Adult Acne is Real, But Here’s What You Can Do About It

ELYSIAN’s guide to a blemish-free complexion

You might think that once you pass puberty, any traces of the acne that plagued you as a teen will automatically give way to the perfect skin of young adulthood long before you have to start worrying about wrinkles. Right? Unfortunately, for a increasing number of women in their 20s, 30s and beyond, adult acne is an unwelcome reality. Half the women we surveyed between the ages of 20 and 40 reported an occasional pimple, and about a quarter of them indicated that acne is a regular and consistent concern. The genesis might be hormonal, environmental, dietary or genetic, but regardless of the cause, no one should spend their adulthood waiting for their face to clear up. Especially when there are so many treatments available to facilitate your flawless complexion.  

Start by examining your diet, hydration and hygiene habits.

Remember the old adage about getting eight glasses of water a day? There’s something to it. Dehydration can cause pores to clog, leading to the formation of pimples. A diet rich in leafy green vegetables and low glycemic fruits will infuse your body with antioxidants to fight aging and help your skin build the collagen it needs to stay firm.  And if you feel like you want to give Mother Nature a little help, we recommend the Vital Proteins Collagen supplements . It helps feed your epidermis the nutrients it needs, and if you should happen to get a blemish every now and again, collagen supplementation will accelerate healing. Your smooth, supple skin will thank you for it. ($25, sephora.com)

This seems obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people have bad habits when it comes to hygiene, which can lead to breakouts.

Pillowcases should be laundered weekly. Washcloths should be laid out to dry after each use to prevent the proliferation of acne-causing bacteria. Or better yet, try a disposable cleansing pad so you don’t have to worry about any bacteria at all. Neutrogena’s Oil Free Cleansing Pads are infused with Salicylic acid which helps banish breakouts and prevent new ones. ($8.49, walgreens.com)

When you feel something growing under your skin, it’s important to act quickly.

Mario Badescu’s Drying Lotion is a proprietary formula containing Salicylic acid, zinc and sulfur which pulls impurities from the skin and heals pimples overnight. ($17, ulta.com)

The favorite acne treatment for Korean women has developed a cult following among American beauty enthusiasts: the Hydrocolloid Absorbing Patch. 

Put it on overnight to reduce the appearance of a large bump. The patch draws the fluid from a whitehead without breaking the skin (which could cause scarring). It’s also a good way to keep your hands away from picking at a pimple when the regrettable compulsion occurs. ($13, anthropologie.com)

For severe and chronic breakouts, Proactiv’s 3-step system is the best-selling acne treatment of all time, and there’s a good reason for that.

It works. Millions of users have reported significant clearing of their severe and chronic breakouts.  It just takes a little discipline to get in the habit of using all three steps twice a day. ($60, ulta.com)

A good clay masque can help draw impurities from the skin. 

We’ve found that the Aztec Secret Cleansing Bentonite clay masque prepared with Apple Cider Vinegar is more effective than products that are triple the price. Don’t panic if your face starts pulsating as the clay starts drying. That’s just a part of the clay’s magic. ($7.99, target.com)

The brilliant folks at TruSkin have taken note of the rise in adult acne.

And they formulated a special hydrating serum designed to fight blemishes and wrinkles at the same time. And you thought you were the only one? Nope. It’s one of TruSkin’s bestsellers. ($24.79, amazon.com)