Clear skin

10 Ways to Improve Your Adult Acne

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Adult Acne Under Control!


Yes, Adults Get Acne Too

As you know, I have a long history in skin care.    I have been working in skin care for over 15 years.  A major problem for much of our population at one time or another is acne.  Acne has plagued youth and adults for centuries.  Find out what treatments are available to improve acne and what you can do starting today to fight it!

What is Acne?

Acne involves interactions and reactions involving the sebaceous glands, inflammation, and hormone involvement.   This results on the formation of papules, pustules, open and closed comedones, nodules, and cysts. The psychological effects on acne suffers has been well documented.  These acting lesions can be quite painful. Recent studies have indicated an emerging tie to diet, specifically and inflammatory diet that can no longer be ignored. Effective acne management strategies may include topical, oral medications and procedures may greatly reduce, improve or eradicate acne. In 1967, the zoologist Desmond Morris declared that “Flawless skin is the most universally desired human feature,” explaining the primordial human need to “advertise” health, well being, and fertility with an even-toned, clear, and radiant complexion.

What is Adult Acne?

The majority of studies agree that there are differences in adult onset acne in comparison to the typical presentation of acne in adolescents. In adult women, the acne lesions are predominantly inflammatory, with mild to moderate intensity, tending to be located in the lower third of the face.  The predominance of acne in the frontal and side regions of the face usually is observed in patients who are over 40 years old and those who smoke.

Adult women with acne in their adult life have increased sensitivity of the skin with higher frequency of post- inflammatory erythema, hyper and/or hypopigmentation, and scarring, all of which are cosmetically disfiguring changes. (Rocha, M. A., & Bagatin, E) Acne vulgaris a disease with a strong psychosocial impact, which can lead to the onset of signs and symptoms of depression and anger. (Rocha, M. A., & Bagatin, E)

Acne Treatments

Acne treatment varies with the type of acne and the individual.  This article is for informational purposes only and is not meant to replace an evaluation and treatment recommendation  by a doctor, nurse practitioner or physician assistant.

There are so many treatments for acne out there.  Here is a quick overview of many types of treatments for acne sufferers. 

Hormonal therapies are reserved not only for patients with biochemical markers of hyperandrogenism but also for the severe, resistant cases as well as for those patients who show an unpredictable course and high frequency of acne bouts.

Oral spironolactone has been used in the treatment of acne for over 20 years.  In support of reducing the amount of antibiotic prescriptions for acne, spironolactone has been increasingly used by prescribers.

Topical retinoids are derived from vitamin A.  Prescribed as a first line treatment medication for acne. It can be prescribed alone or in conjunction with other therapies. 

Azelaic acid is a topical prescription medication that acts as a comedolytic, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial.

Topical antibiotics include clindamycin and erythromycin. Topical clindamycin is available in different forms. It can be prescribed as a gel, a lotion or a topical solution. 

Isotretinoin is reserved for severe acne or acne that isn’t responding to other treatments.  It is an oral medication taken over a period of 5-7 months.  In the United States, strict rules must be followed in order to start and continue therapy.

Treatments for Atrophic Scarring (pitted scarring)

Several treatment modalities are available for use in the treatment of atrophic scarring.  Lasers, chemical peels, dermabrasion, microneedling and radiofrequency.  Laser resurfacing usually requires a series of treatments for optimal results.  Patients frequently ask me about the cost of laser treatments.  In my metropolitan area, treatments typically run $650-$800 per treatment.  Usually three to six treatments are recommended for optimal results.  Chemical peels may help lighten the post inflammatory erythema that is experienced after developing an acne lesion.  Many clients will mistake post inflammatory erythema for “scarring”.  If the lesion hasn’t caused atrophy in the skin, the redness may be transient only, which is great news!!  Dermabrasion is done by a physician and involves a sanding-like machine that is much more invasive requiring wound care after treatment.  Microneedling has become popular in recent years.  Personally, I don’t endorse this.  The needles on the roller are for personal use and should not be shared.  Each time the needles penetrate your skin, the needles dull.  Clients have told me that they are on a monthly program where a new roller is auto-shipped monthly.   I highly recommend consulting with a board certified dermatologist to discuss your options.


What Can You Do Today?

Almost daily in my profession I give this advice on acne.  I have had countless people thank me for these simple tips.  Check below for these tips to get you going on the road to clearer skin today!  


A multifaceted approach to acne treatment should be implemented for best results.  Education in medication compliance and proper usage should be reviewed with your provider before starting on any new medications.  Always use a sunscreen and wide brimmed hat if you are in the sun and reapply every two hours when outside.  Remember that even your computer screens can cause some damage to your skin. Reference material and handouts that are easy to understand should be received to increase compliance with your regimen.  Realistic expectations should be emphasized along with expectations for improvement in the condition. Antibiotic resistance has changed the way antibiotics are being prescribed. Acne is best treated with combination therapies in order to minimize the chances of antibiotic resistance to new and currently used medications. Understanding of information and diet in the contribution to acne is being further researched.   In the future, there may be changes to recommendations on eating to minimize or prevent acne.  Prompt and effective treatments are goals that will limit and reduce the amount of scarring.  I hope that your acne improves and if you need help, make an appointment today!

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Rocha, M. A., & Bagatin, E. (2018). Adult-onset acne: prevalence, impact, and management challenges. Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology11, 59–69.


Top tips for improving your complexion today:

  1.   Change your pillow case every two days.  I love these copper and mulberry pillow cases in Queen to help with your skin.  Check it out HERE . Sleep on it one day then turn it over then wash it. 
  2.   Don’t touch your face after washing it and doing your skin care routine.  Don’t touch your face.  I had to say it again because when people come in for consultations with me I see them doing it, I ask them to stop, then they do it again!
  3.  Pin or clip your hair back.  Always.  These clips by Goody are my favorite.  Click HERE The oils on your hair that whip your face create chaos on your skin.  
  4.  Order this set of WASH CLOTHS  from Amazon (United States). They can help get your skin going in the right direction I am never without one.

*This site contains affiliate links to products.  We may receive a small commission for purchases made through these links. 



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