How to treat acne in adults
Learn how to clarify your skin while preventing the signs of premature aging.
- Your skin behaves differently as you age, so you need to treat it differently too
- Regular exfoliation (but not too much!), moisturizing, and high-performing skin care - combined with a healthy lifestyle - can help clear adult acne, smooth skin, and brighten skin tone.
Are you still using the same acne products you relied on as a teenager? They probably don't work like they used to. That's because your skin behaves differently as an adult, so you need to treat it differently to get good results.
Unlike teenagers, adults are also usually concerned about sensitivity, dehydration and pigmentation issues that are common in adults. Because cell turnover slows as we age, adult skin takes longer to heal than teen skin - which means acne scars and redness can linger longer, leading to premature aging.
To get rid of adult acne, you should first focus on reducing chronic stress. Stress is one of the main triggers for acne, as it can stimulate excessive oil production and hormonal fluctuations, and affect the skin's ability to heal.
Second, you should implement a regular skin care regimen that targets the major factors contributing to acne: overactive sebaceous glands (excess oil), cell proliferation (too many dead skin cells), growth of acne-causing bacteria, chronic inflammation, and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. (The latter is the cause of stubborn post-acne blemishes.)
Look for multifunctional products with ingredients like salicylic acid, which helps eliminate dead skin cells; bentonite or kaolin clay, which reduces excess sebum (oil); thymol and terpineol, which help reduce sebum and bacteria that cause breakouts; niacinamide and hexylresorcinol, which help reduce postinflammatory hyperpigmentation; and soothing botanicals like tea tree oil and licorice.
Do you have postinflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) or scarring?It's easy to confuse postinflammatory hyperpigmentation with a scar, but they are very different. Think of PIH as skin tone related and a scar as texture related. PIH leaves a stain that ranges from pink to black. A scar is a raised or recessed area on the skin that results from a loss or overgrowth of tissue. Most PIH can be reduced over time with peels or ingredients such as hexylresorcinol and niacinamide. Scars cannot be adequately reduced or removed by skin care alone.
Be sure to maintain good skin care habits. Although acne differs in teens and adults, both can be reduced by the following habits that contribute to clear skin:
- Clean makeup brushes regularly, wash pillowcases weekly and disinfect cell phones daily to reduce breakout-causing bacteria.
- Avoid ingredients like lanolin, isopropyl myristate (often found in powders), mineral oil (which can prevent skin cells from coming off properly), and fragrance (a common irritant).
- Be careful not to wash your face with hot water, over-exfoliate, or be too aggressive with your skin. Such habits can dry out the skin and trigger inflammation, which can lead to wrinkles.
- Keep the skin hydrated to counteract dehydration, which not only makes fine lines more prominent, but also stimulates excessive oil production by the skin. Avoid habits that clog pores and lead to blockages, such as exercising with makeup and not thoroughly cleansing the skin afterwards.
- Whenever possible, make sure to live a healthy lifestyle. This means getting more sleep, eating a balanced diet, drinking more water, limiting caffeine intake, and not smoking. If you do this, you'll be on your way to clear skin in no time!
Active Clearing is Dermalogica's answer to breakouts and associated signs of premature aging. To find out which products in this system are ideal for your skin, visit a professional Dermalogica skin therapist for a Face Mapping® skin analysis and a personalized product prescription.