Whether it’s a pimple before picture day, a cluster of unsightly blackheads before the homecoming dance, or deep, painful cystic acne through all of sophomore year, most of us had to deal with the frustration of acne as a teenager. As difficult and unpleasant as the experience is, though, you can usually get through it by telling yourself that it’s only temporary and once you get out of those awkward teen years, you’ll have clear, healthy skin.
Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. A growing number of people in their late 20’s, 30s, and even 40’s find themselves dealing with persistent breakouts. In fact, adult acne can often be worse than teen cases because it is more inflammatory and deep-rooted, with pimples and nodules forming beneath the skin. Typically, adult acne affects women more than men, and persistent cases usually develop on the chin, jawline and around the mouth.
There can be several reasons that you’re experiencing acne even if you’ve long passed your 18th birthday. Just as with teens, adult skin can produce an excess of sebum, particularly if you’re experiencing stress at home or work. Stress causes an increase in androgen production, which is a hormone that triggers oil production and can cause sebum to build up. When there’s an excess of sebum, pores can become clogged, allowing bacteria to accumulate and acne to develop.
In fact, hormones often play a role in the development of adult acne. While teens have a reputation for being cauldrons of raging hormones, adults also experience fluctuations in hormone levels – particularly women. It’s not uncommon to break out when hormonal swings occur during your period, but pregnancy and menopause can also trigger hormone-related breakouts. If you take birth control pills that contain only progestins, your hormone levels may be affected and worsen your acne. On the other hand, if you discontinue the use of birth control pills that contain a combination of progestins and estrogen, you may develop acne since the pills can help check breakouts in check.
A history of acne in your family, particularly a parent or sibling who struggles with the problem, can also make you more prone to adult acne. Makeup, skincare and hair care products may play a role too – if they contain oil or other pore-clogging ingredients, they can trigger a breakout.
However, even if you know what’s causing it, the main challenge with adult acne is finding products that effectively treat breakouts without further irritating the skin. Most acne treatment products are designed for teenage skin, which is often more resilient than mature skin. That means the acne cream that you pick up from the drugstore or cosmetics counter may be way too harsh for your skin.
The key is finding products that contain effective acne-fighting ingredients like salicylic acid and tea tree oil but are free of artificial fragrances, dyes and other potential irritants that cause sensitivity and reactions in your skin. The Dermalogica Medibac line definitely fits the bill with products designed to clear current breakouts, minimize future breakouts and control the oil that causes unsightly shine throughout the day.
Start by washing your skin with the Clearing Skin Wash, which contains salicylic acid to exfoliate the pores, anti-bacterial agents like tea tree and eucalyptus to fight pimples, and botanicals like licorice, milk thistle, and bergamont to soothe the skin and prevent future breakouts. During the day, you can follow with the Clearing Mattifier to not only help treat your acne but control shine and smooth your skin’s texture so makeup glides on more easily. In the evening, use the Overnight Clearing Gel after washing to reduce excess sebum, remove pore clogs, and reduce inflammation.
Two to three times a week, treat your skin with the Sebum Clearing Masque, which contains kaolin and betonite clay to purify the pores, remove excess oil, and fight future breakouts. If you have a particularly stubborn spot, dab some of the Concealing Spot Treatment on it. The cream contains sulfur and zinc oxide to clear acne, as well as a slight tint to conceal redness.
To make sure that you always have the acne-fighting products you need, you can also purchase the Dermalogica MediBac Clearing Kit, which contains the Clearing Skin Wash, Sebum Clearing Masque, Clearing Mattifier, Overnight Clearing Gel, and the Concealing Spot Treatment in travel-friendly smaller bottles that you can toss in your carry-on bag, gym bag, or backpack.