I was always under the impression that acne was something I would outgrow; an issue mostly reserved for teens and tweens. Acne is not all that uncommon, especially for women, into their twenties, thirties, forties and during hormonal fluctuations such as stress, PMS, pregnancy, and menopause.
Though the causes are relatively similar, adult acne shows it’s ugly self in different areas than when we were in our boy band fan phase. Acne during younger years typically pops up on the cheeks, nose and forehead, whereas, adult acne usually surfaces around the chin, jawline and neck.
For myself, I had the teen type acne in my early twenties which calmed down for a few years and then suddenly creeped back onto my face in the form of adult acne in my late twenties. I’ve managed to control it well through my skin care regimen, but stress still results in a couple of pesky unwanted visitors around my jawline. I understand how embarrassing it is to face the world Rudolf style with your pimple leading the way. Don’t reschedule that date or meeting and don’t allow yourself to be held back by acne, I’ve got you.
How is adult acne treated?
Face wash: Be sure you have two regimens for your washing routine. I have a gentle face wash I use when I’m free of breakouts and an acne wash I use when I have an active break out. I used to make the mistake of always using acne wash, which was over drying my skin and throwing off my moisture balance. I was working against myself and my skin did not look its best.
Pay attention to the active ingredients in your products. You’ll find that there are different ingredients and if you’re not tolerating one or not seeing results, switch it up. There are also different concentrations of active ingredients, which can cause sensitivity at higher doses or perhaps may not be effective at lower doses.
I’ve also found that using a Clarisonic in the shower in the mornings has helped to keep my face cleaner and free of outbreaks.
Spot Treat: Treat pimples as they occur. This one is a no brainer! Of course you want to treat pimples when you can see them. I think I’ve tried all the spot treatments out there with all the ingredients claiming to vanish pimples over night including prescription RetinA. The best product for my skin is EradiKate by Kate Somerville, $24. When you take it home, let the product separate and then dip a cotton swap through the clear liquid into the sediment and apply to the pimple. The product will harden and draw toxins out of the skin over night. EradiKate is the only product that I’ve found that actually dries the pimple (without irritating it and making my skin crack and peel). If it’s a monster zit, I see a reduction in size and inflammation with one use, but if it’s a normal little creep, it will be gone by morning.
Cover It Up: How do you cover it without caking on your makeup? Science! Using green color corrector, cancels out the red tone of a blemish. You can use a small amount of green, then top it off with a dab of concealer (after you’ve applied your foundation). Learn more about this with the post I did on color correcting makeup. I happened to be pretty sick with a virus and had an active breakout when I did the post, so it made for a great tutorial. Seek out makeup that is less oily. When I have a breakout, I switch from bb cream to a light weight air brush makeup from Dior. It covers well and doesn’t add moisture to my routine.
Consider a chemical peel: I know, peels sound scary, but the acid used for peels will kill any bacteria on your face. I don’t get too many breakouts any more, but when I’m super stressed, my face looks like a constellation. Once that process starts, I need to interrupt the cycle, or I will continue to get new little friends daily. I have very sensitive skin, but there are different levels of peels, so I go with a less abrasive peel and it works wonderfully. Follow along the chemical peel process in this post I did on chemical peels.
Consider seeking expert consultation: When none of these efforts work and you’re still struggling, see a dermatologist. Sometimes antibiotics are necessary to cut down the bacteria on your face and there are a variety of prescription products that may be beneficial. Cystic acne should be treated if it’s persistent. I occasionally battle these little pests. These are the deeper pimples that throb and can scar if picked at. Cystic acne is an indication of a bacterial infection and popping these guys will not only risk scarring, but it also spreads the bacteria on your face. I can get by with a peel or spot treatment to rid my skin of cystic acne and I only experience it under extreme stress, but if it’s a persistent problem, a dermatologist will be able to help you manage it.
What are your favorite products? Comment below.