If you think that acne is just for teens, you’re mistaken. Unfortunately, it’s sort of a cruel aging joke that just as we start to worry about wrinkles and keeping our skin looking it’s best, adult acne can happen.
Even if you were lucky enough to have clear skin as teenages, chances are there are things in adult life that will bring on the breakouts.
However, there are steps you can take to help prevent and reduce the chances of adult acne, which is estimated by some studies to impact nearly half of all women in adulthood and about a third of men.
The leading cause of breakout for adult women is a change in hormone levels. That means stopping birth control pills, having a baby, or the onset of menopause can bring on pimples. Another major factor is stress, which can also throw off hormone levels our bodies produce more androgens (a type of hormone). These hormones stimulate the oil glands and hair follicles in the skin, which can lead to acne. In addition, certain medications such as lithium, antiseizure drugs, and corticosteroids, can also cause acne. And sometimes, acne is a sign of an underlying medical condition that once is diagnosed and treated, the acne can clear up.
Here are some tips that can help curb adult onset acne:
- Don’t wash your face more than twice a day
- Use cool or warm water and a gentle cleanser
- Use your hands or a cleansing brush for 30 seconds when washing your face - not a harsh washcloth
- Pat (don't rub) your skin dry
- Choose cleansers that contain benzoyl peroxide to deep clean and fight acne
- Look for skin care products (moisturizer, cleanser, sunscreen) that say non-comedogenic, non-acnegenic and oil-free, so as not to clog pores
There are also some things that you can do with your diet that will help reduce adult acne. Researchers say there is a connection between food and acne. Eating more sugary foods, dairy products, and unhealthy fats, as well as less fish, are more likely to give you moderate to severe acne. Any food with a high glycemic index can increase blood cortisol levels and worsen acne. That includes refined carbs (sweets, breads, and pastas) that can cause your insulin levels to spike, which leads to increased sebum production and clogged pores.
Eating food rich in antioxidants help keep your cells healthy and work towards boosting your immune system, which helps your body fight off internal infections and run at peak performance to flush out toxins.