Are You Still Struggling With Acne But No Longer In Your Teens?

Top Tips for Fighting Adult Acne As we leave our teenage years, we also hope to leave the awkwardness of acne behind too! Red inflamed pustules, oily skin and embarrassing pimples upon pimples are something that adulthood promises to forget! Unfortunately, this is not always the case and acne can persist long after you thought it would be gone. As an extra bonus, when it does recede sometimes what you can be left with after years of fighting these little (or not so little) devils can be almost as bad as the acne itself! Scars, discoloration and uneven skin tone can be a constant worry to post acne sufferers. Often I find that my clients have tried relentlessly over the years to combat recurring acne with abrasive and aggressive treatments, finding that the acne usually reappears with a vengeance and usually leaves behind uneven pitted acne scaring that is almost as difficult to hide.

So, what’s causing the problem?

It’s important to try and determine the cause of the problem to achieve the best results for your skin. This article covers the key causes and what to do to help improve your skin.

  1. Genetics! This may be an obvious one, but an important one none the less. Think about your parents’ skin. Genetics play a monumental part in how our skin will look and act. Unfortunately, if this delightful hand-me-down is part of your family's genetic coding it is a little more difficult to prevent as it is almost inevitable at some time or another. The best thing to do in this case is to keep your skin as healthy as possible so it can recover and repair itself, minimizing the risk of scaring.

  1. Are you on any medication?

Sometimes medication you can be taking for other ailments can make you break out. Cortisones or other anabolic steroids for example can cause breakouts related to taking the medication. Consult your doctor if you think this could be the case.

  1. Could you be using unsuitable or unhygienic products?

Using the correct products for your skin is one of the most important factors, knowing the basic ingredients of the products you use on your skin is crucial in understanding your skins’ reaction. Makeup and hair products can clog the pores and lead to breakouts in the areas of use, look for products labeled Non-Comedogenic as these are designed to NOT block your pores.

Sometimes I ‘spot’ (pardon the pun!) breakouts around the hairline which could come from improper makeup removal or a reaction to a shampoo or conditioner that has not been removed properly.

Think about your hygiene practices and beauty tools… dirty makeup brushes… I'm looking at you! Make up brushes should be washed in an antibacterial cleanser and left to air dry at least once a week, and in-between uses you can use a dry brush cleanser to keep brushes fresh and stop cross contamination from skin to brush and back. My favorite is Jane Irredale Botanical Brush Cleanser.

Look at where on the face has the most break outs. Interestingly it can sometimes be see more prominently on one side of the face. If so, consider these often-overlooked points; how often are you changing your pillow case? This is microbe heaven! Are the breakouts consistent with the side of your face that comes into contact with your phone most often? Is it the side of your face you mostly rest your hand on?

All things to think about if there’s a side of your face more susceptible to breakouts!

  1. What are you currently using on your skin? A lot of clients I see have absolutely abused their skin. Strong astringent products that completely dry out your skin may seem like the right thing to use when, in reality, it is the complete opposite! I can almost put money on the fact that your skin is dry and dehydrated, usually due to the over exfoliation, peels, over cleaning and over squeezing that my clients have attempted in desperation to make some sort of improvement. I do understand your logic, however, if you dry out your skin with all or any of the above! Your skin will produce more sebum (the oil your skin naturally produces to keep your hair and skin moisturized) to lubricant itself. The more you strip your skin, the more sebum it needs to produce. The excess sebum then gets trapped in your pores and under the dry skin you've created and the process repeats, resulting in that volcano sized spot on the side of your face!

This is where we would treat the dryness and dehydration first. A course of intense vitamin therapy facials along with some very gentle peels to remove the dead skin, helps to break the cycle of stripping your skin. By applying an oil (apply oil to already oily, acne covered skin… seriously?!!) you can trick the skin into thinking its producing enough sebum to adequately hydrate itself, therefore, breaking the cycle.

My favorite tried and tested product in this case is Environ’s Vitamin A,C and E Oil.

  1. Hormones!

Hormonal acne is an internal issue, and although you can help to alleviate symptoms, a visit to the doctor should be on the cards. Acne located beneath the cheekbones and along the jawline is often more likely to be related to hormonal issues than acne across the forehead or the bridge of the nose. Hormonal acne tends to be deep, cystic, and sensitive to touch. You may feel a sensation of pain or pressure where you have a pimple even when you’re not touching it, or it might feel painful even with gentle pressure as you wash your face. This kind of acne is likely to leave a scar, especially if you try to relieve the pain by “popping” your pimple. It may not respond at all to topical creams or over-the-counter acne products and can even show signs of being dry or flaky even though you can feel a pimple underneath the surface of the skin.

Even after your doctor, has treated the underlying issue and your breakouts reduce, your skin could be left with some scaring and discoloration.

As chemical peeling, should be avoided for around 6 months after any strong acutane treatment (usually prescribed for this skin issue) I like to carry out a course of Derma Roller. Derma roller is a very effective alternative to treat the scaring and discoloration that can be left over from hormonal acne.

  1. Diet!

Another factor you should consider is your diet and dietary intolerances. Experience has taught me that to have healthy skin on the outside you must be healthy on the inside. Speaking with dieticians and nutritionists to help better determine what could be contributing to your problem skin is a good idea if you suspect this could be the case! It's also sometimes a good idea to have an intolerance test as an aversion to wheat and or dairy can help contribute to an unhealthy body and therefore unhealthy skin. Sorry Ben and Jerry lovers!

So, what would I recommend?

First of all, every persons skin is different and therefore every persons course of action will be different too! To find out what we at The Advanced Skin Clinic can recommend for you, fill out our online consultation and our skin care specialist will get back to you with a personalized plan.

Depending on the client’s skin history, a course of GENTLE peeling and vitamin therapy can be highly effective. I would usually use Environ LACM2 (lactic acid) peel as it not only gently exfoliates the skin but also locks in moisture. It also has an antibacterial effect which helps keep you skin clean. This method is much better than extracting acne, as performed unprofessionally, this can add to the scaring and discoloration.

After you have removed a very superficial layer of the skin it is important and often overlooked by other skincare professionals to replace the vitamins and antioxidants lost in the skin.

I feel it’s important to team any type of peeling with a vitamin treatment. This helps to repair and restore the skin. Vitamin A works extremely well for acne. We use different forms of vitamin A to treat acne. Environs’ step up system allows the skin to normalize and get used to each level of vitamin A before moving the client on to the next level. This helps prevents a retinoid reaction…which is something no one wants!

Acne isn’t always only present on the face. Below are two Environ clients before and after weekly interval peeling and vitamin A treatments. We also provide back and chest treatments.

For the acne scarring, we would implement a course of Derma Roller.

Derma roller, CIT Roller or CIT stamp, works by causing “mini-trauma” to the skin, activating the skin's natural healing process. The new collagen and elastin that is produced helps create brand new healthy skin cells that help to fill out pitted scars or indentations.

After a few treatments, the scar tissue starts to contract and the hyperpigmentation starts to fade.

This procedure also thickens the skin, which naturally makes scars less visible. With continued use most scar tissue is replaced by healthy smooth skin.

The treatment also creates tiny micro channels in the skin to allow better penetration and absorption of the active ingredients. This speeds up results dramatically as it allows the vitamins to work deeper in the skin.

Vitamin C is our secret weapon in scar removal and I recommend the C-quence Energizing masque to use at home to visibly improve the appearance of the skin. We will cover more on derma roller in our next article!

NOTE! Sun screen is an absolute must when having any of our treatments and particularly when treating scaring.


To help find the cause of the problem, think about these key points.

  • Could the problem be genetic?

  • Could your medication be attributing to the breakouts?

  • Could it be down to hygiene?

  • Is it a hormonal issue?

  • Do you have any food intolerances that could be causing breakouts?

Book in to The Advanced skin clinic for more advice and treatment options.

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