While reversing signs of aging is usually the primary goal for adult skincare, acne can be a major skin concern. Countless adults unfairly live with acne-prone skin in addition to fine lines, wrinkles, and discolorations from aging and other damage from sun rays and free radicals. We surely didn’t expect this to be an issue in our later years, but it is a very real concern for many.
Identifying Adult Acne
Adult-onset acne occurs in both men and women of all nationalities and skin types, but primarily in women aged 20-40, and can even arise during our 50s. Generally, acne that occurs post-teen years is considered adult acne. It may reappear as cyclic acne on the same areas of the body at the same time of the month, even in postmenopausal women.
Breakouts around the chin and jawline and on the upper body, mainly on the shoulders, chest, and back can present as small bumps or painful cyst-like pustules. It is not the typical blackhead or whitehead acne often experienced during our youth and frequently cannot be resolved via the extraction method used by estheticians.
The Cause of Adult Acne
Most commonly, adults experience acne due to hormonal fluctuations—primarily during the menstrual cycle as well as throughout and during pregnancy or menopause when skin’s oil production may intensify and lead to clogged pores. For people with high tension or anxiety, the stress hormone cortisol can also cause a surge in skin oil production.
Many of the same elements that contribute to adolescent acne can repeat themselves in adulthood. Outside factors like dirt and bacteria from hands and cell phones coming into contact with skin, lack of proper face cleansing or removing makeup each evening before bedtime, travel or humid environments, or eating a poor diet can all trigger breakouts.
Oftentimes, our skincare and beauty routines can actually be the cause of clogged pores or inflammation that leads to breakouts. Using too much or the incorrect skincare on sensitive or oily skin, as well as heavy sunscreens, facial hair removal, or hair products that settle on skin can give us acne.
Genetics can also play a large role, as many people are simply predisposed to experiencing breakouts as both youths and adults.
How to Get Clear Skin
For individuals struggling with adult acne, all beauty items—skincare, hair, and makeup products—should be non-comedogenic and/or oil-free. Mild cleansing with lukewarm water no more than twice daily or after workouts is crucial because product overuse or harsh scrubbing can result in inflammation.
The same goes for picking or squeezing blemishes. We must avoid touching the face or other sensitive areas, and always use a light touch when it’s necessary. And however hard, we should reduce stress as much as possible or seek calming techniques to employ during times of stress.
The right skincare for acne is key to clearing it up and preventing future breakouts. This is where quality skincare comes in. FDA-approved skincare is proven to be most effective since it is allowed to be much more concentrated than products that are available in drugstores and department and beauty retailers. They are clinically proven to acutely penetrate the skin’s dermis to reach and treat where acne originates as well as already-existing deeply rooted blemishes that commonly occur with adult-onset acne.
The Best Acne Products for Adults
Adult hormonal acne treatments should contain cleansers, acne-targeted serums, and the right moisturizers to fight acne head-on. Complete systems with ingredients like salicylic, lactic, glycolic, alpha hydroxy, or beta hydroxy acid all work to exfoliate the skin, unclog pores, and decrease sebum production. Benzoyl peroxide, which works to diminish blemish-causing bacteria, is also a great ingredient in acne treatments.
Serums with retinol work at clearing acne as well as the appearance of lines and wrinkles but can also dry out the skin and further encourage breakouts, so they should be incorporated lightly at first and in combination with a good moisturizer.
As adults, we already have plenty of concerns. Revisiting the days of acne-prone skin shouldn’t have to be yet another worry. Fortunately, there are effective skincare solutions to help us regain beautiful, blemish-free skin.