Here are a few facts about the acne that plagues adults long after their teen years.
Adult Acne is Not the Same as Teen Acne
Your skin at 13 is very different from your skin at 30. As teenagers, our skin is relatively thick. As we age, our skin thins out and becomes more sensitive to products. Those over-the-counter acne products with 10% benzoyl peroxide or 2% salicylic acid? Great for the 13-year-old, much too harsh for the 30-year-old. The good news is products come in varying strengths. Stick to benzoyl peroxide products in the 2% range and salicylic acid gels, pads and cleansers in the .5% range.
Benzoyl Peroxide, Salicylic Acid and Tea Tree Oils Are Your Biggest Advocates
If you've struggled with adult acne in your lifetime, you likely know about benzoyl peroxide, which kills bacteria, and salicylic acid, which exfoliates your blocked pores while also calming your redness. But you may not know that tea tree oils are also a great natural way to treat acne. They aren't FDA-approved for acne treatments, but they are known for fighting inflammation on the scalp and skin.
Over-exfoliating Skin is Bad, Bad, Bad
Many acne sufferers think the more product the use, the better their skin will get. Stick to one product and follow the directions and you should be good. And stay away from facial scrubs. Even the most gentle ones made from brown sugar can tear at skin. Exfoliators in cream, pads and gel form (hello salicylic acid!) are much better for your pustules and pimples.
This 4-step Treatment Works for Most Acne-Sufferers
You can combine benzoyl peroxide AND salicylic acid products to really clear up acne. The salicylic acid will clear out your pores while the benzoyl peroxide kills the bacteria that has grown within them. Expect results within a month:
Cleanse skin with a mild cleanser or just rinse face with warm water and skip the cleanser, letting your treatment products do their work.
Apply a 3% benzoyl peroxide pad, gel or cleanser.
Apply a .5% salicylic acid pad or gel.
Moisturize. If you strip skin of all its oils, your glands will react by over-producing more oils to compensate. So it's important to keep skin hydrated.