Acne takes many forms. Pustulated pimples, cystic bumps, blackheads—as if one type alone weren’t bad enough! But for what it’s worth, there’s also an equal number of solutions. And the most powerful ones come in the form of active ingredients, known as actives, for short.

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: actives are the true workhorses of any routine. Their potent properties target blemishes with laser-sharp focus, so you’re guaranteed quick results. All you need to know is which one to use.

Below, find 4 common actives designed to thwart your most stubborn blemishes. And just for good measure, we’ve got recos per active, all by anti-acne expert COSRX!


WHAT IT TREATS: Active pimples
TRY: COSRX BHA Skin Returning A-Sol, now on sale at P774 (limited time only). Shop it here!

Salicylic acid is one of the most popular anti-acne ingredients—and for good reason. This powerful anti-bacterial treatment reduces redness, soothes inflammation, and sloughs off surface bacteria.

See its magic at work with everyone’s HG solution: the CosRX BHA Skin Returning A-Sol. This calms down surprise pimples fairly quickly. For best results, dab it gently over your spots and let the product sit overnight. Your blemishes should be visibly smaller come morning.


WHAT IT TREATS: Blackheads
TRY: CosRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid, now on sale at P963 (limited time only). Shop it here!

Pores more congested than Manila traffic? BHAs are about to make your life so much easier. Short for Beta Hydroxy Acids, these chemical exfoliants are famous for getting deep-seated dirt out. They penetrate your pores to dissolve excess oil, the “glue” that holds grime together. And once this glue has melted down, you’ll have cleaner skin from the inside out.

For a blackhead-free face, try the legendary CosRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid. This stuff unclogs pores like no other! Primarily made with willow bark water, the solution uses naturally occurring BHAs to completely dislodge dirt.


WHAT IT TREATS: Whiteheads
TRY: CosRX AHA 7 Whitehead Liquid, now on sale at P810 (limited time only). Shop it here!

A chemical alternative to physical exfoliants, AHAs slough off dirt from the surface of your skin. They work by dissolving the bonds between dead skin cells. So while they can’t penetrate your pores like BHAs do, AHAs specialize in revealing smoother skin and preventing bacteria buildup to begin with. Think of ‘em as a gentle peel!

For dull or whitehead-riddled skin, try the cult-status CosRX AHA 7 Whitehead Liquid. It melts away surface grime with natural AHAs found in apple water. By removing dead, damaged layers, it also boosts the production of healthier skin cells. Expect smoother, brighter, and younger-looking skin!


WHAT IT TREATS: Hyperpigmentation
TRY: CosRX Galactomyces Whitening Power Essence, now on sale at P963 (limited time only). Shop it here!

The scars of pimples past are as much of an issue as acne itself. Our favorite remedy: niacinamide, otherwise known as Vitamin B3. This essential nutrient slows down the transfer of melanin to the skin’s outermost layer. That way, you wind up with a more even complexion and less scarring.

Erase your darkest spots with the skin-illuminating CosRX Galactomyces Whitening Power Essence. Chockfull of niacinamide, it renews your skin tone and fades hyper-pigmentation. Word on the street is that it’s even a dupe for SK-II’s famous First Essence!

P.S. These COSRX creations are super concentrated. So, whether you’re choosing one or collecting ‘em all, just make sure to alternate your usage of each one!

Credits: Video and photos by Kat Echon. Don’t forget to follow BeautyMNL on Facebook and Instagram!

Spring Light by Joakim Karud

Treat your most common blemishes by choosing the right product. Read BeautyMNL’s guide for acne-free skin here.

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