Adult acne is on the rise. Somewhere between 40 – 55% of adults suffer from some form of persistent acne according to the Journal of American Academy of Dermatology. Unfortunately, I am one of those people. Having sailed through my teenage years with barely a pimple, I got my first cystic zit at 35. And I am still getting them at 53. I used to say it’s how I knew that god wasn’t a woman. Zits and wrinkles at the same time?! No woman would be that cruel.
What Causes Adult Acne?
The root cause of acne, adult or otherwise, is inflammation. It makes our sebaceous glands go haywire and produce more oil while also opening the door to skin bacteria and yeast. Not a good combination. There are a myriad of things that cause inflammation. A few of the most common are:
- a high carb diet
- whey protein in smoothies & shakes
- hidden hormones in cow based dairy products
- overuse of antibiotics
- changing hormones
So, the first step in battling adult acne is changing what can be changed.
Stress is a killer for the skin in general. It also leads to weight gain, less than fabulous hair, headaches and a lack of sleep. The best thing that I have found to combat stress is exercise. Personally, I love walking, rebounding and rolling out my fascia with a foam roller. Even doing as little as 15 minutes in the morning helps to keep my demons at bay. If that doesn’t work, there’s always EFT, meditating or eating/sniffing something calming like mint. I keep a can of Mintz (no sugar or aspartame) from Trader Joes in my car to chew on when stuck in icky LA traffic. They keep me from going all Incredible Hulk when some idiot cuts me off with only millimeters to spare.
Use Pea Protein, Not Whey
I am not a smoothie drinker, but I am definitely in the minority. If you like your fruits and veggies in a glass, but are finding that your break outs have increased, try switching out your whey powder for pea protein instead. This is particularly important for women. It’s thought that whey upregulates your androgenic hormones (think testosterone) to levels higher than a man’s. This kicks up your sebum production which results in more zits. Yuck!
Products to Combat Adult Acne
In my ongoing battle against adult acne, I have tried what feels like everything. Here is what’s worked. While I never really ate a high carb diet, I did notice a huge improvement in my skin once I did the food sensitivity test and stopped eating (for the most part) those foods. So, changing your diet is definitely a good place to start. If you do not currently take a probiotic, begin today. It will restore balance in your gut and reduce inflammation. I like this one by Jarro-Dophilus.
Since my adult acne is 100% hormone related, there is only so much that I can do. If you are young enough to take the pill, it can help. If you are in menopause, like me, try hormone replacement if your health history allows. In terms of products, these are the ones that have made a real difference:
- Generic for Avar-E LS Cream: This is a prescription, sulfur based cream that I use every morning and evening on my T-zone as a preventative measure. It’s both calming and effective. Just make sure to get the generic. The name brand is about $400 per tube!
- Tretinoin Cream: This 0.5% retinol cream is not just great for combating acne. It also helps to reduce fine lines and wrinkles. It requires a prescription, but is totally worth it. I have sensitive skin and could never use a retinol until this one. It’s made a huge difference.
- Balanceme Congested Skin Serum: The minute that I feel a hard lump forming on my chin (because, let’s me honest, it’s always the friggin chin), I apply this stuff. It’s a 99% natural spot soothing gel that helps kill the zit without killing my skin. I started to spout a pimple the other day that was going to need it’s own zip code. Seriously, it was that big. But this stuff nipped it in the bud. It’s a miracle worker. You can buy it here.
Adult acne is no fun. But making a few pretty easy changes in your diet and lifestyle choices can make a huge difference. And we all feel better when our skin looks better. So, give these tips a go and let me know if they work for you.