best inkey list products for acne

The Inkey List is an affordable skincare brand that is known for its hero ingredient products. While The Inkey List formulates skincare products for all skin types, their skincare products for acne, breakouts, and oily skin stand out against their competitors.

So today I’d like to discuss the best The Inkey List products for acne and oily skin.

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About The Inkey List

In 2018, Colette Laxton and Mark Curry founded The Inkey List. Based in the UK, The Inkey List aims to make information useful for you so that you can make informed decisions, especially when it comes to skincare. They use their askINKEY platforms to help empower and educate their community.

The Inkey List believes their products should be accessible to all and prices them in a way that allows you to test ingredients and ultimately build your ideal skincare recipe.

Many of their products center around a hero active ingredient, which often draws comparison to another popular affordable skincare brand, The Ordinary.

Transparency is important to The Inkey List and they disclose active percentages on their products. All of their products are cruelty-free and in line with EU regulation.

Their packaging is currently 91% recyclable with an aim at being 100% recyclable.

TIP: The Inkey list packaging is very informational. Many of their boxes can be broken apart and inside there are additional tips on how to use the product or how to combine the product with other The Inkey List products to treat specific skin concerns.

Whether you are looking for an entire skincare routine for acne and oily skin or just a few products to incorporate into your current skincare routine, The Inkey List has several options for acne and oily skin from cleansers and serums, to spot treatments and face masks.

Let’s take a look at the best The Inkey List products for oily skin in order of application, starting with cleansing your face.

Please note that not all of these products should be used at the same time. Scroll down to the bottom of the post for some example skincare routines using these products.

Related Post: The Inkey List Skincare Review

The Inkey List Salicylic Acid Cleanser

The Inkey List Salicylic Acid Cleanser is a deep clean for your skin. This gel cleanser contains 2% salicylic acid to unclog pores and to gently exfoliate the skin.

Zinc helps to reduce excess oil while 0.5% allantoin soothes irritated skin.

This cleanser helps to reduce blackheads and breakouts thanks to salicylic acid, a beta hydroxy acid that penetrates deep into pores to remove buildup.

This gel cleanser removes makeup, dirt, oil, and other impurities and leaves skin feeling clean without feeling too dry or stripped.

Related Post: How to Avoid Acne and Breakouts From Wearing A Face Mask

The Inkey List Kaolin Clay Mask

The Inkey List Kaolin Clay Mask is a deep cleansing clay mask. This mask contains high-grade kaolin clay to help remove impurities and absorb excess oil for improved oil control.

Kaolin clay is a gentle white clay that is ideal for all skin types, since regular use does not dry out the skin.

Smectite clay is also included in the formula to reduce excess oil. Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice Powder and Centella Asiatica Leaf Extract soothe and moisturize the skin. The pH of this mask is between 5.0 – 6.0.

There’s nothing worse than when after finishing a skincare treatment your skin feels tight, dry, and stripped. This mask does not do that. It leaves your skin feeling clean and balanced.

Perfect for oily and blemish-prone skin types. You can also use this mask on other areas of your body that you have breakouts, such as your back and chest.

It contains 2% Succinic Acid to balance oil production, exfoliate dead skin cells to unblock pores and reduce blemish size.

Colloidal Sulfur acts as an antibacterial and antimicrobial. A 1% concentration of Salicylic Acid deeply exfoliates and sweeps away dead skin cells.

The trio of active ingredients helps to shrink blemishes, blackheads and redness.

The formula also contains 0.4% hyaluronic acid for hydration, glycerin, which acts as a humectant to help retain moisture plus anti-inflammatory squalane that also helps to prevent moisture loss.

NOTE: This product is green in color. This comes from a natural chlorophyll-derived plant pigment.

The Inkey List notes that the shade of the product many vary in brightness depending on the plant’s exposure to weather and the seasons. These variances do not effect the efficacy of the product.

The Inkey List Hyaluronic Acid

The Inkey List Hyaluronic Acid is a lightweight serum that contains 2% multi-molecular hyaluronic acid (Sodium hyaluronate, the salt form of hyaluronic acid, and hyaluronic acid).

Hyaluronic acid helps the skin to draw and hold water, making it an excellent hydrator. The serum penetrates multiple layers of your skin. It creates a plumped appearance to the skin making fine lines and wrinkles appear less visible.

This serum also contains Matrixyl 3000 peptide, a peptide complex that pairs Palmitoyl Tripeptide-1 and Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7. These peptides work to reduce wrinkles and other signs of aging.

Don’t think that hyaluronic acid is only for dry skin types. Hyaluronic acid is excellent for all skin types. Hyaluronic acid hydrates your skin which helps to keep your skin barrier in balance.

If your skin barrier is damaged, it opens the door to dryness, irritation and possible breakouts.

This is my favorite hyaluronic acid serum. It has a lightweight texture that sinks into my skin quickly without feeling sticky. It does a fantastic job of hydrating and has the added bonus of an anti-aging peptide complex.

Related Post: The Inkey List vs The Ordinary: Anti-Aging Skincare on a Budget

The Inkey List Niacinamide Serum

The Inkey List Niacinamide Serum contains 10% niacinamide. Niacinamide offers a wealth of benefits, especially when it comes to controlling excess oil.

It also fights blemishes and redness. Niacinamide offers anti-aging, anti-inflammatory, skin brightening, and skin barrier repair properties.

The serum also contains 1% hyaluronic acid to hydrate and plump the skin. But it doesn’t stop there.

This serum also contains squalane to seal in moisture and panthenol, also known as Pro-Vitamin B5, which has anti-inflammatory and wound healing properties.

If you are looking for oil control, this is The Inkey List serum for you. It has an elegant texture, sinks in quickly, and works to balance oil production and protect the skin. It’s lightweight, hydrating and works well with other skincare and makeup products.

Related Post: The Best The Ordinary Skincare Products for Oily & Acne-Prone Skin

The Inkey List Beta Hydroxy Acid

The Inkey List Beta Hydroxy Acid contains 2% Salicylic Acid, a beta hydroxy acid that travels deep into pores and unclogs them while fighting blackheads and breakouts.

This powerful exfoliator is ideal for oily skin. This beta hydroxy acid also has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties to soothe skin that is prone to breakouts and acne.

In addition, this formula also contains Zinc PCA, which is a combination of Zinc and l-PCA. This duo helps to reduce sebum production and minimize bacteria which can lead to acne.

This serum also contains 1% low molecular hyaluronic acid to hydrate and plump the skin while keeping dryness at bay.

While you can use this serum (a drop or two) on your face and neck, it can also be applied as a spot treatment to areas that are prone to breakouts and blemishes.

The Inkey List Retinol Serum

The Inkey List Retinol Serum is formulated with two different retinoids: 1% RetiStar stabilized Retinol and 0.5% Granactive Retinoid.

Retinol, a vitamin A derivative, is the one over-the-counter product that can effectively reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, stimulate collagen production and create a smoother more even-looking complexion.

Retinol also supports cell turnover and helps to unclog pores. As a result, acne breakouts and scarring are minimized. It also helps to reduce the look of hyperpigmentation and dark spots.

RetiStar stabilized Retinol is a retinol complex containing 0.05% retinol, tocopherol, sodium ascorbate, and PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil in caprylic/capric triglycerides in an oily dispersion.

So while you may think you are getting 1% retinol from this complex (which would be an extremely high amount of retinol), you are actually getting 0.05% of retinol from the complex plus 0.5% Granactive Retinoid.

Granactive Retinoids are a newer type of retinoid that are not yet highly researched but are supposed to perform as well as retinol but without the irritation associated with retinol.

This serum also contains squalane, which moisturizes and balances oil production, making it perfect for oily skin. Vitamin E offers antioxidant protection and hyaluronic acid hydrates.

This formula also contains a small amount of Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7 and Palmitoyl Tripeptide-1. These are peptides found in Matrix 3000, a peptide complex that helps to reduce wrinkles.

For more on this retinol serum, please see my The Inkey List Retinol review.

NOTE: Be sure to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen while using this product and for up to 7 days after using it since it can make your skin more sensitive to the sun. Do not use this serum at the same time as alpha hydroxy acids, beta hydroxy acids, other retinoids, vitamin C, or other potent actives.

Another reason to apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen daily is that unprotected sun exposure can darken post-breakout scars and marks.

Related Post: A Guide to Drugstore Retinol, The Best The Inkey List Products for Hyperpigmentation and Dark Spots

The Inkey List Phytic Acid Serum

The Inkey List Phytic Acid Serum is formulated to reduce the look of pores and rebalance oily skin. This super lightweight, almost water-like serum also helps to reduce inflammation and strengthen the skin barrier.

The serum goes to work on enlarged pores and excessive oil production with 2% Phytic Acid, which is an antioxidant that reduces calcium deposits on the skin’s surface. Calcium can clog pores which leads to breakouts, so by reducing it, the Phytic Acid serum helps to keep pores clear.

A 1% concentration of Symcontrol care from microalgae keeps oil in check while reduce pore size. It also soothes the skin.

A 01.% concentration of LPA (Lysophosphatidic acid), a phospholipid found naturally in the skin, supports a healthy skin barrier, wound healing, and a reduction in the appearance of pores.

Perfect for acne-prone and oily skin, this skin care serum is also suitable for sensitive skin.

The Inkey List Omega Water Cream

The Inkey List Omega Water Cream is a lightweight, water-based, oil-free moisturizer that hydrates the skin without using oil or silicone in the formula.

Don’t let the simple formula fool you. It contains the multi-benefit skincare ingredient niacinamide, a form of vitamin B3 that brightens the skin and improves the appearance of enlarged pores. It helps to control excess oil production and reduce the look of uneven skin tone and redness.

Omega Ceramide Complex contains Omega 3, 6, and 9, which help repair the skin’s natural barrier and lock in hydration.

The moisturizer also contains 5% glycerin and 3% betaine, gentle moisturizers for the skin.

The moisturizer is suitable for all skin type and works especially well for oily and acne prone skin.

Omega Water Cream has a lightweight feel on the skin and is non-greasy. This is a perfect dose of niacinamide and can be used both in your AM and PM skincare routine.

The Inkey List Multi-Biotic Balancing Moisturizer

The Inkey List Multi-Biotic Balancing Moisturizer combines pro-biotic, its nutrients (pre), and its by-products (post) to help balance your skin microbiome. This moisturizer contains 5% Yogurtene, an active that supports skin friendly bacteria.

With this moisturizer, it’s all about balance, particularly balanced pH levels. If your pH levels are unbalanced, your skin may experience irritation, excessive oiliness, acne, an acceleration in the signs of aging, and a weakened skin barrier.

Balanced pH levels can reduce breakouts and protect your skin against external environmental stressors.

This lightweight moisturizer also contains 2% Brightenyl, an active formulated to brighten the skin plus 2% non-comedogenic squalane to moisturize and protect the skin.

There is a caveat with this moisturizer, though. It smells somewhat stinky, perhaps a bit like sour milk. I assume this is due to the probiotic ingredients. The scent does dissipate though.

The moisturizer is non-greasy and works well with makeup.

The Inkey List Rosehip Oil

Using a facial oily may seem counterintuitive if you have oily skin, but The Inkey List Rosehip Oil can actually benefit acne-prone and oily skin types. This oil is 100% cold-pressed and contains, omega-6 fatty acids, vitamins, and antioxidants.

Rosehip oil has anti-inflammatory properties that can benefit those with acne.

Rosehip oil contains linoleic acid, a fatty acid that can regulate oil production. Individuals with acne have been shown to have lower levels of linoleic acid in their lipids.

These lower levels are believed to contribute to acne and compromise the skin barrier. This study found that topical linoleic acid can also help to reduce the size of microcomedones (small acne blemishes).

Rosehip oil also contains small amounts of tretinoin, a retinoid known for not only its anti-aging properties but also for its acne-fighting properties.

This hydrating oil also offers anti-aging benefits from its antioxidants, such as the ability to fight free radicals, support collagen production and help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, while improving post-breakout skin texture and tone.

The Inkey List C-50 Blemish Night Treatment

The Inkey List C-50 Blemish Night Treatment is an excellent option as an overnight leave-on treatment.

It is formulated with vitamin C (in the form of the derivative Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate), Vitamin E, and exfoliating salicylic acid to reduce bacteria on the skin, and prevent and reduce blemishes. Lotus Extract helps to balance oil production.

This night treatment replaces your moisturizer step and can also be used on other breakout-prone areas such as your chest and back.

Related Post: The Best Mario Badescu Products

Example The Inkey List Skincare Routines for Acne and Oily Skin

You can create your own The Inkey List acne routine that works best with your skin type and budget.

Here are some The Inkey List sample skincare routines for acne-prone and oily skin for the morning and evening:

Example Morning Skincare Routine for Acne and Oily Skin

  • The Inkey List Salicylic Acid Cleanser
  • The Inkey List Hyaluronic Acid
  • The Inkey List Niacinamide Serum or The Inkey List Phytic Acid Serum
  • Eye cream from The Inkey List, such as Caffeine Eye Cream or Brighten-i Eye Cream
  • The Inkey List Multi-Biotic Moisturizer or The Inkey List Omega Water Cream
  • Don’t forget SPF: Since The Inkey List doesn’t have a sunscreen yet, this mineral sunscreen has a lightweight matte finish, and here is a less expensive mineral matte sunscreen option

Example Evening Skincare Routine for Acne and Oily Skin

  • The Inkey List Salicylic Acid Cleanser
  • The Inkey List Hyaluronic Acid
  • The Inkey List Retinol Serum (alternate nights with The Inkey List Beta Hydroxy Acid)
  • The Inkey List Niacinamide Serum or The Inkey List Phytic Acid Serum
  • Eye cream from The Inkey List, such as Caffeine Eye Cream or Brighten-i Eye Cream, or Retinol Eye Cream
  • The Inkey List Multi-Biotic Moisturizer or The Inkey List Omega Water Cream
  • Optional: The Inkey List Rosehip Oil

Optional Treatment 1-2x week: The Inkey List Kaolin Clay Mask

Optional Treatment (1-3x/day): The Inkey List Succinic Acid Acne Treatment

Final Thoughts on the Best The Inkey List Products for Acne and Oily Skin

The Inkey List has a large collection of products that work well for acne and oily skin and can help to minimize breakouts and acne scarring.

These products contain ingredients that not only help with oily skin issues but also support your general skin health through maintaining hydration and a healthy skin barrier. A few products, such as Retinol, Niacinamide, and Rosehip Oil even offer anti-aging benefits.

A huge bonus is the pricing. The Inkey List products are incredibly inexpensive, and you can try multiple products without breaking the bank. Affordable and effective!

For more affordable drugstore skincare products for combination, oily and acne-prone skin, be sure to check out my Revolution Skincare review.

Thanks for reading!

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