It’s more common than you’d think for adults to suffer from acne. If ongoing blemishes are a daily struggle for you don’t feel down or hide away. We’re here to help with ways to reduce symptoms of adult acne and get your confidence back on track.

The odd breakout is normal (usually caused by hormones, stress or too much dairy / rich food) but these should disappear in a day or so. The cause of ongoing adult acne is usually hormonal, but other factors can contribute: severe stress or food intolerance (often lactose), poor skincare and simply using the wrong products can all be factors.

We look at the basics, skincare, treatment, makeup and acne-fighting best brands.

Let’s Start With The Basics – A Reminder Never Hurt!

1. Look at your diet. Dr David Lortscher, dermatologist to Vlogger Michelle Phan, regularly sees clients with acne whose diets are too high in foods with a high GI index (eg too sugary) and dairy produce. Acne on the cheeks can be an indicator of food-related issues so keep your diet as clean as possible (reduce processed and sugary food) and keep your dairy intake low. Try to follow this for a 1 month period and see if there’s any change, but be aware of the old ‘it may get worse before it gets better’ rule. If it does though, it’s a good sign you’re on to something…

2. Drink more water. We know, *groan* we’ve heard it before, but stop grumbling and do it! We’re all guilty of this one and how can we expect the liver to clear out toxins when we don’t give it enough water? When skin is hydrated it just works better.

3. Cleanliness. Clean your brushes and beauty tools regularly. Any spot that can be avoided is one spot less. Be aware of how often you touch your face during the day and tie hair back at night so it’s away from your face. Keep bedding clean and turn off the heat at night – sweaty skin that’s pressed against pillows won’t be helping anyone.

Adult Acne: Skincare

1. You may have oily skin (you’ll age slower!) but it’s highly possible you have dry or combination skin. Choose a cleanser based on your skin type as acne-dedicated cleansers may be too harsh. If you’re choosing a skincare range that’s dedicated to blemished skin then make sure it’s for ‘all skin types’.

2. Exfoliate once a week. Once a week is enough, resist the urge to scrub daily as you’ll only inflame the skin and encourage excess oil. The aim here is to remove dead skin and keep pores as clear as possible, routine is the key. Acne loves a warm, damp, closed environment so removing blockages is a great idea.

3. Moisturise daily, even if you have oily skin – skin that’s too dry will try to compensate by producing extra oil. A moisturising gel (best for acne-prone skin) will send a daily message to your pores that everything’s ok. If you’re really suffering from oiliness choose an oil-reducing moisturiser (especially good for guys).

Adult Acne: Treatment

1. Spot-treating pens are a great tool and there are plenty available that really work. Keep them with you and apply as soon as you feel a tingle. At night time, apply a spot clearing gel all over to tackle blemishes while you sleep.

2. For extra skin-clearing and especially to tackle scarring, try a once-monthly home peel. The skin takes 30 days to renew itself so there’s no need to repeat it sooner.

3. Look for creams containing retinol as they encourage cell turnover. This leads to smoother, clearer skin, but try them on a test area first in case they’re too harsh.

Adult Acne: Makeup

Bacteria loves water so a great tip is to change your foundation to mineral powder. Use a blemish balm first for addition acne-fighting then apply powder over the top. Minerals don’t support the bacteria that acne needs to grow, plus mineral foundation gives great coverage to red, inflamed skin and has a beautiful, natural finish.

As with all products, check for the phrase ‘non comodegenic’ as it’s a guarantee it won’t block pores. Other terms to check for are ‘myristyl myristate’ and ‘isopropyl palmitate’ as these will block pores according to Dr Lortscher.

Additional Tips:

Try a daily drink of herbal spearmint tea as it’s a natural anti-androgen that tackles hormones responsible for acne (if you’re female).

Be careful of products containing benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid. Use them sparingly as they may be too drying and make the problem worse.

If you believe your acne is hormone related then do visit a dermatologist or your doctor who can get to the root cause and will be able to prescribe treatment not available over the counter.

Acne-Fighting Brands We Love

Salcura – an ideal range of products for all the family, from cleanser to anti-blemish treatments. PH neutral with no nasty ingredients, it’s affordable with proven results.

Clinique – with a dedicated anti-blemish range for all skin types, Clinique are a science-led brand who test and triple test all of their products. Perfect for adult skin.

Manuka Doctor – a whole range of skincare and treatments for blemished skin, containing purified bee venom. Wonderful for encouraging skin healing as well as fighting spots.

REN Clean Skincare – a fantastic range of 100% plant and mineral based products with clinically proven results. From cleanser to exfoliator, peels and retinoid creams.

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