The Trendy Skincare Ingredient You Need To Fight Acne

We may receive a commission on purchases made from links.

As temperatures continue to soar right now, breaking into a sweat has become inevitable. And for some, that means more acne breakouts. Luckily, there's one skincare active that is trending on TikTok for its acne-fighting abilities — succinic acid. Succinic acid is an anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial active ingredient, per Byrdie. It works to block bacterial and fungal growth, which can often cause acne, and it can treat existing deep, cystic acne. While other popular acne treatments out there like benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid can cause mild irritation, succinic acid has soothing properties (via Medical News Today and Byrdie). So it's a great acne treatment for those with sensitive skin, eczema and/or psoriasis.

Mark Curry, co-founder and lead scientist at The Inkey List, added that succinic acid has pain-relieving properties which can help ease any discomfort from acne or other inflammatory conditions. Dr. Gretchen Frieling, a triple board-certified dermatologist, told Byrdie that succinic acid simultaneously hydrates our skin and inhibits excess sebum production. According to Frieling, the ingredient's chemical structure is similar to the natural lipids, or fats, within our skin. Skin expert Renee Lapino told Refinery29, "As succinic acid balances oily and congested complexions, it's ideal for patients with acne," adding, "This leads to fewer spots and blackheads."

Succinic acid also has anti-aging properties

Frieling added that succinic acid also fights signs of aging as an antioxidant that can alleviate damage caused by free radicals. Succinic acid also helps promote skin cell regeneration. "At the cellular level, succinic acid accelerates metabolic processes that promote skin rejuvenation, and can ultimately, help increase skin firmness and elasticity," Frieling told Byrdie. While it has recently become a viral acne treatment, succinic acid has been popular in Europe (via Refinery29). Cosmetic chemist David Petrillo advised using a thin serum or treatment that has succinic acid in it to ensure that the ingredient penetrates into the skin, instead of oils or heavier creams (via Byrdie). 

PopSugar recommends The Inkey List's Succinic Acid Acne Treatment. This spot treatment has 2% succinic acid, 2% sulfur powder and 1% salicylic acid. Curry told Byrdie, "The succinic acid helps unclog pores and decrease oil levels, salicylic acid gently exfoliates, and sulfur reduces excess oil without overdrying the skin." PopSugar editor Krista Jones cited that her cystic acne reduced in size, irritation and redness within a day of using the treatment. Petrillo recommended the Zelens Z Hyaluron Hyaluronic Acid Complex Serum Drops as a hydrating serum with succinic acid. Frieling suggested the Perricone MD Acne Relief Calming Treatment and Hydrator that contains succinic, salicylic and lactic acids, along with squalane. With succinic acid, it looks like you won't have to sweat over acne breakouts this summer.