*This post contains affiliate links; I also received an Aveeno product. Any products I recommend, I stand behind 100%.
There are many things I am blessed with in my life, but smooth, clear skin is not one of them. For me, I didn’t have skin problems until my college years and am now quite familiar with the horrifying realm of “adult acne.” Why, for some reason, does putting ‘adult’ in front of ‘acne’ make me cringe from the inside out? No matter, I have accepted my skin for what it is, and instead of feeling sorry for myself or hiding out in moments of blemishes, I decided to figure out what works for me.
Before I had my daughter, I could use normal, topical acne spot treatments without any problem – for me, it was the stronger the better. Now, my skin has completely changed. One tiny drop of my old spot treatments, and my entire face breaks out in a hot, splotchy, itchy rash – sure, it’s one way to detract from the blemish, but it’s not a wonderful alternative. After trying various products and regimens, I’ll share what has worked for me.
Adult Acne Treatment
I used to think the more I can dry my blemish out, the better, but that’s not actually the case. Especially with adult acne, you need a careful balance of gently cleaning, treating, drying, and hydrating. Sounds like a bundle of contradiction, doesn’t it? It’s really not that difficult though. Let me share the products that work well for me in terms of effectively diminishing blemishes, shrinking large, cystic pimples, and doing so in a short amount of time.
Adult acne products & regimen
Clean: I start by cleaning my face with The Body Shop Tea Tree Skin Clearing Facial Wash. You may remember this product from other posts, and that’s because it’s my absolute favorite. I like using the whole line, which comes in a kit at Ulta with a wash, toner, and spot treatment. Tea tree oil naturally cleans up your skin, gets rid of yucky bacteria, and helps diminish spots.
Treat: Next, I put on my favorite new treatment from Create Cosmetics: BPT3. I bought this a few months ago when I had some serious cystic bumps – you know, the kind that feel like a marble under your skin. The reviews were all raves, some even saying it cleared up their cystic acne overnight. Thanks to Amazon Prime, I received it the next day.
While it didn’t erase it overnight, I can say it diminished my spots by about 70% in one night. If you have ever suffered with cystic pimples, you’ll understand how incredible that is. This is the first acne treatment that I haven’t had a negative reaction to post-baby and the first treatment that actually quickly and effectively works at my stubborn spots. The main ingredients are Benzoyl Peroxide and tea tree oil, and the other plant-based ingredients are gentle on my skin.
When my skin is pretty clear or I only have a few minor blemishes, I use tea tree oil – just dab it on a cotton ball and either use all over your face (avoiding eyes) or concentrate on your blemishes. Make sure you get 100% pure oils like Radha’s Tea Tree Essential Oil.
Lighten: I have a problem with deep blemishes leaving dark marks, or hyperpigmentation, even long after they’re gone. I use a Vitamin C serum twice a day to lighten these spots and even out my complexion. The two I enjoy most are Toulon’s Vitamin C Serum and TruSkin’s Vitamin C Serum.
Hydrate: While treating adult acne, you don’t want to only focus on drying out your blemishes, because the only thing worse than a big pimple on your face is a big, dry, flaky pimple that you can’t even conceal. Many people stay away from moisturizers for fear they will leave their skin oily or clogged, but that’s not the case. By keeping your skin hydrated, you’ll actually improve your skin; when your skin is dry, your cells are triggered to produce oil in order to hydrate your skin, which will cause breakouts and perpetuate the problem.
My absolute must-have face lotions are both great for every day and night use; I’m not being dramatic when I say I could not live without them: Aveeno Positively Radiant Skin Daily Moisturizer and CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion. I am lucky to work with Aveeno to try out their products and am a loyal user. This lotion evens out your skin tone, which helps with any hyperpigmentation, feels great on your skin, and has SPF in it. I’ve also mentioned my love for CeraVe in my Everyday Skin Routine post – it’s a huge bottle for under $8 that will last forever. It’s fragrance free, lightweight, and creates a smooth base for under makeup. I’m not exaggerating when I say this lotion is perfect – it absorbs quickly and is highly effective for all skin types.
Cystic Acne Tips
Like I mentioned before, cystic acne is the type that develops deep under your skin and feels like a hard little ball. Because of this, it’s SO tempting to try to extract it, but I promise promise promise you, this will do exponentially more harm than good. Please learn from my errors and DO NOT TOUCH. These pimples are formed so deep below the skin, and you’ll know you have one because it’s very painful to the touch. Cystic acne is often caused by hormones, which means for most, there is not much you can to do prevent it. Of course, you should be following a healthy diet, drinking lots of water, and taking care of your skin, but even when you’re doing all of that, cystic acne can develop.
- Hands off: Don’t prolong the breakout – keep your hands off your face. Seriously. It feels so tempting to pick at, and even though it may feel “ready,” I can assure you, it’s not. By trying to extract it, you’ll push the bacteria deeper into your pore and can create a dark reddish/purple bump that’s impossible to cover with makeup.
- Change your pillow cases: Hopefully you’re changing your sheets weekly, but something I always do at the sign of a breakout is to change my pillow cases, which collect sweat, dead skill cells, and all kinds of gross things.
- Clean your makeup brushes: You rub these on your face every day; your makeup brushes are full of skin cells, dust, grime, and bacteria, so clean them! There are so many simple ways to clean your brushes. Here’s how I like to clean mine so they’re minty fresh.
Whenever I have a blemish, my self-esteem instantly plummets. I feel so bad about myself and have even cancelled social engagements to avoid people. However, now that I’ve learned this adult acne routine that works for me and I know how to conceal my spots during these moments, I’m much more confident.
Plus, having a breakout doesn’t make me gross! It means I have hormones that I can’t control. When your skin breaks out, it’s easy to only focus on those marks, feeling like your whole face is taken over. Instead, focus on the clear skin around these marks – chances are, more than 90% of your face is clear, and all of your skin is beautiful. Focus on that.
What are your tips and tricks for treating and coping with adult acne?