One in five adults suffer with acne in their lifetime. Adult acne does not necessarily have any connection to previous teenage acne. The opposite to teenage acne, the skin is usually dry and dehydrated rather than oily. Lots of things can result in adult acne, everything from family history to the contraceptive pill, also lifestyle factors like poor diet, and stress.
I feel writing this blog that as someone who suffered with adult acne (around 7 years ago), that I understand what the reader is going through. I had the occasional spot as a teenager, but I never had bad skin, and it wasn’t until my late twenties that I had acne. I always washed my face with a gentle face wash, or even a soap-free body wash, and hardly moisturised. Suddenly my skin texture completely changed, it was unpredictable, and spots and blackheads crept up my cheeks. It was mostly just along my jaw, and I started to spend large amounts of money on different products. In the past I’d had facials every summer before holidays, but they didn’t involve extractions or light therapy. So going for a ‘medical’ facial wasn’t on my radar (If I could go back in time I would definitely change this, and I’d now have less scars!) I thought laser treatment was for celebrities, and that I’d probably just have to go on acne medication. I was put on Tretinoin for 6 months and it did nothing, in fact I think the antibiotic just wiped out anything good in my gut bacteria, and made my skin worse. The GP was so matter of fact about it, I felt a bit stung by the experience, and sitting in the waiting room with no makeup on was nothing short of horrible. A facial consultation at Remedies is more private. You can arrive with your makeup on, the therapist will assess your skin, tailor a facial to help, recommend your products and reapply makeup so you can leave the clinic feeling confident and .
I also found choosing products overwhelming, and my first piece of advice is, don’t listen to anyone who hasn’t had adult acne or isn’t experienced in treating it. Cosmetic counters will have very limited knowledge of the condition, and won’t be seeing “the whole picture”. You could have products at home that completely cancel out any benefits of the new toner they want you to buy. Don’t listen to your best mate who uses baby wipes, and nappy cream, and has perfect skin. Lucky her! You need a regime, a fail-safe set of products that are going to work just for you, and yes boy,s you are going to need to find the right products too.
Adult acne skin is often dehydrated and dry and your home skincare regime must be customised and balanced. If you find you need a lot of makeup to cover up the acne, you get into a loop of coving the spots, but the coverage causes more spots, so you wear more makeup… The best way out of this is to look for a non-acneic foundation (We like Jane Iredale mineral range) and to make sure you spend a really good amount of time in the evening, getting every trace of it off. Modern formulations are designed to stay on the skin, so you need to make sure you are going to bed with the cleanest skin you can.
First of all though, let’s cover the basics-
- Cleanse twice a day
- Double cleanse in the evening if you have worn makeup or SPF, we love
- Pre-Cleanse by Dermalogica.
- Use a gentle exfoliator daily, no scrubbing.
- Moisturise, something light and oil-free, we like Dermalogica Active Moist.
- Use an SPF to stop pigmentation, if you get too much sun on a spot, the mark afterwards will stay on the skin for longer.
- Try a probiotic if your GP has put you on antibiotics, as they can be harsh on your gut.
- Drink plenty of water, it helps your body function better and your skin will love you for it
- Use clean linen, wash your pillowcases, towels and makeup brushes, it all helps.
- Avoid products containing mineral oil. Look for Oil-free, non-acnegenic and non-comedogenic on the label.
- Don’t use fake tan on the face, it can be irritating to the skin.
- Stay away from fragranced products.
- Don’t squeeze spots. If it is ready on the surface you must use clean hands with tissue wrapped around your fingers, then press and roll gently toward the centre. If you would have to squeeze hard then it’s best left alone.
A poor diet will give you poor skin, and there is a strong belief that many skin conditions are linked to diet and the action of the gut in particular. Sensitivity not necessarily allergy to e.g. dairy products can have a harmful effect on conditions such as eczema. Hence the variety of supplements to support diet and lifestyle, especially if the gut is impaired, this could well help relieve the symptoms of acne. Processed foods along with too much sugar in the diet will aggravate things.
Acne can be dramatically worse when stress levels are high, the stress hormone cortisol and adrenaline increase and the sebum receptors can be affected, causing more spots. Exam time is usually a bad time for skin, and in the clinic we often see more teens struggling with their skin at this time. I have also recently been reading about the immaturity of the skin itself as it changes going through puberty. Excessive sebum production, alongside so many skin cells shedding provides the perfect condition for the acne bacteria to spread. Getting a good nights sleep, eating well and exercising all help to lower stress levels and will help the complexion.
Vitamin A supplements will help to normalise the skins function and regulate oil production. Turmeric can help to reduce the inflammation seen in severe acne cases in particular. Omega oils may help with hormone fluctuations, and we have seen this work well for clients.
If you have any acne-related questions do let me know in the comments box below!