Adult Acne: The Only Real Ways to Get Rid of It

Beautiful blonde woman hiding face under cover

Don’t hide your acne — treat it. | iStock.com/megaflopp

Acne is one of those things that you might think is only a problem for adolescents. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Acne and breakouts can plague you well into adulthood, and it’s more common than you may think.

Here’s the backstory on acne: Your skin consists of millions of follicles, each containing tiny, almost invisible hairs, and these follicles release a fatty substance called sebum, which is your skin’s natural oil. As long as the sebum flows out of your follicles, then you won’t be privy to acne. Acne occurs when the sebum gets stuck. If it gets stuck below the surface of the skin, it produces a whitehead; if the sebum breaks though the top layer of the skin and comes into contact with oxygen, it turns black and, you guessed it, becomes a blackhead. There’s also folliculitis, which you can mistake for acne when shaving produces an infection of the hair follicle, which is just as unsightly as a clogged pore.

Acne is not dangerous to your health, but it can be a real drag on your confidence. And if you’re suffering from it, you’re certainly not alone. In fact, according to a study from the University of Alabama, quite a few people continue to deal with acne well past their teen years.

Thankfully, acne management and treatment isn’t all that difficult. It might be just as simple as switching up your routine a bit and avoiding some common acne pitfalls (avoiding certain foods, products, etc). Let’s take a look at some of the things you can do to help rid yourself of your pesky blemishes.

1. The first line of defense: Make sure you’re using the right products

A man taking care of his skin

Get the right gear for your skin. | iStock.com

The best way to fight acne is to make sure your skin routine is up to par. The key here: Adding acne products to your everyday grooming routine. First, quickly evaluate what you have going on in your medicine cabinet. Now, it’s time to add an acne treatment cleansing agent. Your choice cleanser should contain either or both salicylic acid and/or benzoyl peroxide — two of the most common active acne-fighting ingredients.

Try Malin+Goetz Acne Treatment, containing salicylic acid, which also works as an exfoliator and anti-inflammatory, unclogging pores and relieving redness. GQ also advises trying a benzoyl peroxide treatment. Using both will give you the best results.

2. Hit it at the source

woman squeezing pimple in front of mirror

WSee a spot? Treat it!| iStock.com

Have a hefty breakout? Hit it at the source and treat the underlying cause of the breakout. This is where sulfur-based spot treatments like Murad Acne Spot Treatment are meant to help the skin shed dead cells, reduce the size of the pores, control sebum production, and dry that baby out to lessen the appearance of acne. It’s easy to carry it with you on the go too.

3. Be careful about what touches your face

Man in bathroom applying cosmetics on his face

Do your best to keep your hands off. | iStock.com

Wearing hats: If you find that your forehead breaks out frequently and you happen to be a hat-wearer, turns out your headgear can be harboring some harmful bacteria and transferring it onto your face. Keep up with your new skin routine, and be sure to wipe down the inside of your helmet with rubbing alcohol after each use and toss your cap into the washing machine once a week to prevent a buildup of bacteria.

Touching your face: Yes, touching your face can cause breakouts. If you’re noticing breakouts on your cheek, you may have a tendency to lean your face in your hands while you work and spread germs from whatever your hand has touched onto your face. Train yourself to keep away from your face, and if you really can’t resist, keep your hands clean by washing regularly or keeping a tube of anti-bacterial handy.

4. Consider cutting dairy

glass of milk next to a glass jug

Glass of milk | iStock.com

You might love milk, cheese, and all things dairy, but those products could be responsible for your acne troubles. Yahoo Health explains dermatologists are increasingly seeing a link between diary consumption and breakouts. It might be worth cutting back to see what happens.

5. Get out of your nasty gym clothes

Sport man wearing T-shirt and sweating

Time to change! | iStock.com

Exercise is great for your body, but lingering sweat can wreak havoc on your skin. According to StyleCaster, perspiration mixes with dead skin cells and bacteria, which can clog pores and lead to blemishes. The solution? Clean up as soon as you can. That means showering, wiping down your face, and getting into fresh clothes.

6. Get a professional opinion

a doctor holding a tablet

When all else fails, see your dermatologist. | iStock.com

So you’ve heeded our advice, done the best you can not to pop your pimples, and you’re still breaking out. It’s time to make an appointment with your dermatologist who will be able to provide you with treatments and prescriptions that over-the-counter products just can’t match.