly

Things to think about:

  • Works well with an exfoliating acid

Bottom line:

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.

2. Juice Beauty Green Apple Age Defy Moisturizer

Best features:

  • 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.

Overview:

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.

The good:

  • 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

Bottom line:

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.

3. boscia Clear Complexion Tonic

boscia Clear Complexion Tonic

Best features:

  • 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.

Overview:

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.

The good:

  • 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

Bottom line:

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.

4. Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant

Paula's Choice - SKIN PERFECTING 2% BHA Liquid Salicylic Acid Exfoliant

Best features:

  • 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.

Overview:

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.

The good:

  • 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

Bottom line:

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.

5. AVYA Skincare Night Moisturizer

AVYA Skincare NIGHT MOISTURIZER

Best features:

  • 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.

Overview:

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.

The good:

  • 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

Bottom line:

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.

6. AHAVA Mineral Facial Treatment Mask

AHAVA Mineral Facial Treatment Mask

Best features:

  • 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.

Overview:

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.

The good:

  • Unique, natural sourcing of active ingredients

Things to think about:

  • Some really don’t like the smell
  • Smaller amount compared to similar priced products

Bottom line:

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.

7. ZELEN Life Pack

ZELEN Life Pack

Best features:

  • 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.

Overview:

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.

The good:

  • 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
  • Chemical-free

Things to think about:

  • Mechanical rather than a chemical exfoliator
  • For the vegan conscious–the exfoliator and toner contains honey

Bottom line:

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

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.[3]

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.[4]

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).[5]

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

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.[6]

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.

Conclusion

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.

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References

  1. Suh D.H. Kwon H.H. What’s new in the physiopathology of acne?. Br J Dermatol. 2015; 172: 13-19
  2. Bataille V. Snieder H. MacGregor A.J. Sasieni P. Spector T.D. The influence of genetics and environmental factors in the pathogenesis of acne: a twin study of acne in women. J Invest Dermatol. 2002; 119: 1317-1322
  3. Mourelatos K. Eady E.A. Cunliffe W.J. Clark S.M. Cove J.H. Temporal changes in sebum excretion and propionibacterial colonization in preadolescent children with and without acne. Br J Dermatol. 2007; 156: 22-31
  4. Downing D.T. Wertz P.W. Stewart M.E. The role of sebum and epidermal lipids in the cosmetic properties of skin. Int J Cosmet Sci. 1986; 8: 115-123
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

About The Author

Dr. Shane McKeown MBBS
Dr. Shane McKeown MBBS

Board-Certified Doctor and Educator

Dr. McKeown is a UK based NHS clinician with over 10 years experience in both hospital medicine and surgery. After an initial career in maxillofacial surgery his focus now lies in elderly care and rehabilitation medicine. A board member for Wadham College of Science, Dr. McKeown is passionate about widening access to both education and healthcare around the world and as a result, outside of his clinical work he spends much of his time either teaching or providing medical consultancy to healthcare startups. Commercially, his interests lie in helping research and promote novel, evidence-based medicines originating from natural sources and processes.

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