Adult Acne and How To Deal With It

By Himshikha Arya

Oh no! Another one! No… pleeaaase go away! What do I do? Do I hide it? Or let it be? What if he notices it? I just want to go into hibernation!
Sigh.. Does this sound familiar? Well I am sure many of us suffering from acne can relate to this. Just when you think that your skin is finally clearing up there is an unwanted visitor resting on your forehead or your cheek or on some other part of your face!

I have had pretty well behaved clear skin throughout my teens with an occasional breakout which never bothered me much. But about a year ago, I had a sudden burst of acne that left me quite disturbed. It was mostly on my cheeks and a few on my forehead. I tried a lot of things, spent a ton of money buying all the fancy products available in the market targeted for acne prone skin, tried all my mom’s remedies one by one every single day. What was the result? No improvement. It was only getting worse. It was such a frustrating time for me.

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But I refused to visit a dermatologist. One, because I did not have cystic acne, it was induced by external factors possibly dust, pollution or certain products I was using. So I was positive the derma would not be able to help me much. Second, I did not want to go on any medication because most of the times when you stop taking those pills the acne tends to come back. I was really looking for a long term acne management plan/regimen rather than a one time solution.

So let me share with you all some lessons I have learnt in my journey so far. Hope you find them useful.

Find the Culprit(S)

Start off with going through your entire skin care and make-up stack, basically products which you put on your face on a regular basis. Try to eliminate suspects by not using a product for an entire week and noticing if that reduces the frequency of breakouts. Do this with one by one with all the suspects and with some trial and error you will be able to figure out the culprits.

A tip: sunscreens, night moisturisers, compacts are easy suspects. It is best to buy products which explicitly say that they are non-comedogenic because they are most probably going to be safe for you.

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Keep it Simple, Silly

Don’t overload your skin with a ton of products. Keep your skincare short and sweet. Many a times we tend to use a whole lot of acne fighting products, all at the same time and end up making a mess of our skin. Use minimal products – cleanser, a good toner and a moisturiser/ sunscreen with some moisturising ability. Give your skin a break from make-up. When I was breaking out I used to try covering it up with a concealer and a compact on a daily basis. And it was making it worse for me. It’s a vicious cycle. You have to break it.

Say No to Home Remedies

One thing I realized during the last one year is that home remedies are not for everyone. Especially if you have sensitive acne prone skin, then stay miles away! Stick to your skincare products and don’t give in to the temptation of using ingredients from your kitchen. They might work for some people who have occasional breakouts, but if you regularly battling with acne, then you should not be indulging in them.

Adult acne and how to deal with it 1

Do Your Research to Find Which Ingredient Suits You

Every person’s skin reacts differently to different ingredients. Do some experimenting to find out which ingredient suits your skin and stick to it. Some people react well to glycolic acid while some to salicylic acid. Personally salicylic acid doesn’t work on me, while my skin loves glycolic acid. Some people react well to benzoyl peroxide as well. So do your research before you try out something.

Different Face Washes for Different Needs

I think realizing this has been the biggest eureka moment for me. We have different skin needs at different times of the day. In the morning we need a gentle face cleanser since our face is pretty clean in the morning, given that you cleansed your face before you went to bed. After a long day’s work you need something more heavy duty but not stripping at the same. Before you go to bed you need something which works on your acne with a specific ingredient.

I use Sebamed cleansing foam in the morning, Kaya cleansing and soothing gel after work to clean the sunscreen and dirt and Glomed face wash which has glycolic acid before I go to bed. A tip: Gently massage face your cleanser at the end of the day for at least 30 seconds for a deep clean.

Don’t Strip, Hydrate

You must have heard this ton of times but it’s true that oily skin requires hydration too. I did not believe this for the longest time and dismissed it. But the key here is to find out a good oil-free non-comedogenic moisturizer which helps in balancing the skin. My second eureka moment happened when I discovered Sebamed clear face care gel. It not only kept my skin looking fresh but it also reduced the oiliness of my skin and I hardly broke out since I have started using it. Seriously, it is a great product. If aloe vera gel suits your skin then stick to that but I tend to breakout from it.

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Keep That Hand Away!

Make hand sanitizer your best friend and stop resting your face on your palm while you are on the PC or watching television. Also change your face towels often.

Close Those Pores

Every time you wash your face, end the rinse by splashing some cold water. It helps in closing up your pores. Also rub ice on any fresh pimple, it will dry it up, heal much faster and reduce the redness to a good extent. I do this every night after I cleanse my face. I don’t breakout as often anymore (touchwood) but I still use ice to close my pores.

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Not Every New Product in the Market is Meant For Your Face

The sooner you accept this truth the better it is for you. Stick to the products which work for you and your skin will thank you for it. Do not torture it by using it as a ground for experimentation.

Check For Any Food Allergies

Many people are unaware of the fact that they are allergic to dairy products. I breakout on my forehead whenever I drink milk, thankfully I have always hated milk. 😛 Some people breakout from sea-food as well. So check it up.

Finally show some patience, products take their time to work. So give your skin some time and space for it to recover. I hope you found my tips helpful! Remember just like anything else, this too shall pass. 🙂


Image Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4

My Experience with Adult Acne – What Worked and What Sucked
Five Home Remedies For Pimples/ Acne
Secret to My Pimple Free Skin
Acne: Types, Causes and Cure
Pimple and Acne Creams that Didn’t Work
VLCC Acne Control Clove Massage Gel
Neutrogena Oil Free Acne Wash
Kaya Skin Clinic Acne Free Purifying Cleanser
Clinique Acne Solutions Liquid Makeup
Green Tea Clay Mask for Oily and Acne-Prone Skin: Do It Yourself
VLCC Acne Care Oil Control Face Wash with Clove and Menthol
Acnemoist – Oil Free Moisturiser for Acne Prone Skin


19 thoughts on “Adult Acne and How To Deal With It

  1. I know how embarrassing it feels walking with a face full of adult acne, because i was suffering from it a few years back…But thank you Himshikha for these tips…I see that I had tried many of these during my time. BTW just a tip to all the adult acne sufferers- try Cipla saslic foaming face wash…I used it when I got acne and it works miraculously 😀

    1. Hi Arpita. I am glad you liked the tips. And yes I have used Saslic too. It has salicylic acid which is why my skin did not love it totally. But yes it is a good face wash otherwise. 🙂

  2. Very helpful article. Most often, articles with such titles are the same thing over and over again but I love that this one is different. And thank you for breaking the myth (atleast for me) which alleges that home remedies are the best!

    1. Hi Paavani. I tried to write the article by bringing in my experiences. Thanks for liking it. And yeah home remedies work well on problem free skin but if you have sensitive skin you should be careful.

    1. Thanks kadambari. yeah acne during teens is usually hormonal and goes away after some time. But adult acne can be perennial in nature so it is more about managing it.

  3. Hi,
    I am a 25yr married girl since an year. My skin is of the combination type. I never had pimples so far, even if i ever had they would be very tiny n not much which bothered. I visited parlors till 2yrs only for hair cut, waxing or threading. From around more than an a year i started going for facials and clean ups as well. Instead my skin getting clean n pampered, i started breaking out. Jus to see if this is the issue with the parlor i visited again for the same purpose n the results were the same. I thought to go for a gud parlor n visited Lakme this time n yet again its the same. This happens usually whenever i go for any clean ups or lacto-bleach or facials, soon after 3-4days i start breaking badly. Its so bad that i get pimples n they leave behind those Ziddi marks which take a very long time to fade. Then i came across these products like “Loreal Paris White Perfect Laser Serum” and “Kaya Brightening Serum”. I must say they really work like Wonders on me. In around a month or so all my marks r gone completely with regular use of these. In case i go for the parlor again for any facial or cleanups, its damn horrible again ya :'(. I always went for just a Cleanup/Fruit facial/Gold facial. I feel that i shouldn’t go for parlors at all. This is so pathetic. I have my cousin’s Wedding, 2 of my friends wedding n an Engagement of my friend as well lined up in Dec and Jan. Wish to go for a gud facial but then very hesitant due to this reason mentioned above. Could you please suggest me some remedy for this? Any daily cream or watever that keeps my skin gud even after the parlor visits. Please do help me on this.

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