You probably thought you had moved past the acne phase after your teen years. “You’ll grow out of it,” everybody assured you. But now you’re in your twenties or thirties and still experiencing breakouts…?
You’re not alone. Studies have found that up to 55% of adults aged 20-40 suffer from persistent acne. It’s not just frustrating, it can also have a big impact on your confidence and self-esteem. Understanding adult breakouts is the first step to being able to fight them.
Read on to find out why we still get acne in adulthood and how you can treat your breakouts.
What causes adult acne?
There’s no single cause we can blame for acne, but a major factor for adult women is fluctuating hormones (mainly androgens), which cause an increase in sebum production. This natural oil clogs your pores and traps bacteria inside them, resulting in pimples and breakouts. This is explains why acne is so common during adolescence – our hormones are out of control during puberty.
But it’s not just puberty that causes hormonal fluctuations. Women experience adult breakouts more commonly than men because their hormones change frequently. For example, throughout their monthly cycle, during pregnancy, during menopause, and when using certain birth control methods. It stands to reason that breakouts will become more likely around these events.
As well as hormones, factors such as genetics, stress, hygiene, and some medications can also contribute to adult breakouts.
What are the acne-fighting ingredients to look out for?
If genetics are possibly to blame for your adult breakouts, then you might think there’s no hope. But thankfully, that’s not the case! There are lots of products and preventative measures that can help you manage (and even clear up) your adult acne. It helps to know what ingredients to look for in your skincare products.
#1 – Benzoyl peroxide
Benzoyl peroxide destroys the acne-causing bacteria in and around your pores, helping to clear your spots up faster. Removing the conditions that the bacteria need in order to grow also prevents future growth, making breakouts less likely.
#2 – Salicylic acid
Salicylic acid works to remove debris that clogs pores and causes breakouts. It also helps to reduce the swelling and redness around pimples, as well as the size of the pores during breakouts.
#3 – Glycolic acid
This natural substance effectively exfoliates the skin, shedding dead skin cells, dirt and sebum that can otherwise become trapped in pores along with the bacteria, creating pimples.
Look for topical acne-fighting products containing these ingredients for a triple-action effect against your breakouts. The Proactiv 3 Step Kit targets the acne-causing bacteria, exfoliates your skin, and then moisturises it to keep your skin clear and healthy.
Last but not least, your regular skincare routine plays a very important role in the fight against acne. As well as washing morning and night, you should also resist touching your face and picking spots, as this transfers the natural oils from your hands to your face.
But don’t overcompensate when it comes to hygiene – washing too often or scrubbing too hard can dry out your skin and damage it, making breakouts worse. This is why moisturising is an important part of your acne-fighting ritual. Dry skin triggers an increase in sebum to make up for the lack of moisture, leaving you back at square one.
* This story was brought to you in collaboration with Proactiv.