Believe it or not, adult acne is a very real problem. In fact, according to a 2022 study, 34 per cent of British adults have suffered from acne at some point in their life. And while it tends to go away as you age, around 12 per cent of people still have to deal with it every single day. It can be annoying, frustrating, and at times, kind’ve embarrassing.

But, unlike in your youth when it was all sorts of unpredictable, some techniques can reduce adult acne once and for all. So, we caught up with Alexandra Mills, award-winning skincare expert and founder of AM Aesthetics, to impart some of her knowledge on what to do and what not to do.

What causes adult acne?

“Acne is a common skin condition that affects millions of people worldwide,” says Mills. “It occurs when the hair follicles in your skin become clogged with dead skin cells, excess oil, and dirt. This blockage leads to the formation of pimples, blackheads, whiteheads, and sometimes even cysts or nodules. Acne typically appears on areas of the body that have a higher concentration of oil glands, such as the face, neck, chest, shoulders, and back. It’s most common during adolescence, but can affect people of all ages, including adults.”

Stress is one of the main contributors to it, as it can cause a rise in hormones which stimulate the glands in your skin that secrete oily matter (known as sebum). However, while greasiness can trigger acne, you also have to be careful that you don’t remove too much oil to the point that your skin gets way too dry. It’s a vicious cycle, but stripping it of essential oils will send your glands into overdrive just to bring your skin’s oil levels back into balance.

External elements can also cause adult acne. Chemical-based ingredients found in some grooming products can irritate the skin, and if you’re one of those people who just refuse to apply any sort of sunscreen and you get burnt (which is bound to happen), your body can react with acne in the two weeks following exposure, so stop being silly and slather on that SPF ASAP.

Late nights full of wine and takeaways can also negatively affect your skin, and even if you decide to finally hit the gym, you need to make sure that you stay nice and clean, as sweat can clog your pores and provoke breakouts. And, for those of you out there using steroids to get swole, the unnatural levels of hormones entering your body can have a long-lasting effect, and can increase the difficulty of clearing up your adult acne.

How to get rid of your adult acne

#1: Stop touching your face

In a 2015 paper by the University of New South Wales, it found that, on average, people touch their face around 23 times per hour. It’s something that we all do without even realising (you’re probably doing it right now), and if you suffer from adult acne, it’s a habit that you should probably try and avoid as much as possible.

“Touching your face transfers dirt, oil, and bacteria onto your skin, which can worsen acne,” says Mills. “It can be difficult, but it’s definitely something to bear in mind especially if you want to get rid of it. While we’re on this topic, you should also try to resist the temptation to pick at or pop your pimples, as this can lead to inflammation and scarring, which, in some cases, can be permanent.”

#2: Stick to a routine

We all know how important it is to come up with a solid skincare routine. However, even if you’ve got all of the best cleansers and all the best moisturisers, you need to make sure that you’re actually using them every day. Inconsistencies in your daily regime can make your skin a little confused, which can result in acne.

“Start by cleaning your face twice a day using a gentle cleanser that is suitable for your skin type,” says Mills. “Avoid harsh products that can strip away natural oils and irritate your skin. Follow up with a non-comedogenic moisturiser to keep your skin nice and hydrated.”

#3: Use acne-fighting ingredients

If your skin is prone to adult acne, you probably shouldn’t be using the same skincare products that everyone else is using. Instead, check out some that are infused with acne-fighting ingredients. They may be a little more expensive, but they’re definitely worth it in the long run.

“Look for skincare products that contain effective acne-fighting ingredients such as salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, or retinoids,” says Mills. “Salicylic acid helps unclog pores, benzoyl peroxide kills bacteria, and retinoids promote skin cell turnover. However, it’s important that you introduce these products gradually and monitor your skin for any signs of irritation.”

#4: Manage your stress levels

According to a 2018 report by the Mental Health Foundation, of the 4,619 people who were surveyed, 74 per cent have felt so stressed they have been overwhelmed or unable to cope. Whether it’s your demanding job or something personal, we’ve all been under pressure at some point or another, and this can have detrimental effects on your adult acne.

“As mentioned previously, stress can contribute to hormonal imbalances that exacerbate acne,” says Mills. “Finding healthy ways to manage stress, such as exercise, meditation, or engaging in hobbies, can help minimise its impact on your skin.”

#5: Be mindful of your diet

While the direct relationship between diet and acne is still being researched, some individuals find that certain foods can actually trigger breakouts. If you’re someone who suffers from adult acne, it’s worth paying attention to your own skin and seeing if there is any correlation between what’s on your plate and what’s on your face.

“Consider reducing your intake of processed foods, sugary treats, and excessive dairy, and incorporate more whole grains, fresh fruits, and vegetables, into your diet,” says Mills. “As this 2021 analysis from Harvard Medical School suggests, you should get a total of five servings per day, at least.”

#6: Get professional help

If your acne persists despite your best efforts, consider consulting your GP or a dermatologist. They can assess your specific situation and recommend appropriate prescription medications or treatments tailored to your needs.

“All of this takes a lot of time and a lot patience,” says Mills. “It may take a few weeks or even months to see significant improvements. Be consistent with your routine and give your skin time to adjust to new products or treatments. With the right approach and professional guidance, it’s possible to manage and improve adult acne.”

Source –

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Book a consultation now and ONE OF OUR EXPERT Clinicians can advise you on the best ways to achieve your aesthetic goals.

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