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How to Clear Up Bad Skin As an Adult

How to Clear Up Bad Skin As an Adult


Adult acne is a common problem. According to, approximately 25 percent of men and 50 percent of women struggle with this issue. The causes of adult acne are still being studied, but may include stress, hormones and an increase of resistant bacteria. Women are susceptible to acne that occurs before the menstrual cycle. Fortunately, topical and oral medications can clear up bad skin for adults.

Step 1

Use topical treatments to kill skin bacteria. Choose products with the active ingredients lactic acid, salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide or sulfur, recommends Your skin may get increasingly dry and flaky at first, but side effects usually disappear after the first month of use.

Step 2

Visit your dermatologist if adult acne appears to be resistant to over-the-counter treatments. Your dermatologist can prescribe more powerful treatments to get your acne under control. The American Academy of Dermatology provides an online tool to find local dermatologists.

Step 3

Apply prescription topical treatments to breakouts. Other common options for treating adult acne are tretinoin, adapalene or tazarotene creams, according to These creams work by promoting quicker cell turnover, minimizing breakouts. Use the product as directed and contact your physician if you experience side effects, such as irritation, burning or redness.

Step 4

Use antibiotics to treat adult acne. These drugs work by fighting inflammation and reducing acne causing bacteria. Some doctors recommend using antibiotics in conjunction with topical acne medications to clear up breakouts. Take the medication as directed and discuss side effects, like upset stomach or dizziness, with your physician.

Step 5

Take the acne medication isotretinoin for severe cases of adult acne. This medication is usually reserved for cystic acne, which are deep acne lesions, that don't respond to other treatments. Side effects are serious, including birth defects. Women using this drug must use two methods of birth control to pregnant pregnancy.

Step 6

Use contraceptives for hormonal adult acne. Oral medications that contain ethinyl estradiol and norgestimate appear to improve hormonal acne in women, according to Report side effects, such as nausea or depression, to your physician.

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