Acne: Glossary of Terms and Ingredients




Allantoin is a component of your skin’s natural moisturising factor. It has an emollient and softening effect on the hardened areas of your skin’s outer layer. The ingredient works by increasing the capacity of corneocytes (part of your skin’s outer layer) to bind water, hence keeping your skin nice and moisturised. Allantoin also protects the skin from irritating factors by creating a moisturised barrier.


Alpha-Arbutin is a skin lightening agent that reduces melanin (a substance in your body that causes pigmentation or discolouration, usually of the hair, eyes and skin). It’s a colour pigment that is distributed throughout your body, without affecting or disrupting cells.

Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs)

We use AHAs in our Dermal Therapy Acne Spot Cream, and it contains three acids: Glycolic Acid, Lactic Acid and Citric Acid. The three AHA acids are contained in a Lamellar Water Gel (LWG) technology, which is designed to diffuse the acids into the skin, in a progressive and controlled way.

This unique approach allows the acids to perform well, and avoids the problem of burns and irritation, which many other products can cause.

What do AHAs do to help your acne skin? AHAs interfere with the intercellular bonding process (when cells are bonding to form skin tissue) and therefore reduces the way skin cells can sometimes bind together forming acne lesions. Put simply – AHAs help to clear out blocked pores (which are often one of the causes of acne) without irritation or other side effects.

The concentration of AHA in Dermal Therapy Acne Spot Cream is suitable for long-term application.


Bakuchiol has similar properties to retinoids, which you might have heard of, but retinoids also have well documented side effects. That’s why we use Bakuchiol instead. It has limited side effects, and acts by targeting several cellular pathways, leading to significant improvement in firmness and pigmentation of the skin.


A plant-derived ingredient obtained from chamomile (like the flower, or the tea!), bisabolol has anti-irritation properties. Just like chamomile tea helps relax your body and mind for sleep, bisabolol soothes and calms acne prone skin. Bisabolol also improves the appearance of damaged skin by moisturising and returning the skin to a supple, healthy glow.

Colloidal Sulfur

Colloidal sulfur is a biologically active chemical element that dissolves in water to form a colloidal solution. A colloidal solution is one where a substance splits into tiny particles and is dispersed through another substance. For example, colloidal sulfur can have the effect of absorbing excess sebum – unclogging pores and leading to clear skin.

Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic Acid – despite its harsh-sounding name – is actually a wonder ingredient that helps our skin in lots of different ways, and it’s naturally occurring! It helps retain and preserve moisture, improving the overall appearance of your skin.


Niacinamide is a form of vitamin B3, which is essential for the health of your whole body, as well as your skin. We use it as an ingredient in our Acne Control range to help your skin work harder (and more effectively!) as a barrier against external nasties. Niacinamide works to reduce transepidermal water loss (which is the amount of water that passively and naturally evaporates through the skin), improves moisturisation and – most importantly – helps to minimise the appearance of pores.


A derivative of Vitamin B5, Panthenol is hygroscopic in nature – which means it absorbs moisture and humidity from the air. That’s why Panthenol works to improve your skin’s function as a barrier against nasties, and also hydrates the outermost layer of the skin. Transepidermal water loss – which is the amount of water that passively evaporates through the skin – is something that happens naturally. The use of Panthenol helps maintain the skin’s moisture by reducing that transepidermal water loss. 


Polylysine is a polymer (large molecule) of L-lysine, which is an essential amino acid required for human health. It’s not naturally produced in the body, so it needs to be eaten in the diet or ingested through the skin. That’s why we use Polylysine in our Acne Control Lotion – because it restores and rebalances your skin’s microbiome, keeping it functioning healthily and reducing the chance of acne breakouts.

Potassium Azeloyl Diglycinate

Potassium Azeloyl Diglycinate is an innovative water-soluble ingredient. It’s developed as a salt of azelaic acid, which has antioxidant effects. This next-generation ingredient also normalises sebum and has whitening properties, which helps reduce redness. Most importantly – Potassium Azeloyl Diglycinate helps bind moisture to the skin and enhances elasticity, meaning your skin won’t feel too dried out, even though it’s also preventing your skin from becoming too oily.


SEBOCLEAR(™) is a plant-based ingredient used in our acne range to help control the over-production of sebum (excessive oil). It comes from the leaves of the plant Maclura cochinchinensis – also known as cockspur thorn – and the plant contains prenylated bioflavonoids, which is a natural substance known to help control sebum. By controlling sebum production, which is often the root cause of oily skin (and acne), we’re controlling acne breakouts.

Sodium PCA

Sodium PCA stands for Sodium Pyrrolidone Carboxylic Acid. It’s a natural component of your skin and helps attract moisture from deeper layers of the skin, locking it at the top layer for maximum hydration. Sodium PCA has also been known to draw moisture from the surrounding air, which helps give your skin a naturally hydrated, supple and healthy look.