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What To Do If You Have Adult Acne & Can’t Bear It Anymore

Having acne as an adult doesn’t really seem fair.

It’s supposed to be one of those things you leave in your adolescent years, along with crushing teenage self-consciousness, curfews, and a questionable taste in music.

However, if you have oily skin and you’re prone to breakouts, problems with acne can often stay with you into your 20s and 30s (and can even hang around until menopause). This can be down to a whole host of reasons — from hormonal fluctuations to stress, to smoking, to using the wrong skin products.

Luckily, there are ways you can treat and prevent adult acne, so don’t worry! Read the article below for our top tips on getting healthier, happier skin.

This post covers acne treatments — if you’re struggling with acne scars, then check out this page on what you need to know about laser acne scar removal.

1.   Take preventative steps

Before we could into the potential treatments and cures for adult acne, it’s worth examing your lifestyle and habits to see if there’s anything in there that could be detrimental to your skin’s health. There are preventative steps you can take that could stop breakouts — or all least stop them from being as bad.

Knowing what your body responds to badly and finding a pattern will help you to avoid acne-instigating habits. For example, eating dairy, fatty foods or fried foods can make you break out in spots, so avoiding these will help your skin. Sugar is also thought to trigger inflammation and oil production in your skin, so step away from the chocolate.

Dehydration and a lack of sleep can also impact your skin’s happiness, so make sure you’re drinking plenty of water and getting that eight hours of shut-eye a night.

2.   Nail that skincare routine

Perfecting your skincare routine will help your adult acne to no end. Everyone is different, but here are some top tips to keep your skin as healthy as possible:

  • Wash your face twice a day to get rid of excess oil and clear your pores. Use a gentle cleanser or face wash that won’t irritate any existing spots or sensitive skin.
  • Avoid overwashing: washing and cleansing too much and too vigorously can make your acne worse because it dries your skin out — and then your body produces more oil to balance this out.
  • Stay away from oily skin products: if you’re prone to oily skin and acne, then oil skincare products will generally make things worse. Stick to oil-free or water-based.

You might need to experiment with different products and variations of your routine to find out what works best for you. But once you do find that balanced routine, your skin will thank you!

3.   Try topical treatments like creams

If you’re struggling with adult acne, there are many different types of topical treatments you can try like creams or gels. Each of these has a different active ingredient, so if one doesn’t work for you, you can try another type until you find the perfect acne fixer for you.

These are the more effective topical treatments:

  • Benzoyl peroxide. This treatment kills acne bacteria and reduces inflammation but because it’s strong, it can irritate your skin.
  • Acid-based creams and gels. Azelaic acid, salicylic acid, and glycolic aid all work in roughly the same way: by removing dead skin cells on the surface and unclogging pores.
  • Retinoid creams like Retinol or Retin-A. Made from vitamin A derivatives which the skin turns into retinoic acid when absorbed, treating oil production and unclogging pores.

4.   Oral antibiotics

If your acne really isn’t budging using topical treatments like creams or gels, you can also speak to your doctor about getting prescribed some oral antibiotics to treat your skin.

These tend to be reserved for more severe cases of acne and work by killing the bacteria that causes breakouts and inflammation.

The types of antibiotics used for this are called tetracyclines, and you’ll normally take them alongside tropical creams so that they work best.

5.   Birth control pills

Depending on the type of acne you suffer from, birth control pills may be able to help.

For example, if you suffer from hormone-related acne (also known as period acne or PMS-related acne), then birth control pills could help to control your acne and clear up your skin.

Various types of the combined pill — which contains estrogen and progesterone — such as Yaz reign in overstimulated oil glands which cause acne outbreaks, by controlling your hormones better.

6.   Light therapy

Some adult acne sufferers opt for blue light therapy.

This type of treatment uses light in the blue wavelength range to kill bacteria on the skin that is thought to cause and exacerbate acne (Propionibacterium acnes).

To work best, blue light therapy needs to be carried out over a number of sessions. This is usually done by a doctor or skin care specialist, but nowadays you can even buy your own light therapy mask to treat your face at home.

If you’re struggling with adult acne, the treatments above can help. You just need to find the right combination for you, but once you do, your adult acne problems will feel like a thing of the past.