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Adult Acne: 10 Highly Effective and Proven Solutions For Adult Acne

by Christine GlasgowJune 2, 2017

Often people associate acne with youth and teenage angst. And it’s perfectly true that many a teenager has to spend years dealing with pesky pimples only to find – to their great relief – that the problem goes away once their adolescent hormones calm down as they head into their twenties.

That is not the case for everyone though. For some blowing out the candles on the twentieth birthday cake does not signal a new era of clearer skin, but instead the beginning of a new battle against adult acne, a skin problem that is just as annoying, but different in nature, calling for new treatments and skin care to treat and prevent it.

What is Adult Acne? The truth about adult acne

The acne that adults wrestle with – and not just 20 and 30 somethings but people in their 40s and 50s as well – is officially termed ‘adult onset acne’ by dermatologists. It is more common in women, especially those approaching or going through menopause, but men can be affected too.

Adult acne, like teen acne, can have several different causes, including all of the following:

  • HormonesAdult hormones are as prone to being disrupted as teenage ones are, especially in women. Pregnancy and menopause can be especially disruptive, as can the birth control pills that many adult women take for many years during their 20s and 30s. And, as is the case in teens, these hormonal changes can trigger acne, even if it has never been a problem in the past.


  • Stress – It’s fair to say that the responsibilities of being a ‘grown up’ come along with more than a little stress for most. Career, family and increased financial responsibilities all take their toll on the average adult’s stress levels, and that can lead to a toll on their skin as well.

In fact, many recent research studies have been able to demonstrate a relationship between increased stress and adult acne flare-ups. These studies found that one of the body’s responses to stress is to produce more androgens. These hormones can help provide some natural stress relief but they also stimulate in the oil glands in the skin, leading to problem pimples.

  • Genetics – For some, adult acne appears to be a genetic trait. That means that if your parents were still dealing with acne in their adult years then the chances are increased that you will too, and there is very little you can do about it.


  • Environmental Factors – The environment is none too kind to adult skin. An increase in the number of free radicals in the air – mainly thanks to increased pollution – ages the skin prematurely, drying it out and decreasing its natural healing abilities. Often the body’s response is to increase oil production to the skin to try and reduce the damage, resulting in acne pimples.


  • Poor Diet – Once you are an adult with a full-time job and a family to care for self-care does tend to go out of the window, and that can be especially true of taking the time to ensure that you are eating healthily. After a long day at work it’s far too easy to be tempted by the convenience of the drive thru rather than taking the time to prepare healthier fare at home. And, as most people know realize, a poor diet can really be bad for your skin as well as for your body and overall health in general.


  • Poor Product Choices – Because adult acne is different stuff to adolescent acne it should simply be a matter of common sense that it calls for different treatment. Yet many people stick to the same old products and routines that they made use of in the younger years to fight their acne instead the right acne products, only to find that they simply don’t work anymore.


Lifestyle Changes to Get rid Adult Acne for Good

Before we move onto a discussion about products that may help fight acne effectively we should take a few minutes to discuss the lifestyle changes that can be made that will help as well. If you are suffering with the problem, any or all of these simple everyday tweaks may be a big help.


Eat Better – Yes, we know. Finding the time to eat healthy is not easy, but it is a must. In terms of helping to fight adult acne the addition of the following foods to your everyday diet can be especially effective.


  • Salmon – Salmon is one of the best sources of Omega 3 fatty acids that can be found in common foodstuffs. These ‘good fats’ are great at fighting free radicals, protecting your skin both from acne and fine lines and wrinkles.


  • Spinach – Dark, leafy greens like spinach help the body process excess estrogen more efficiently, helping to balance the hormone imbalances that can cause adult acne. It is also a great source of several vitamins that boost natural collagen production, something that will help reduce the appearance of dark spots and old acne scars.


  • Grass-fed Butter – Yes, research has decided that it is OK to eat butter. And if you are going to, for the sake of your skin it should be grass fed butter. Why? Because all the green stuff the cows donating the milk consume results in higher levels of CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), vitamins A, K2, D, and E, and omega-3 fatty acids, all of which are great acne fighters.


  • Kimchi – Kimchi, for those of you who might not know, is a Korean side dish made using fermented and spiced vegetables like radishes, scallions, garlic and cabbage. Thanks to the fermentation process is contains higher levels of probiotics than most yogurts and, as researchers are discovering, as the probiotics normalize your digestion it’s likely that your skin will improve as well.


  • Reduce Stress – The idea of reducing stress is a tough one too, but again, it’s a must. However busy you are get into the habit of taking a little time for yourself every day. Something as simple as a solo walk in the park or an hour with a great book can provide stress relief that both your skin and your body overall will benefit from greatly.


The Best Products to Fight Adult Acne

As we mentioned earlier, adult acne is different so to combat it you need to consider changing up the products you use to try and do so. Here is a look at some great ones to hunt down and try.


  • Salicylic Acid Cleansers – The benzoyl peroxide that is so effective on younger skin in the fight against acne is often too harsh for use on older skin, causing redness, dryness and sometimes even premature wrinkles. In adults, salicylic acid can be as effective in treating mild to moderate acne but is far gentler on the skin. Great product choices at the drug store include Aveeno Clear Complexion Cream Cleanser and Olay Total Effects Daily Cleanser plus Blemish Control, both facial acne cleansers that are specially formulated to address adult acne.


  • Tea Tree OilTea tree oil is an all-natural acne fighter in general, mainly thanks to its ‘built in’ antibacterial and antiseptic properties. When used to treat adult acne it can also help to reduce redness and inflammation more effectively than other natural acne remedies or treatments as well without adding oil. An increasing number of over the counter acne cleansers, toners and treatments now contain tea tree oil or you can try making your own at home, simply by following this simple ‘recipe’.

What You’ll Need

  • 8 drops tea tree oil – easy to find at health food stores or online
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon filtered water

How It’s Done

  • In a mixing bowl combine tea tree oil, water and vinegar
  • After cleansing your skin, pat the mixture onto the face using clean fingers or cotton balls
  • Do not rinse, but follow up with an oil free moisturizer.
  • Glycolic acids – As the skin ages it becomes less efficient at renewing itself. Glycolic acid has a mild peeling effect that gently removes the top layers of skin, sloughing off dead skin cells and unclogging pores without drying out the skin too much. Most OTC products have a 10% glycolic acid concentration and that’s enough to help treat mild to moderate acne. For those with more severe acne an in-office peel at a dermatologist’s office might be called for.


In Conclusion – With a change of mindset and the right tactics and tools adult acne is a problem that can be treated effectively with relative ease. It does not even need to cost a great deal as the number of effective products especially formulated to treat adult acne is increasing.

Now we’d like to hear from you. What have your experiences with adult acne been like? Have you found any treatments that have been especially helpful to treat and prevent it or How to Get Clear Skin Fast, Overnight and Naturallyclear you skin? Please share, as we are always hoping to learn more about acne and skin care by listening to others!


Christine Glasgow
Canadian girl addicted to beauty and fashion. I'm a Blogger, Entrepreneur and web influencer 👑 I mostly talk about anything related to skin care and beauty. I created this site to share science-based information on skin conditions, treatments and skin care.
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