How To Stop Adult Acne In Its Tracks

AKA: why am I still getting pimples?!

Of all the beauty myths out there, the idea that your skin miraculously clears the moment you finish high school has to be the biggest.

Pimples have no place on a 27-year-old face, right? Sadly, so wrong.

Rogue spots we can deal with, but persistent flare-ups are another problem entirely. According to dermatologist Dr Jo-Ann See, adult acne is often genetic (sigh), hormonal or stress-induced. But whatever the cause, these are the cures:

1/ Clear out your skincare

First up: ensure everything in your kit is non-comedogenic (i.e. it won’t clog pores). “Consider skincare that won’t exacerbate the condition, such as avoiding heavy or greasy products,” cautions Dr See. Lightweight gel formulas are often best.

RELATED: Is Dairy Actually Bad For Your Skin? 

2/ Get ingredients savvy.

Add these to your acne-fighting arsenal: “Benzoyl peroxide, keratolytics such as salicylic acid, glycolic acid and even azelaic acid,” says Dr See. “These are all available over the counter.” Many women find benzoyl peroxide too drying, where as salicylic and glycolic acids provide a gentler approach. Look for cleansers, serums and spot treatments with these ingredients included and expect to play trial and error until you find the best fit for you.

Spot treatment: Mario Badescu Drying Lotion, $24, Mecca.

3/ Relax your hardcore skincare routine

Sometimes, our skin can suffer from too much of a good thing. Speak to your GP, skin therapist or dermatologist to ensure you aren’t loading up your complexion with too many active ingredients, which can cause irritation and inflammation, and steer clear of harsh exfoliators.

4/ Watch your diet.

While there’s no conclusive proof that food groups like dairy (or chocolate!) give you pimples, Dr See does advise you regulate your sugar intake. “Consider a low GI diet and correction of insulin resistance,” she guides.

Spot treatment: Kiehl’s Breakout Control Targeted Blemish Spot Treatment, $46.

5/ Be sun smart

Sure, we used to equate skin health with a golden glow, but excessive exposure to the sun’s harmful rays doesn’t just lead to premature ageing (not to mention the risk of skin cancer) – it can also exacerbate breakouts. You know the drill: slip, slop, slap.

6/ No touching

“Don’t squeeze and avoid picking to prevent secondary infection,” says Dr See. Bacteria and clear skin do not mix.

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