June is Acne Awareness Month, which means it is a great time to review some of my favorite adult acne treatment tips. You can learn more about blemishes in my Skin 101: Acne, How it Starts, How to Treat It post, where I go over how those pimples form and how different active ingredients interrupt that process to help your skin clear up!
As a teenager, I could treat my acne with benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, you name it! All of the active ingredients were my friend (I thought), and while I had some success, overall I didn’t really have clear skin until my early 20’s when my hormones stopped freaking out, and I was no longer beating it up with so many ingredients. While I still experience the occasional blemish now that I’m in my (late) 30’s, I’ve realized that treating adult acne is a whole different ball game than the blemishes of my teen years. And I’ve also realized that my teenage game plan of using every product possible was overkill and probably made things worse.
1. Be gentle
As a teen, I used pretty much every acne treatment that I could. Even if I had 1 problem spot, I would apply my spot treatment to my entire face. I used the products in large amounts, multiple times a day. More is more, right? Not exactly.
It turns out that more products, especially when it comes to acne treatment, often results in dryness and irritation. That in turn can actually give you even more blemishes! Start with gentle products and add in active ingredients that won’t irritate your skin.
Look for non-irritating spot treatments such as PCA SKIN’s Acne Gel, which has 2% Salicylic Acid but is formulated to be used on your entire face or as a spot treatment. It fights current blemishes, prevents new blemishes, and has ingredients to help cut down on oil production throughout the day.
2. Add moisture
If you have acne, then chances are you also have oily skin. And if your skin is oily, then you don’t need moisturizer, right? That’s just one more thing to clog up your skin.
Actually, no. Oil is not hydration, and avoiding moisturizer because your skin is oily is a mistake. Even just a simple lightweight lotion can add enough hydration to your skin to cut down on oil production, your skin is no longer working so hard to hold on to moisture. Less oil production in turn results in fewer clogged pores and fewer blemishes.
One of my favorite moisturizers in acne prone skin is PCA SKIN’s Clearskin, which is a light moisturizer that seems to always know exactly how much hydration my skin needs and not any more. It also works under makeup and has great acne-fighting ingredients!
3. Clear out your pores regularly
As a teen, I loved to use masks on my skin. Clay masks, hydrating masks, and especially peel off masks were great to put on while doing my homework at night.
As an adult it is hard to find the time for intensive treatments like masks or a peel, but the time is definitely well spent! As an adult, I’ve discovered that keep my pores cleaned out regularly makes a really big difference in how my skin looks! I love to use a mask like PCA SKIN’s Purifying Mask, which is a clay mask to draw out impurities in your pores. I use a mask about once a week, but if you don’t have time for that you could also have a professional peel every few months. A peel will clear out your pores as well as exfoliate your skin to even out the tone and texture.
4. Search out new ingredients
Everyone knows about benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid, but there are other ingredients out there to fight acne, and many of them have anti-aging effects as well. Two of my favorite ingredients to fight both acne and aging are Niacinamide, and Retinoids such as Retinyl Palmitate
Niacinamide is a water-soluble vitamin derived from Niacin (vitamin B3). It is non-irritating and soothing. Niacin will fight acne as well as aging! It decreases oil production, decreases the inflammation caused by P. acnes (the bacteria that causes acne), improves skin barrier function and increases skin’s collagen production.
Retinoids are the gold standard of topical treatment for aging, but when it comes to acne they really work! Retinoids will improve skin’s texture, smoothing roughness, dyspigmentation and fine wrinkles. When it comes to acne, Retinoids will help to clean out your pores, increase cell turnover and help even out any hyperpigmentation after blemishes.
Both of these ingredients are found in PCA SKIN’s Clearskin, making it a great option for those with adult acne who also want to treat aging!
5. Give products a chance to work
All too often, we try out new products and if we don’t see the results we hope for immediately, we stop and move on to another product. When it comes to skin care, you should wait at least 6-8 weeks before changing things around. It takes your skin time to see the benefits of the new products. When testing products out for the blog, 8 weeks is the minimum that I’ll use a new product before writing a review, and usually I wait 3-4 months.
6. Consistency is key
Along the same lines, you need to use your products every day. It’s easy to get lazy and skip a few steps here and there… before you know it you’re only washing your face a few times a week and you haven’t used your treatments in a week! Rather than just trying to blast away blemishes with products when they pop up, if you use your treatment products consistently every day you’ll actually prevent those blemishes from every occurring. Which sounds even better.
7. Get professional help!
While a great skin care routine can dramatically help many skin care issues, there are some cases that need a little more help. Adult acne can include deep, cystic blemishes along the jaw line, and because of that you might need to see a dermatologist. Check out PCA SKIN’s site to find a PCA SKIN Certified Professional near you with their locator tool!