My Treatment Plan for Getting Rid of Adult Acne -- Once and For All

Posted 10/28/10 at 06:53PM by Audrey Fine

Raise your hand if you have more zits now than you did in high school. Mine is sky high.

When I hit 30 it seemed that all the acne I'd managed to dodge as a teen tracked me down and began to wreak havoc on my face. Particularly around my mouth. Lovely.

According to experts, adult acne is most common in women in their 30s. Great. I have pimples and I'm a statistic. The culprit they say is...stress.

Apparently, stress is to blame for all sorts of beauty bummers; zits, hair loss, wrinkles, weight gain -- all the biggies. The way I understand it is, when it comes to adult acne, being stressed makes our adrenal glands kick into overdrive and produce more androgen hormones that, in turn, produce more oil, which causes the inflammation we see in the form of red pustules. (Yuck. Even the word is gross.)

What that means for those of us who don't live on an ashram, is that we need to try and fight stress any way we can. Through meditation, yoga or some type of exercise -- whatever calms us down.

I've also recently embarked on a regimen that's supposed to help clear up my skin. Here it is:

Cleanser: I use Murad Clarifying Cleanser, $35 day and night. It contains salicylic acid, a great acne fighter, and doesn't dry out my skin like others I've tried.

Exfoliant: To increase cell turnover and clear out clogged pores, I'm now using Paula's Choice Exfoliating Treatment, $18.95. And, not just because I saw her on the "Dr. Oz" show and bought into the hype. The product contains eight percent alpha hydroxy acids (the most you can get without a prescription). I've found it to be gentle and not overly-drying.

Moisturizer: I use Olay Professional Pro-X Wrinkle Smoothing Cream, $48, which contains niacinamide to help improve the texture of my skin by sloughing off dead skin cells and encouraging cell turnover. Bonus: It helps fight fine lines and wrinkles too.

Spot treatment: When I get a breakout, I use DDF Benzoyl Peroxide Gel 5% with Tea Tree Oil, $28. The tea tree minimizes inflammation (and makes it seem much more grown up than the Oxy cream I used in 10th grade.)

Bonus tip: Always clean your phone! A friend clued me into this. She said that she keeps Sea Breeze Actives Clear-Pore Pads, $4.79 in her desk drawer and wipes down her cell and work phone every day with them. She swears she has had fewer bumps as a result. Coinky-dink? I think not.

Are you grappling with pimples well beyond your teen years? What's working for you? If nothing, try my regimen on for size. I'm happy to share.

Here are some more tips for fighting adult acne. And, for any other skin issues that're bugging you, try consulting this handy Skin Matrix tool.
And the survey says...
1-6 of 6 Comments

  • Posted by EricaF123 on 12/30/12 at 12:53pm

    Nice tips, thanks

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  • Posted by LipglossandSpandex on 03/26/11 at 05:45pm

    Adult acne is really a downer. I had terrible acne during my college years and even after. Huge painful cysts that started to leave scars. I eventually had to go on Accutane. Ladies, if you're suffering from adult acne, talk to your physician about products that can help. I wish I had started looking into prescription treatments sooner. Fortunately, my skin is pretty clear now, although not completely blemish free. I stick with my Clean & Clear makeup removing wipes, and then follow up with bar soap. Gets my face super clean, and doesn't break the bank.

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  • Posted by Bon_Bon on 02/21/11 at 02:34pm

    awesome! Drug store brand!!

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  • Posted by v0203 on 01/02/11 at 05:56pm

    I'm so glad to see someone else mention Olay's extended line. After reading several message boards I saw someone who swears by Olay's Regenerist Recovery Night Cream (for winter time or when my skin needs some extra TLC) so I tried it and I AM LOVING IT!! I too use Murads Clarifying Wash and alternate with Olay's Total Effects with Blemish Control. spot treat with some BP, but every other night i treat my face with Retin-A gel .025% prescription. Super great tip on cleaning cell phones work phones!

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  • Posted by pynkNymphette on 11/23/10 at 05:05pm

    Fab tip about wiping down your cell phone. If you know it is going to be a long call you should also try to use speaker phone because it gets hot on your skin and starts to make your cheek sweat after awhile.

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  • Posted by kenya on 11/22/10 at 03:08pm

    i hope this works! there are amazing drugstore brands that arent as expensive that u can mention. neutrogena is great

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