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Tips on Getting Rid of Adult Acne

Tips on Getting Rid of Adult Acne Tips on Getting Rid of Adult Acne Tips on Getting Rid of Adult Acne

Acne is bad enough when you're a teenager. It's embarrassing and frustrating, but at least you know you'll grow out of it---or you think you will. Unfortunately, acne doesn't always become a thing of the past when you enter adulthood. Two types of acne affect adults: persistent acne, which is simply acne that doesn't clear up by your mid-20s; and late-onset acne, when people who haven't had acne for years, or ever, suddenly see breakouts.

Proper Skin Care

Just as you took care to keep your skin clean as a teenager, you'll want to do the same when dealing with adult acne. Wash your face twice a day using a gentle cleanser. Avoid scrubbing or using harsh cleansers, which will only aggravate acne. Check the ingredients of any cosmetics or moisturizers you use, making sure they are oil-free and labeled "non-comedogenic." Keep your hands away from your face---if you sit at a desk all day, it's easy to find yourself leaning your face on your hands or mindlessly picking at pimples.

Topical Treatments

The same topical ointments you may have used as a teenager are still a good starting point for combating adult acne. Over-the-counter treatments with benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid come in the form of gels, lotions and masks. For mild to moderate acne, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends a solution that combines benzoyl peroxide with a topical antimicrobial such as clindamycin or erythromycin. These solutions require a prescription, and the Mayo Clinic warns they may have side effects such as burning, redness or peeling. Retinoids, such as Retin-A, may also be prescribed for adult acne. Retinoids make the skin very sensitive to sunlight, so use adequate protection when outdoors if you choose this treatment.

Oral Medications

Adult acne is more common in women than men, reports the American Academy of Dermatology, so oral contraceptives are often prescribed to women to combat adult acne. These pills can help combat the hormonal swings that often cause acne outbreaks. For women and men, oral antibiotics can kill bacteria and reduce inflammation.


While there is no evidence that food actually causes acne, the University of Maryland Medical Center suggests that it is possible for food allergies to play a role in adult acne breakouts. Monitor your diet and your symptoms carefully, and if a certain food does seem to trigger an outbreak, avoid it. A low-glycemic diet, which keeps blood sugar under control, may also help control adult acne outbreaks.

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