Adult acne fact: According to American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) more women are getting acne in their 30’s 40’s and 50’s. They are not sure why but they do know that it’s very frustrating.
AAD: “The psychological effects of acne may be profound, and it is the opinion of the expert work group that effective acne treatment can improve the emotional outlook of patients.”
As a skin care therapist for over 20 years and an acne sufferer, I can attest to that statement. I would have clients come see me with adult acne flare ups for the first time in their lives.
They would feel self-conscious and embarrassed so they would cover their skin with heavy make-up, which, would make their acne worse. They were unsure of what type of products to use therefore making matters worse.
“It just doesn’t make sense” they would say to me, they got through their teenage years pretty well, a few flare ups but nothing that left scars or made them want to stay home and hide under the covers on a Saturday night.
But then life happens; here you are juggling it.. like an adult.
- Full time at your job (stressed)
- Traveling (not eating right)
- Moving (stressed)
- Responsibilities at home and with kids (no time to work out)
This is a perfect storm for adult onset acne.
AAD- Stress: “Researchers have found a relationship between stress and acne flare-ups. In response to stress, our bodies produce more androgens (a type of hormone). These hormones stimulate the oil glands and hair follicles in the skin, which can lead to acne. This explains why acne can be an ongoing problem when we find ourselves under constant stress.”
Although adult acne flare ups can occur anywhere on the face, women usually tend to break out in the chin area, which in Chinese medicine is the hormonal area.
There are some basic steps you must do to help clear up acne but first a quick note to understand acne.
Acne comes from a bacterium that develops when your skin can’t breathe, oil glands are overactive and skin is inflamed.
That’s it! So how can you reduce oil, calm inflammation and let your skin breathe?
When first using acne products it’s easy to dry your skin out and do more harm than good.
You are original; no one has the same skin as you. So it’s real important that you listen to your skin!
By that I mean keeping notes or a diary of the products that you used, what worked and what didn’t such as:
- What’s the main (active ingredient) in them and how they affected your skin.
- Did your skin clear up for a while and then the acne came back?
- Did a certain product make your skin too dry or sensitive?
If any of these things happened then it’s easy to tweak your regime to find the perfect balance for your skin. I recommend seeing a Skin Care Therapist to guide you along the way.
The last thing you want to do is dry out the surface of your skin, because that creates more of a barrier and your natural oils can’t escape, hence clogged pores.
Cleaning up your diet as much as you can should always be the first step in clearing up acne. Things like dairy, processed foods, fried foods and high-glycemic foods like bread and potatoes are a must to cut back on.
Daily Skin Care Regimen:
Cleanse your skin morning and evening. Some cleansers that have Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) exfoliants in them, such as salicylic acid. Salicylic is good for oily skin but usually in moderation so your skin doesn’t get irritated. For more intense acne there are cleansers with Benzoyl Peroxide which fights the acne causing bacteria.
Tip: If you have sensitive skin and you tend to get irritated from exfoliating cleansers then try a citrus cleanser that you can alternate with to keep your skin balanced.
Here are three cleansers that my acne clients got great results from:
- Epicuren’s Citrus Cleanser Good to alternate with one of the cleansers below for sensitive skin
- PCA Skin’s BPO 5% Cleanser Active ingredient Benzoyl Peroxide
- Dermalogica’s Clearing Skin Wash Active ingredient Salicylic Acid
Treatment serum: During the day I recommend a product that controls oil without drying the skin, and that product can depend from person to person.
Daytime: A product that is designed to spot treat is the best. It’s real important that you apply a moisturizer for oily skin over so the surface of your skin doesn’t get too dry.
Here’s a few I like for spot treatments;
- Dermalogica’s Oil Control Lotion Active Ingredient Salicylic Acid
- PCA Skin’s Acne Cream Active ingredient Benzoyl Peroxide
Tip: Benzoyl peroxide is like putting oxygen into your skin, which bacteria cannot live in.
Moisturizer: The best moisturizer for oily skin that my client’s love is Epicuren’s Acidophilus Probiotic Facial Cream. It’s great because it naturally balances your skin by balancing the microbiome. According to Epicuren’s website:
“Clear, healthy skin begins with a healthy microbiome – a collective of microorganisms that naturally reside as a unique environment on the surface of your skin. Your microbiome is as unique as your fingerprint, and when balance is disrupted the skin becomes susceptible to a variety of unwanted conditions.”
Another popular moisturizer that combats acne and has ingredients for calming inflammation is PCA Skin’s Clear Skin. It has natural ingredients that reduce oil production, calm and hydrate the skin.
Both these moisturizers can be used day and night but it depends on you and your specific skin type. So again, I recommend seeing a Skin Care Therapist to guide you along the way.
Sunscreen: It’s important to use sunscreen to hamper the scarring from acne.
A lot of times my clients would hesitate to use sunscreen when they have acne. But it’s really not necessary; there are some really good lightweight sunscreens that are designed for acneic skin. One of my favorites is Dermalogica’s Oil Free Matte 30spf.
According to Dermalogica’s website the sunscreen contains: “A blend of Zinc Gluconate, Caffeine, Niacinamide, Biotin and Yeast extract to help regulate oil production and soothe inflammation. Oil-absorbers help maintain an all-day matte finish, preventing shine without any powdery residue.”
Exfoliation is a must to get off the dead skin barrier on the surface of your skin.
A product with the active ingredient Salicylic Acid is good for sensitive skin types. If you’re real sensitive only use it a few times a week under your moisturizer. Dermalogica’s Overnight Clearing Gel for sensitive skin is great. It also has tea tree oil which purifies and soothes the skin as well.
For more aggressive exfoliation, a Salicylic Acid combined with Retinol is the way to go. I love PCA Skin’s Intensive Clartiy Treatment®. Not only will that combo help clear up acne but it will also diminish the acne discoloration and scarring.
Moisturizer It’s best to always apply a moisturizer over an acne treatment product so your skin doesn’t dry out. One of the daytime moisturizers I recommended above is good or just plain old pure aloe vera gel is a great soothing and calming hydrator.
I hope this information helps, as an acne sufferer myself, I know how frustrating and embarrassing acne can be. Be patient and know that with all the advances in skin care there is something for everybody!
If you have any questions about this article or about the products please email me or use the comment box below.
Disclaimer: I am not receiving any kind of compensation or free samples for recommending these products. I sold them at my Skin Care Boutique to my clients and have used them myself so I am very familiar with them.