How To Cope With Acne At Every Age

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Just when you thought you’d left pimply episodes behind with your awkward teenage years, you’re unexpectedly greeted with acne for grown-ups. We all know breakouts are one of the most frustrating skincare woes to experience, so we’ve tapped Los Angeles–based aesthetician Biba de Sousa (who also happens to be Rachel’s go-to skin savior) for the 411 on how to get rid of acne at any stage of adulthood, once and for all.

Imaxtree

Adult Acne 101

WHY YOU'RE BREAKING OUT:

"Primary triggers for acne in your 20s are hormonal activity, poor diet and lifestyle choices, lack of hygiene and using the wrong cosmetics."

HOW TO TREAT IT:

Never go to sleep with makeup on. "Skin must be washed nightly, no exception. People in their 20s tend to stay out late and pass out with makeup, sweat, body salts and environmental pollution on their faces, which results in congestion and breakouts. Use a proper cleanser to thoroughly clean the face, then apply any acne-fighting products."

Find the right exfoliator. "Acne-prone clients must exfoliate more often than others as their pores don't properly shed dead skin cells. The method is determined by severity of acne, skin type and skin condition; for younger clients on the go, I suggest AHA-BHA exfoliating pads that can be used after the gym or for sleepovers or weekend trips. Keep in mind that sun protection is a must when using products with active ingredients—UVA damage is real."

Adopt a healthy diet. "Drink plenty of water and avoid dairy, sugar and foods containing iodine. You're more sensitive to these foods when you're young."

Proactiv+ Emergency Blemish Relief

$35

Amazon

Max Complexion Correction Pads

$40

Peter Thomas Roth

Boscia Purifying Cleansing Gel

$28

Amazon

WHY YOU'RE BREAKING OUT:

"Diet, lifestyle choices and hormonal fluctuations are still triggers in your 30s, along with improper skincare regimens and makeup that contains pore-clogging ingredients. However, stopping birth control is a major culprit, especially if you've been on it for years. It stimulates and subdues certain hormones, keeping breakouts at bay. When you go off it, acne can flare up. High stress is also a factor for women at this age."

HOW TO TREAT IT:

Take care of your gut. "Probiotics play a major role in the improvement of skin health at this age, as depletion of nutrients and ATP [adenosine triphosphate] that started in your 20s is now taking a toll on the body. Healthy skin is greatly connected to gut health, so stay away from foods you are allergic or reactive to. Drinking, smoking and consuming spicy foods cause major skin flare-ups and sensitivities."

Address redness and dark spots. "Women in their 30s start to experience rosacea and hyper-pigmentation, which should be treated with salicylic acid, vitamin C, AHAs and a healthy diet."

Try microcurrent treatments. "A galvanic technology with antibacterial properties, microcurrent is also a healing modality that helps the body repolarize, utilize essential minerals and produce ATP or cellular energy, which makes you feel better and stronger internally."

Probium Probiotics Multi Blend 12B Capsules

$18

Amazon

Essential-C Day Moisture SPF 30

$60

Murad

Blemish and Age Defense

$88

SkinCeuticals

WHY YOU'RE BREAKING OUT:

"The mid-40s bring a surge of hormones, ushering in menopause and causing breakouts along the jawline and neck. High stress, lack of self-care and inadequate sleep also contribute to acne."

HOW TO TREAT IT:

Drink lots of water. "Women at this point are challenged with dehydration, a thinning epidermis, and increased skin sensitivity."

Use a lighter hand. "Vitamins A, B and C are go-to ingredients, along with benzoyl peroxide, zinc and sulfur. Exfoliation has to be light to avoid irritation."

Clearogen Sulfur Acne Lotion

$36

Amazon

Algenist Genius Ultimate Anti-Aging Vitamin C+ Serum

$118

Amazon

Rejuvenate Daily Serum

$149

intraceuticals

WHY YOU'RE BREAKING OUT:

"Acne in your 50s is linked to the fluctuating hormones of perimenopause. It can also be triggered by food and cosmetics. Skin is thinner and more sensitive at this point."

HOW TO TREAT IT: Exfoliate (gently) and heal. "The best options are enzymatic exfoliators, low-percentage trichloroacetic acid peels and vitamin A. Anti-aging vitamins A and C fight acne and heal the skin, reducing redness and dark spots caused by breakouts."

Pro-Heal Serum Advance Plus

$142

iS Clinical

SkinMedica Rejuvenative Moisturizer

$58

Amazon

Indigo Soothing Rice Enzyme Powder

$65

Tatcha

WHY YOU'RE BREAKING OUT:

"Acne in your 60s is rare, and usually due to extremely oily skin, lowered estrogen production, use of certain medications and alcohol consumption."

HOW TO TREAT IT:

Take it easy. "At this age, skin has less ability to heal and renew itself. Over-exfoliation can backfire in the form of accelerating actinic keratosis [rough skin], wounds, dilated capillaries and hyperpigmentation. Use vitamin A for skin-firming, vitamin B and C for healing and 2% salicylic acid solutions for acne."

Truth Serum Collagen Booster

$48

Ole Henriksen

Relieve – Level 1 Vitamin A Serum

$68

Osmosis

AM/PM Spot Treatment

$25

pH Advantage