Why You’ve Got It & What To Do About It
Adult acne can seem random, unfair, and can really mess with your confidence, whether you’ve battled with it before or it’s your very first flare up. Before we talk through an effective treatment plan, first things first: it’s important to understand what adult acne is, how it’s different to teenage acne, and what triggers it.
So, What is Adult Acne?
If you’re over 25 and you’re noticing breakouts and inflammation on your chin, around your mouth and jawline, that’s adult acne staring back at you. You may have experienced it as a teenager and it’s flared up again in adulthood or perhaps it never really went away; that’s persistent acne and it tends to be more common in men. Women are more likely to experience what’s known as late-onset acne: breakouts that make their debut in adulthood and they’re often related to hormonal changes.
How is Adult Acne Different to Adolescent Acne?
There are a couple of key differences between the two and they’re important to understand before you start trying to solve the problem. [We’ll get to that in a minute, promise.] Adolescent acne pops up seemingly indiscriminately over the face (across the cheeks, T-zone, hairline, and chin) whereas adult acne tends to be localised to the lower part of the face (on the chin and along the jawline). The other main difference is to do with the amount of oil produced by the skin; teen skin tends to produce more oil than adult skin and it’s of a thicker consistency which contributes to skin becoming easily congested. Adult acne can affect even dry skins (so it’s not all about excess oil production) and it tends to be more inflammatory than teen acne.
So How Do I Get Rid of My Acne?
First things first; if you suffered with acne as a teenager then you might think about approaching it in the same way with astringent, oil-free and mattifying products to soak up and slow down the skin’s oil production. Please don’t; stripping your skin of its natural oils will only stimulate oil production further (ironic huh?) and exacerbate irritation, redness, and inflammation — an important factor in adult acne particularly.
Your two main priorities in dealing with acne are regular but gentle exfoliation and calming inflammation, to not only prevent a bigger breakout but to minimise the risk of permanent scarring. Every skin is unique and we always recommend taking your face to a professional skin therapist or medical professional. In terms of what you can do at home, we’ve come up with a 4-step plan of attack:
1. A Clean Start
Effective cleansing is the foundation of every skin care routine but is never more important than for those dealing with acne. Make sure you’re diligently and thoroughly cleansing your skin twice daily with a cleanser suited to your skin type — anything too harsh or drying will only send inflammation into overdrive. If your skin is sensitised and inflamed, start with our Gentle Cleanser and then, when you feel your skin is stronger, you can incorporate our Glycolic Cleanser 12% a few times a week for a detoxifying clean as the second step in your double cleanse.
2. Exfoliation = Essential
The skin’s natural cellular renewal process slows with age and when dead skin cells build up on the skin’s surface, congestion is inevitable. Chemical exfoliation with an AHA-based cleanser or scrub will be less abrasive than a physical exfoliant. Our Enzymatic Micro Peel is our gentlest option to help remove those expired cells and make way for new ones. To step things up when your skin feels stronger, you can work our Glycolic Scrub 14% into your weekly routine; start off slow by mixing a little in with your Gentle Cleanser.
3. Ease The Inflammation
This will not only help to remove redness, irritation, and discomfort (acne can be painful at times) but to help fast track the healing process and reduce the spread of the flare up. It’s also important to reduce inflammation to prevent permanent scarring of the skin. Our Laser Aid is one of our favourite skin soothers and can be used all over the face as a calming mask or as a target spot treatment to help take the anger out of the acne.
4. Try A Vitamin-A Infusion
Retinol (a Vitamin A derivative) is an effective skin refiner and we’ve seen it work wonders for so many faces frustrated by persistent acne. Essentially it strengthens the skin, an important part of the healing process, and helps to reduce excess oil production and kick the cellular renewal process up a gear. Our best-selling Retinol Serum uses an encapsulated form of Vitamin A to preserve its potency (as Vitamin A is very sensitive to air and light) and we recommend it be used only at night as a corrective serum. The most important thing to know: you need to start slow to help your skin adjust as it’s a highly active, and sometimes reactive, product. We show you how to use it here.