Not just an afflication of the teenager, acne can cause havoc for so many adults too. Recent studies show an increase in adult acne and that the disease is lasting longer and extending into the mid-forties. Unlike teenage acne, it appears from the data that adult acne mainly affects women.
To be honest I struggled with acne from when I was a teenager until my 37th year and I only just feel like I am on top of it! As a health professional, I often felt embarrassed consulting with patients with a face full of pimples, it definitely got me down at times. It would leave me feeling frustrated and angry when my girlfriends comment ‘jeez, it’s not like you’re a teenager anymore…why are you still getting acne?
What causes adult acne?
The fact of the matter is that there isn’t one singular cause of adult acne, instead there are many contributing factors including hormonal imbalance, skin hygiene, bacteria, sleep, alcohol and stress however studies suggest that adult acne can have an even greater impact on quality of life than that seen in adolescents (1). So what can we do about it? How can we tackle adult acne naturally?
In my experience you need to take a look at your skin hygiene first. I know it sounds strange but I never really realised the importance of a daily skin-cleansing routine. I would often go to bed after a long day at work, with my makeup and all of the day's dirt, grease and pollution still on my face. I would always shower the next morning, but never really clean my skin with anything other than water. This resulted in the slow but consistent buildup of congestion in my pores leading to inflammation and acne.
The best cleansers for acne
I now have a daily skin cleansing routine and I typically switch between a few natural cleansers. My favourite option is our Nourished Daily Acne Cleanse Bar. Formulated with Tea Tree & Rosemary Oils, this solid cleanser not only smells incredible but also works combat acne causing bacteria. Solid cleansers are the latest in sustainable skincare as they are zero-waste, highly concentrated & economical options compared to liquid cleansers. The Purifying Gel Cleanser from Retreatment Botanics will leave your skin looking fresh and feeling soft. Biologi's Bc Refresh Cleanser is the worlds-first single-ingredient cleanser and is made from Soapberry's with naturally occurring amino acids, phenolic acids and amines that help remove dirt and grease as well as assisting with healthy skin barrier function. And my favourite cleanser for acne is the Goji Body & Face Cleansing Oil from Sans [ceuticals] which utilises ancient Japanese knowledge on how oils can break down other oils. These products are designed for sensitive and acne prone skin and work to gently cleanse the skin, ensuring dirt, grease and pollution is removed whilst avoiding any aggravation of inflammation or redness.
The next step I would recommend is taking a look at your current moisturiser. Many cream-type moisturisers will contain some type of wax to hold the ingredients together. Unfortunately these waxes can clog pores and lead to acne. Again, I tend to switch between two products. Sans [ceuticals] Cellular Repair Body + Face Lotion utilises the power of Niacinamide to restore a healthy skin barrier and reduce scarring and inflammation. I have noticed a significant reduction in skin pigmentation & redness since using this product. I also use a facial oil/serum, Activator 7 Oil from Sans [ceuticals]. I know it sounds counter-intuitive to use a facial oil for acne prone skin but this miracle oil acts as an environmental barrier to enable moisture retention and protection from daily dirt and pollutants. It also contains high doses of Vitamin A, an effective acne treatment, decreasing enlarged pores and improving skin texture and tone. The Biologi Serum's are also amazing for acne prone skin. I recommend beginning with the Bf Hydration Serum and once completed moving to the Bd Luminosity Serum.
What else can I do to help my acne?
Skin hygiene is the important first step in tackling adult acne naturally however daily lifestyle habits are also crucial. A few easy changes that can have a drastic effect on your acne include:
+ Don’t touch your face - bacteria that contributes to acne is often spread by touch.
+ Ensure you are sleeping on a clean pillowcase to reduce exposure to bacteria and dirt.
+ Stay hydrated! Flush excess toxins and improve skin hydration by getting 2+L of H20 a day.
+ Don’t smoke - studies show tobacco smokers have a significantly higher rate of acne than non-smokers (2)
+ Reduce your stress - stress has been labeled a significant contributing factor in adult acne (2). Find out more about stress reduction here.
Making these very simple skin hygiene changes, along with a few lifestyle changes have drastically changed the appearance and health of my skin. I have managed to reduce my acne to almost nothing and I can’t tell you how good it feels!
Explore the Acne Skin collection at Nourished.
Read more tips on combatting adult acne and natural acne treatments here.
1. Management of Acne in Women Over 25 Years of Age ,R. Rivera and A. Guerra, https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/a336/392e1d2e8c9cde80c75148d7ec554793f12b.pdf
2. Post‐adolescent acne H. E. Knaggs, E. J. Wood, R. L. Rizer, O. H. Mills, https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-2494.2004.00210.x