Adult acne, do you have it? If you do, let me begin by saying you’re exactly the same person with, as without acne. You’re beautiful, you’re awesome and you can absolutely be in control of those visiting cystic acne spots. They make no difference to your worth, in fact I personally think you’re even more awesome for adding this one more thing to your To-Conquer list. Kudos!
When adult acne springs, it can leave you scrambling for a plug you just can’t find.
If acne passed you by as a teenager – that plug can be even harder to find.
Dear friend, if adult acne is currently you’re uninvited dinner guest, I have 8 adult acne conquering skincare tips that’ll have your time to leave hints successfully made!
1. Prevent and Treat Your Adult Acne by Exfoliation
Miracles start with the simple stuff ‘eh. If you’re in the midst of adult acne and you don’t have a regular exfoliation step – welcome to your new favourite skincare step my friend.
Exfoliation is a must for acne prone skin because of these 2 reasons;
- Acne causing bacteria breed off your dead skin cells.
- One well known medical symptom of acne is hyperkeratosis, meaning your skin gets thickened and finds it hard to shed.
Shall we re-wind a tad ‘eh?
Let’s start at first place.
Your skin naturally has a host of bacteria. This is super healthy. Heard of good gut bacteria? This is the exact same thing.
When adult acne strikes your skins bacteria colonies are swung away from healthy. Want to meet your culprit? Propionibacterium acnes is it’s name – fancy ‘eh.
If you have adult acne, you’ll have a larger than normal population of Propionibacterium acnes. Want to kick this dinner guest outta town? Simples – send orders to your skin’s kitchen to stop serving up Propionibacterium acnes dream dinner.
One of Propionibacterium acnes favourite foods is your dead skin cells. Your solution – regular exfoliation.
This new exfoliation step of yours will treat adult acne with a double whammy.
Why? Because for all the years scientists have been studying acne, we know one major acne symptom is poor skin exfoliation – or looking at it another way, skin thickening.
Skin thickening means more dead skin cells are able to feed acne causing bacteria and block your pores.
Your solution? You got it! Exfoliation.
2. Salicylic acid Is your Skins new Best Bud
Saaay what? What the heck is salicylic acid? This acne conquering skincare ingredient goes by many names.
If you’ve heard one of these, you’ve heard someone talking about an ingredient like salicylic acid.
Salicylic acid cannot wait to help tackle your adult acne. It’s seriously born to do this.
Remember step no.1? If you’d imagined face scrubs, muslin cloths and spinning brushes, let me introduce you to the world of chemical exfoliants.
BTW – that chemical part is A-OK. Water’s a chemical too ‘eh. All chemical means is salicylic acid doesn’t work physically, rubbing hands are not needed.
Chemical exfoliants are great for adult acne prone skin types because they work on layers of your skin not yet revealed. These liquid solutions go on like a toner. Left to work their wonders salicylic acid gently dissolves the glue that holds your dead skin cells together.
What does that all mean?.. Salicylic acid increases your skins natural exfoliation rate, preventing cystic acne mounds from forming.
- Salicylic acid is an anti-bacterial – bye bye Propionibacterium acnes.
- Out of all chemical exfoliants, salicylic acid is the most oil soluble – it can get right into your pores.
- Salicylic acid has anti-inflammatory benefits – acne is an inflammatory condition.
Salicylic acid treatments come in different strengths. The maximum you’ll find is 2% – it may seem small, but it’s also mighty. Paula’s Choice – CLEAR Extra Strength Anti-Redness Exfoliating Solution With 2% Salicylic Acid, £37/118ml, is my absolute favourite. It has the right blend of actives with the right pH and the right supporting ingredients – in short it’s pretty darn perfect for the job. However The Ordinary’s purse friendly Salicylic Acid 2% Solution, £4.20/30ml is a very close second.
3. Step your Adult Acne Away from the Coconut Oil
Coconut, smokonut. There’s not many places this exotic, palm tree dusting fruit hasn’t found itself recently ‘eh. In protein balls, in frying pans, in your fruit bowl, in the chilled juices aisle and now, in your skincare. In fact, you can get your hands on a 100%, unadulterated jar of coconut oil just for your skin.
If you have adult acne. Step away from the coconut oil skincare.
Don’t use coconut oil for cleansing.
Don’t use coconut oil for fighting acne.
Don’t use coconut oil as a moisturiser.
Phew! The coconut oil facts are confusing and I’m about to completely de-fuzz that for you.
See, coconut oil has many skills and word on the internet is this – coconut oil helps fight acne.
This is a catch 22.
Coconut oil contains around 50% content of an ingredient called Lauric acid. This ingredient has anti-bacterial skills – yup, you got it, that means a wave goodbye to Propionibacterium acnes.
Lauric acid’s also very good at blocking your pores. On the 0-5 scale of pore blocking, Lauric acid and coconut butter earn a 4.
The anti-bacterial benefits of coconut oil are out-weighed by the pore blocking abilities of Lauric acid.
That is so much more than ok because guess what – your new friend salicylic acid is also an anti-bacterial, one that doesn’t block pores. #Winner
Want to ensure there’s no coconut oil a’lurking in your skincare? Head here – ‘Can Coconut Oil cause Breakouts?‘ for step by step savvy on how to tell… including the one, yup there’s just one, exception to the no coconut oil rule.
4. Treat your Adult Acne with the Right Oils
It’s oh so tempting when you’re in the midst of an adult acne breakout to ban all oils from your skincare routine. Your skins already oily, combination – it’s making too much, surely it can’t need more?
This is why oil-free skincare was created.
It’s perfectly logical – your skins making too much, you feel like an oil slick by midday, there ain’t no way your topping up an already boiling brewing pot.
I get it.
It also makes perfect sense when you look at the science – adult acne spot causing bacteria love to dine on nutrients found in your skins oils.
The catch – this method will likely take you on a yo-yo train of dry-oily, dry-oily.
Here’s the secret to know. Your skins working over drive to create more oil because it’s actually deficient in one specific kind. It keeps peddling away trying to make more, only to keep making the kind it doesn’t actually need. You can’t say it’s not trying ‘eh.
If you have adult acne, your skins likely deficient in a type of oil called linoleic fatty acid, also known as an essential fatty acid, also belonging to the omega 6 family of oils.
Linoleic acid is an uber important ingredient that helps your skin to exfoliate properly.
Linoleic acid deficiency helps throw your skin into that fancy sounding state of hyperkeratosis, aka skin thickening, aka blocked pores, aka dinner for spot causing bacteria.
It doesn’t stop there.
Studies have also shown when acne conquerors apply linoleic acid to skin, their acne size and incidence decreases in as short a time scale as 4 weeks.
The right oils will rebalance your oily skin type and treat your acne – who’d have thought ‘eh.
Instead of going oil free, make sure all oils you’re using are linoleic acid high… wondering just which oils those are? Grab my free list of 9 skincare oils highest in linoleic acid, just click here or below to download.
Fancy some linoleic high skincare love? Start you journey down healthy oil street with one of these 3 picks…
- The Ordinary’s 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil, £9/30ml
- Honesty Revive Omega Facial Oil, £22/30ml
- Trilogy Vital Moisturising Cream, £25/50ml
5. Help your Skin Heal with a Zinc based Cream
Adult acne can sometimes feel like you’re trapped in one of those revolving door entrances with just 2 seconds of clear skin between breakouts and healing hyperpigmentation. Ready to run for the exit, before you can get through that revolving windows already moved into your next cycle.
I’ve personally been there! I get your frustration. That’s why I recommend grabbing up a zinc based healing cream.
Zinc is a mineral your skin needs. Zinc is the jigsaw piece that makes your skin whole again – knock a brick out, zinc will heal it back up.
— Cheryl Woodman (@HonestyForSkin) 7 December 2016
It’s also your perfect ingredient if your adult acne sprouts from an oily or combination skin type. Zinc is a mild astringent which means it’ll help shrink up oil secreting glands.
Oh and let’s not forget, zinc grabs a triple whammy as an antiseptic – a skill that helps push spot causing bacteria outta town.
Looking for a zinc based healing cream? Grab a pot of Sudocrem’s Antiseptic Healing Cream, £5/400g, let me warn you, Sudocrem is super thick so it’s best used at night, a little like a sleeping mask.
6. Treat your Adult Acne with a Zinc Supplement
Your skin’s effected by everything you do, that means what you put on the outside and what it gets to feast on from the inside.
Remember we said zinc plays a vital role in your skins healing process? Well, it’ll do that exact same thing from the inside too… with added benefit.
Let me take you on a meander down adult acne lane.
Of all the houses on this lane, there’s just one that has the whole package – the balcony that over looks a water view, the swing seat on the front porch decking, the roof top jacuzzi perfect for champagne and strawberries. No real-estate agent is needed, this house sells itself.
Well my friend, this is exactly like vitamin A’s role in curing your adult acne.
See vitamin A is the only clinically proven cure for acne. It’s tried, tested and proven. It performs.
Look at it from another direction – skin that doesn’t have enough vitamin A or isn’t able to use it, looks setup just right to develop adult acne.
In flies your new-found superhero zinc.
Zinc is vitamin A’s most loved next door neighbour.
If your body doesn’t have zinc, it isn’t able to properly use its supply of vitamin A. Zinc is the hand painted plant pot to your most loved succulent, the glove to your hand, the fuel to your vitamin A Ferrari. Try adding a daily zinc supplement and monitor your results.
7. Cut Down or Cut Out your Dairy Consumption
Make almond milk your breakfast cereals new favourite accompaniment and you may be seeing huge improvements in the reversal of your adult acne.
What going on here? 2 things dear pal…
- Dairy contains inflammatory ingredients – acne is an inflammatory condition.
- Dairy is full of hormones – it’s made to feed up little people till they’re big and strong.
In fact, the nutrients in diary can be so powerful they’ll make babies lactate and cause crops of milk spots to rear.
Dairy contains a type of protein called casein or more specifically A1 casein. It’s this ingredient that can be broken down in your body to make by-products that cause inflammation.
Dairy also contains a big hit of hormones to get baby cows, goats or even camels growing into strong healthy grown-ups. Changes in hormones are a known cause of acne – remember puberty? Try levelling yours with a dairy free month.
8. Prevent Adult Acne with a Low Sugar Diet
Whether your crutch is ice cream, flavoured yogurts or fizzy sweets, your treats could be the cause of your adult acne.
The really crazy part – some health foods could even be your culprit. Yogurt coated raisins, fruit winders or even honey topped treats.
This is why…
The food you eat is the fuel you feed your body. Your body’s ultimate goal is to turn that food into energy that powers up your battery pack. Some foods keep your battery pack releasing energy steadily and others are like a nitro boost giving a whole load of energy real quick.
Sugar is food number 2. Sugar has so much energy available it sends your body into overwhelm. This is the science behind a blood-sugar high.
When your blood sugar spikes, your body releases a hormone called insulin to calm down the party.
When insulin’s released, so too is another hormone called insulin like growth factor or IGF-1 for short.
This change in your body chemistry is linked to;
- An increased incidence & severity of acne.
- Increased sebum production.
- Increased pore size.
All factors that feed the adult acne cystic spot cycle.
Take control of your adult acne by cutting down the sweet stuff and dialing up foods that keep your blood sugar consistent. AKA foods with a low GI – take a peek of this GI food list, even healthy food groups have family members that fit into that high GI bracket, this list will reveal all.
There you have it dear friend. 8 healthy and sustainable ways to take control of your adult acne. Which are you planning to start with? Tell me in the comment’s section below, lets chat…
Cheryl Woodman is a scientist & award winning skincare formulator who is more friend next door than bow tie wearing professor. As creator of Honesty For Your Skin her aim is to help you care for your skin in the best ways possible. She is founder of the natural & fragrance free skincare brand Honesty while also hosting 1 to 1 skincare coaching to help you get your best skin yet. Learn more here at www.HonestyForYourSkin.co.uk/Skin-Coach