Y Magazine

Beauty tips: What to do when zits return

Hit with a fresh crop of blemishes that you thought you’d bid farewell to in your teens? Here are some tips to help put your best face forward when dealing with adult acne.



Acne is mortifying when you’re a teenager but at least you can take comfort in knowing that, in a few years, you’ll never again get a big zit before a big event. Or will you?

Studies show that acne affects more than 50 per cent of women between the ages of 20-29 and more than 25 per cent of women between the ages of 40-49.

Adult acne, like teenage acne, is related to hormones. Teens get acne during puberty, and many adult women experience breakouts linked to their menstrual cycle.

But adult acne and teenage acne may require different treatments. Teenage acne typically affects the T-zone, while adult acne afflicts the jaw area – and, it may be harder to treat.

“Women have drier skin than teens. It’s more sensitive and harder to treat (especially on the jaw), and some women may have difficulty tolerating the more drying over-the-counter topical acne treatments,” says Dr Hilary Baldwin, Associate Professor and Vice-Chairman of the Department of Dermatology at SUNY Downstate in the United States.

Women should talk with their dermatologists about prescription acne treatments and be prepared for what may be an open-ended process. 

“The combination of moisturising and anti-acne can be a tall order so talking with a dermatologist can cut down on the treatment trial and error,” adds Dr Baldwin. 

“I also tell my adult acne patients to cleanse gently, moisturise when you need to, and come and see me so we can find the right treatment.”

Here are some tips to keep in mind to combat the onset of adult acne and help keep you fresh-faced.

The hormone link: In women especially, changes in hormonal levels can trigger outbreaks. If these instances are particularly bad, it might be worth discussing with your dermatologist the benefits of certain drug therapies such as Spironolactone, which inhibits hormones that stimulate the oil glands.

Ditch the carbs: We all know sugar is the enemy, and science has proven its link to acne. Foods with a high glycaemic index –  pasta, rice, and white bread ¬– along with hormone-filled dairy products that can spur on oil-promoting hormones like testosterone, can all lead to a fresh crop of pimples. Consider reducing your intake of these foods or cutting them out of your diet entirely.

De-stress: Easier said than done? Perhaps, but cortisol-boosting stress levels can play a significant contributing factor in adult acne by increasing pore-clogging oils in the skin. So if you’re noticing more spots popping up, ask yourself – is there anything you’re stressing over? If so, identify it so that it can be dealt with in the interests of a happier, healthier you.

Selected sources: newsusa.com