Uggghh... this is NOT a fun topic. But if you've ever dealt with adult acne, you know it's not only a huge pain in the butt - it is also just plain painful, embarrassing and can really take a toll on your self esteem. There is nothing like having the stress of both a mortgage and teenage-level zits or having kids about ready to get pimples while you are still trying to figure out how to treat yours.
I've been there and I've tried JUST about everything. In the end... the simplest solutions were what I found to work best. So I thought I would do a little post on what has worked for me... even at 37 I can still get some super major break-outs and if you've had the same problem - I feel your pain. In general, I personally don't care for prescription medication. It's a personal choice and one that I have been adamant about for my face as well. I tried some several years ago without much luck and since then I have worked to find my own solution that didn't involve medications with possible side effects. Here's my five tips on how to end adult acne without prescription medication.
1. Drink lemon water. Wha? I know this sounds strange but the science behind lemon water is absolutely fascinating (seriously, google it!) and for me it's REALLY helped clear my skin up. Plus, it has about a million other great effects on your body. It's best when it's done first thing in the morning on an empty stomach - but any time of day is better than not at all. How do I do it? I make a cup of hot water with my Kuerig first thing in the morning and put five drops of (therapeutic grade - don't settle for less!) lemon essential oil in the water and drink. I also put lemon slices in my water bottle to sip on during Pure Barre classes or throughout the day. Or if I've skipped all those I unwind with warm lemon water in the evening. If you have trouble keeping fresh lemons in the house (I'm guilty of this!)... buy several pounds fresh and slice them and freeze them. Then just pull a slice or two out of the freezer whenever you want and plop in your water! So easy!
2. Invest in good skincare products. I'm a huge fan of Beautycounter - but if that's not your thing find a high quality skincare line that will do right by your skin. Ditch the harsh cleansers that dry your skin out - especially if you are in your 30's or older. You need something that will balance your skin and treat it's anti-aging needs at the same time. Ask friends what they like or check out all the great beauty blogs out there for advice. Your gal pal that swears she just splashes water on her face at night and still glows isn't the friend to ask here. Some people can do that... but I can't and if you are reading this article you probably can't either. Invest in the products you put on your face and you won't be disappointed. Your skin will thank you in the long run - I promise! I've also found skin oils to be very beneficial in keeping the right amount of moisture on my face. And if you think "skin oil" sounds scary - I promise it's not! They are great for acne prone skin.
3. Wash your face day and night. This probably goes without saying... but always start the day with a fresh face and always end it with a fresh face. Dirt and makeup can clog pores - duh. And the problem can multiply if you work out with a dirty face first thing or if your pillowcase gets built up with traces of makeup. No matter how tired you are at night, or in the morning for that matter... always get the makeup or night cream from the night before off. I find these wipes are easy to use and work great when traveling or when I'm feeling lazy.
4. Get regular facials. When I started getting regular facials with a trusted aesthetician, I saw a huge improvement in my skin. If you don't know how to find a trusted aesthetician - simply call a trusted dermatologist's office for a referral. Locally I have a dermatologist that has a skin center right inside of it and the two work together. Or many times plastic surgeons offices will offer the services of an aesthetician. I avoid the local salon where the facial gal is also doing massage/hair cuts/nails, but that is a personal decision. I get a facial about once a quarter - or sometimes more often if I feel like I need it. Once you get in a rhythm with facials you will know when it's time. You will feel it on your skin. The extractions can be painful and usually make my face very red and inflamed for a day or less. Then the next day the swelling and redness is almost entirely gone and by two days out my skin looks and feels amazing. Since starting facials I've learned to NEVER pick or pop zits. I leave it to the pros!
5. Find your trigger. It could be sugar, stress, dairy, certain skincare products or even the change of the seasons. I personally have two triggers: dairy and change of seasons (especially winter to spring). I discovered dairy was a trigger for me when I went through a daily Greek yogurt phase about 8 years ago resulting in MAJOR break outs. Then in a fit of amnesia I went through a daily latte phase that ended - no big surprise - in terrible cystic acne for months on end. Then recently I had another huge cystic acne breakout for about two months straight. I couldn't for the life of me figure out why and then one morning when I was taking my probiotic pill (I had recently changed brands) I saw the "Contains Milk" warning on the bottle. Almost immediately after going back to a dairy-free probiotic my skin cleared up. It doesn't mean I'm off dairy 100% - I just make sure that if I have Greek yogurt one day, I lay off the latte or cheese or yogurt the next day. But take note of when you break out and what foods you eat or stress you have and then trust your gut and it will probably lead to what your trigger is. As for the change in seasons, my aesthetician suggested simply taking an antihistamine during the season changes because allergens can affect your face. Good to know! And also another reason why to have a professional you can chat with your skin about on a regular basis.
Now it's your turn... what has worked for your adult acne? Have you ever tried any of these suggestions? I'd love to know!