Acne is a common skin condition that affects people of all ages. It can be caused by genetics, stress, or other factors, and it shows up as pimples, blackheads, whiteheads, cystic acne, and red breakouts. While you may have to experiment with different skincare products to find the one that works for you, there are two main ingredients that act as good stand-alone treatments for acne: polyglutamic acid (PGA) and salicylic acid (SA). Both have been shown to reduce oil production from the sebaceous glands and decrease inflammation. If you’re wondering if using either PGA or SA alone is enough to handle your acne needs or if they should be combined in a treatment plan of both active ingredients, this article has you covered. Here’s everything you need to know about using PGA vs. SA as standalone acne treatments and how they work best together as well.
Polyglutamic Acid (PGA) for Acne
Polyglutamic acid (PGA) is an amino acid derived from fermented wheat protein that can help control sebum production by blocking the conversion of excess oil into new skin cells, leading to fewer blackheads and breakouts. PGA is also known for its anti-inflammatory properties, which help treat redness and swelling caused by acne breakouts. Using PGA for acne is a good option for those who are sensitive to SA, but who also want to avoid retinol, and benzoyl peroxide, which are other popular acne treatments.
Salicylic Acid (SA) for Acne
Salicylic acid (SA) is a beta hydroxy acid (BHA) that is commonly found in acne-fighting skincare products. SA is known for its pore-clearing abilities and is a common choice for treating blackheads, whiteheads, and cystic acne. One study found that using SA reduced acne by as much as half. One of the best things about SA is that there’s very little risk of irritation or sensitivity. Similar to PGA, it’s non-comedogenic, meaning it won’t clog pores and isn’t associated with acne. SA is especially effective at treating cystic acne because it helps reduce oil production and kills acne-causing bacteria.
Together, PGA and SA are the Best Dual Treatment for Acne
If you’d like to use a combination of PGA and SA for acne, you’re in luck. Combining these two ingredients is the best way to get a flawless complexion. As a general rule, PGA should be applied in the morning, while SA is best used at night. This is because PGA has the ability to brighten the skin and reduce hyperpigmentation while SA can be a bit too harsh to apply in the morning. On the other hand, SA is great for fighting acne at night because it has the ability to penetrate deeply and reduce inflammation.
Tip: Use PGA Morning and SA at Night
If you can only choose one of PGA or SA to battle acne, using PGA in the morning and SA at night is the best combination. PGA is better for brightening the skin and reducing hyperpigmentation, whereas SA is better for fighting acne and oil production. While both PGA and SA can be used as standalone acne treatments, they work best together; therefore, your skincare routine should feature both of these ingredients. You can either use two separate products that contain PGA and SA (try PGA for morning and SA for night and vice versa) or a single product that combines both active ingredients.
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution for acne, but many people see great results when using PGA and SA together. Both ingredients are non-comedogenic, meaning they won’t clog your pores and cause breakouts. PGA and SA are also gentle enough to use on sensitive skin, making them ideal acne treatments for teens and adults alike. If you’re looking to treat your acne with PGA or SA, you can either use them as standalone active ingredients or in a combination skincare routine that also includes other acne-fighting ingredients. No matter which route you choose, you’re sure to see results in a shorter amount of time than you would if you were to do nothing at all!