Of all the things we want our skin to do, breaking out is not on the bucket list. There is nothing more disappointing than waiting until your late teens to finally have clear skin, and then learning the hard way that bad breakouts don’t end there.
Coming to terms with adult acne is difficult. Some of us spend a considerable amount on skincare products with high claims and unsatisfactory results. For others, cosmetic products do work but the results do not last. Whatever your frustration may be, you’re not alone.
Many friends and family, myself included, have experienced random onsets of adult acne. Like other skin conditions, it is essential to identify the cause, manage the triggers, treat the source, and monitor the progress. Let’s take a look and break down these steps.
Identify the Cause: 5 Surprising Causes of Acne in Adults
Hormonal Changes. When your body produces higher than normal levels of androgens (male hormones) such as testosterone, it increases oil production. Excess oil in our skin can clog pores and lead to skin inflammation and pimples.
Food & Diet. Everything healthy starts from your diet. Ever heard of the phrase, “You are what you eat?” This is true in any skincare how-to. Skin impurities result from digestive problems, and taking in the right amount of micro-nutrients and vitamins is great for clear skin. Avoid foods containing simple carbs and sugar and processed ingredients – it raises your insulin level and triggers production of oil-triggering male hormones.
Stress. Stress is a common source of hormonal change. When you are stressed, the adrenal gland produces the stress hormone cortisol, which in turn helps the body manage stress. Sometimes, this process produces a small amount of testosterone, which drives the oil glands to produce more oil and lead to breakouts.
Skincare. If you have oily and combination skin, you should be using oil-free or water-based skincare products to minimize breakouts. Using the wrong products for your skincare type can clog your pores and make matters worse.
Cleansing Routine. Over-washing your face can aggravate your acne. Cleansing your skin more than twice a day can dry out the skin, leading it to produce more oil to overcompensate.
Manage the Triggers & Treat the Source: 4 Simple Home Remedies for Acne That Work
Choose the Right Skincare. Invest in the right skincare for you by reading the ingredients. 5 ingredients to focus on are salicylic acid, benzoyl, sulfur, glycolic acid, and retinol.
- Salicylic Acid gently exfoliates to unclog pores.
- Benzoyl peroxide kills acne bacteria while exfoliating the pores.
- Sulfur draws oil out of pores and has a drying effect.
- Glycolic Acid exfoliates and targets both acne and wrinkles.
- Retinol is a vitamin A derivative, when absorbed in the skin converts to retinoic acid.
Exfoliate Regularly. Exfoliation helps remove the dead skin cells from the uppermost layer of the skin, allowing for fresh skin to resurface. It naturally evens your skin tone, removes impurities such as dirt and oil within pores, and prevents acne. Exfoliate once or twice a week, regularly with a gentle cleanser or exfoliant.
Eat Healthy & Clean. Eat clean, and avoid processed and man-made food. Omega3 fatty acids are great to reduce inflammation, and can be found in walnuts, salmon and soybeans. Opt for natural protein foods such as fish, nuts, white meat, grains like buckwheat, brown rice and quinoa, vegetables like broccoli, tomato and beets. Keep your skin clear and smooth with more intake of fruits and vegetables!
Drink Water. There are many health benefits of drinking water; one of the best is to flush out impurities within the skin. Water cleanses the body and eliminates the toxins and waste. It hydrates the body and removes excess oils and dirt. Drink the recommended 2 liters per day for a brighter skin.
Monitor the Progress: Customize Your Own Plan and Track Your Results
Acne treatment is not an overnight wonder. It is easy to get frustrated when breakouts flare up, but remember it takes time. Monitoring your progress can keep the anxiety at bay and keep you on track.
To make it easier, I recently used MDacne’s new mobile app to customize a plan and track my results. The user interface was friendly and easy to navigate. The customized plan and treatment was by far my favorite feature to use.
Upon first loading the app, you can fill in a questionnaire about your condition and take a selfie to submit for analysis. Based on data from hundreds of acne patients, MDacne‘s algorithm accesses your information and customizes a plan including food and hygiene tips and recommended treatments. As a bonus, it also features a self tracker to monitor progress.
I was surprised how often I referenced MDacne as a source and guide. It was very informative and intuitive to use. If you’re interested in learning more about the app, you can download it here for free.