Adult Acne: 6 Common Concerns, Answered!


By: , – Dori Katz, Family Circle
  :  17 comments   :  12,986 Views

Acne isn't just a teenage problem. In fact, 25% of women in their 40s and beyond experience breakouts. Banish blemishes for good with our spot-on advice from NYC-based dermatologist Dendy Engelman, M.D.
Is there a right way to wash your face?

Dr. Engelman: Over-cleansing can irritate blemishes and dry out your skin. Wash twice daily with a gentle but effective cleanser that contains 2% salicylic acid. This will lightly exfoliate skin and open up pores, which can prevent future breakouts.

Editor's product pick: Bioré blemish Fighting Ice Cleanser, $8 The tingling, cooling sensation refreshes skin. 

What causes acne, and how can I prevent it?

Dr. Engelman: Whatever your age, breakouts have similar causes. Hormones play a big role: Your body starts producing them during puberty and continues through adulthood, flaring back up in your 40s. Controlling your diet can help. Try to minimize intake of dairy and sugary snacks and drinks, which can worsen acne. Stress is another trigger. To relax, participate in a stress-reducing activity regularly. Exercise, meditation and yoga are good options.

Editor's product pick: DDF Sulfur Therapeutic Mask, $40 Apply once a week to help control oil production and heal breakouts.

Is there a difference between adult and teen acne?

Dr. Engelman: The location of breakouts changes as you get older. Teens frequently have clogged pores and whiteheads in the T-zone and center of the face (nose, cheeks). Women tend to break out at the periphery of the face—on the jaw and neck and along the hairline.

Editor's product pick: Oxy Maximum Action Spot Treatment, $7 Benzoyl peroxide (10%) kills bacteria, and a tint acts as a concealer.

Click here for more ways to treat adult acne from Family Circle.
More from Family Circle:
How do you treat and prevent adult acne? 

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  • 17
    The best thing I ever did for my acne was to stop using products, gentle or otherwise. Nothing but water touches my face now—not even soap—and my skin is no longer red or prone to breakouts. - 3/25/2014   12:11:29 PM
  • 16
    You can scrub your face in sulfur and spend thirty bucks a pop on Proactiv products, but when your hormones decide to give you a face full, there's nothing that will stop it.
    I can reliably predict the length of stay and the amount of baggage that will be dropped on the carpet when Aunt Flo comes to visit based on the severity of the preceding break-outs.
    It's hard lines, though, buying acne products and wrinkle creams in equal amounts.
    - 3/14/2014   9:14:06 AM
  • 15
    As a nearly 40 year old that can still get acne I find most of the acne treatments to harsh. However I have found relief with Dr Manukas Api-clear range it is brillant. - 1/6/2014   12:04:00 AM
    I had flawless skin as a teen. Zits only happened to me a handful of times in high school. Since the birth of my daughter, it's ongoing. I hate it and wish I had just been done with it in my teen years! :/ - 11/7/2013   4:05:37 PM
    I was very disappointed in my late 30's to have my acne return. When my physician told me it was hormones. What works well for me is to cleanse my skin with soap in the am and with make-up remover wipes at night. (I don't wear foundation makeup.) I tried pro-active but it dried out my skin too much. I'm glad I found what is right for me. - 9/24/2013   10:41:22 PM
  • 12
    I have more trouble with acne at 48 than I ever did as a teen! I really never had bad acne growing up, but man, this post-menopausal state that I seem to be in is wicked! - 9/24/2013   8:46:26 PM
  • 11
    I've never stopped getting acne. It's always been on my chin and jaw. The only thing I found that worked was Pro-active, but after a while that stopped working so I gave it up for a few years. But now I've decided to give it a second shot. - 9/24/2013   6:25:26 PM
  • 10
    Anything with Salicylic Acid in it burns my skin - 9/24/2013   3:34:59 PM
  • 9
    Anything with Salicylic Acid in it burns my skin - 9/24/2013   3:34:58 PM
  • 8
    Anything with Salicylic Acid in it burns my skin - 9/24/2013   3:34:58 PM
    That's exactly what I noticed. When I started eating more healthfully and cutting out diet sodas, my skin cleared up ! I was thrilled up until I hit my late 40s and then the flare ups started up again. sheesh ! I'm too old to get acne ! LOL ! - 9/24/2013   12:01:53 PM
  • 6
    I have PCOS and my acne in my 30's and 40's has been terrible. When I went low carb, my acne disappeared. I'm sure it also helps that I drink so much water nowadays. - 9/24/2013   11:35:35 AM
    It's smelly but I'll wash my face once a week with apple cider vinegar. It helps a lot with evening the skin tone. My face is normally dry after a shower and gets oily throughout the day. So after a shower I use some aveno lotion. Then during the day I just use a napkin to wipe my face to remove excess oil (the cheap brown ones work the best). My acne only gets bad on my nose when my allergies are in effect because I'm touching my nose constantly. - 9/24/2013   10:10:53 AM
  • 4
    My worse acne was not in high school but around 30-40. I still break out at 65. I'm going to try these products.

    Thank you Dori Katz and SP! - 9/24/2013   9:17:05 AM
  • 3
    Two words: fish oil. I had severe acne in junior high and had a bit of resurgence as an adult, but as soon as I started taking fish oil for cholesterol, my face surprised me and cleared up significantly. I wouldn't have believed it myself, but whenever I miss a dose of fish oil I break out again. It's about as effective as my acne medication was in high school. If you've tried everything else, it's at least worth giving it a shot. - 9/24/2013   9:14:44 AM
  • 2
    I get a pimple every now and then but nothing to worry about. I just dab some salicylic acid on it and let it run its course. - 9/24/2013   8:48:10 AM
  • 1
    I use that Biore cleanser recommended above; love it!

    For whatever reason, my acne was greatly reduced when I started working out a lot. It had already decreased a bit as I improved my diet, but the change was dramatic when I started running more. I don't know if it's due to sweating so much and promptly cleaning my face in the shower afterwards, or what. - 9/24/2013   8:19:29 AM

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