Our Top 5 Tips for Managing Adult Acne

After teen years filled with spots ranging from irritating little lumps and bumps to full-blown angry red volcanos; our mid-twenties can often be accompanied by a huge sigh of relief. The days of Clearasil and witch-hazel are finally behind us… right? Well, unfortunately not. More and more of us are experiencing acne well into our late 20s, 30s and even beyond.

There are a lot of factors that can contribute to this, ranging from pollution, stress, side-effects from medication and the wrong skincare, to underlying medical conditions such as hormonal disorders and polycystic ovarian syndrome. It’s not the end of the world, though – we’ve come up with some hints and tips to help prevent and manage breakouts.

Don’t Go Overboard on Skincare Treatments

Cleansing and exfoliating seems like the perfect solution for acne prone skin, but this all depends on how often you’re putting your face through it. Over-cleansing your face will cause your skin to dry out, meaning that it will create more oil to compensate, which is likely to worsen your acne. Over-exfoliating can also cause problems. Exfoliation should be gentle, done with a chemical exfoliant such as glycolic or lactic acid as opposed to manual exfoliants like face cloths and brushes no more than three times a week – any more than this can cause damage to your skin and exacerbate acne.

Check What You’re Putting on Your Face

If you’re finding your skin prone to breakouts, have a look at what you’re putting on your face – whether it’s a foundation, primer or cleansing products. Look for products marked ‘oil-free’, ‘non-comedogenic’, ‘anti-acneic’ or ‘water-based’, as these are less likely to block your pores. If in doubt, patch test! Follow these steps to make sure you’re not going to have a negative reaction to new products, and your skin will thank you:

  • Apply a small amount of the new product to a clean area of skin on the upper forearm.
  • Keep the area dry.
  • If the product is only to be used for a specific length of time (like a face masque or an acid), rinse the product off after this time has passed. Otherwise rinse off after 24 hours.
  • If you experience any irritation from the test patch, do not use the product.

Check for Allergies or Underlying Conditions

So although the link between acne and junk food is quite controversial, if you’re finding your breakouts are timed to whenever you eat a specific food or ingredient, it may be worth checking with your GP to see if your acne could be caused by an underlying allergy. There is also a connection between acne and hormonal disorders such as PCOS – if you’re experiencing acne alongside other symptoms such as excess facial hair growth or irregular periods, then have a chat with your GP.

Change Your Pillowcases and Clean Your Phone

Although you may change your bedding on a regular basis, if you’re having persistent break-outs, your pillow may be the culprit. Even if you’re religious about cleansing before bed, dead skin cells, oil and other nasties can quickly build up on your pillowcase only to be rubbed into your squeaky clean face during the night. Try changing your pillowcase nightly during breakouts to see if things improve.

Another pore-blocking culprit is your phone. The average phone has an average of ten times more bacteria than a toilet seat (yikes), and every time your phone touches your face (or even when you touch the phone and then your face), these bacteria are transferred to your facial skin. Consider cleaning your phone on a regular basis, or even investing in an antimicrobial screen protector.

Take Time To Chill

During times of heightened stress, your cortisol levels rise and trigger the oil glands in your skin to produce more oil which can contribute to acne breakouts (particularly in the T-Zone) – just what you need when you’re on your way to a big presentation or an interview. Of course, skincare treatments are likely going to be your first port of call to reduce the appearance of the breakout, but finding time to chill out and de-stress is just as important. Meditation, exercise and yoga are typical favourites; but journaling, crafts, gardening or even finding time in the day for a short nap or some fresh air can all be ways to reduce stress levels.

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