Addressing Adult Acne with a Less is More Approach
By Caroline Weller
Teenage acne is predicted - an unfortunate rite of passage that only the lucky avoid. However, adult acne occurs for many people and yet, gets little attention. Adult acne can be particularly frustrating because there is a common misconception that hormones no longer affect post-adolescent skin. However, hormones play a role in skin, which often shows in adults. According to Harvard Health, the top three causes of adult acne are hormones, low-quality skincare, and diet. Let’s break down why these three things cause adult acne and how to use them to your advantage in order to break up with the zits.
The posterchild for acne is a hormonal teenager, so it is no surprise that hormones play the largest role in creating breakouts. Generally speaking, women are more susceptible to adult acne due to the more extreme hormonal changes that occur within the adult female body compared to those of men. Women’s menstrual cycles dictate the production of estrogen and other hormones which often causes the skin to produce more oil leading to clogged pores and acne. Adult hormones are also very volatile due to increased stress levels. Stress raises cortisol which often signals to the skin’s sebaceous glands to create more oil. Of course, it is easier said than done, but it is best to manage stress levels if you are seeking a clearer complexion.
Eating a healthy diet is also key for clear skin. Refined sugars often found in desserts and sodas are a large cause of breakouts. Of course, it is unrealistic and no fun to completely cut refined sugar from your life completely, but it is best to eat less sugar to achieve clearer skin. Fruits and vegetables, which have vitamin C and vitamin A (in its precursor form of beta-carotene), are essential for skin health and should be consumed as a large part of the diet.
Ideally, none of us would have stress or any sugar cravings, so that we could have a perfectly clear complexion. However, this is obviously unrealistic for a multitude of reasons, so this leads us to the skincare shelf. There are so many skincare products on the market that claim to be beneficial for acne, but many of these products actually have cheap chemicals and overly aggressive activators that can contribute to acne rather than curing it. Do your skin a favor and get rid of products with oleic and lauric acids, which is found in coconut oil, because they can block the pores and trap dirt within them. Look for linoleic acid instead because it helps to heal zits. Avoiding parabens, which are preservatives for cosmetics to improve shelf life of products, is also key. Parabens can mimic estrogen and therefore can disrupt hormones and lead to more breakouts.
With adult acne, less is more when it comes to products that treat breakouts. Here is gentle yet effective solutions for dealing with acne prone skin.