Let’s face it, no matter your age, acne is never a welcome sight. While most people won’t have acne past their high school years, for some it can stick around until their 30s. Adult acne triggers and treatments are similar to those for adolescent acne. However, changes in hormones, stress levels, diet, and sleep could all be leading culprits for stubborn flare-ups.
Unfortunately, there still isn’t a magic solution to acne. Everybody’s skin is different, and thus lifestyle changes and skin care routines will work better for some than others. And just because a product or solution works for your friend doesn’t mean it will work for you.
Fortunately, there are a number of ways to help prevent acne before it starts and manage it once it does. Read on to learn four ways to deal with adult acne.
1. Find a Routine and Stick With It
Changing your skin care routine regularly might not be right for your skin. Although it can be tempting to try a new product from a commercial, it may do more harm than good. It’s actually best to stick with a consistent acne treatment regimen. Typically, topical skin care treatments can take anywhere from six to eight weeks to be effective. Swapping out a new product or prescription too quickly could lead to more inflammation or redness, prolonging your acne.
Once you have a routine that works, be consistent. Washing your face in the morning after waking up and removing makeup and sunscreen before bed are both good habits. If you’re traveling, be sure to bring all of your skin care necessities with you. It may be a hassle, but your skin will be more appreciative than if you left your products behind.
2. Get Stress Levels in Check
Being in your 30s, you likely have a lot on your plate. You have bills to pay and deadlines to meet, all while juggling your job, family life, and friend relationships. To put it simply, being an adult is stressful. When you’re stressed, your adrenal glands release cortisol, an important hormone in regulating the immune, digestive, and neurological systems. In addition to affecting your overall mood, cortisol can also mess with your skin, leading to conditions like adult acne.
Managing stress effectively can look different for everyone, and some methods may be more enjoyable to you than others. You could try incorporating music into your daily routine to help cope with a lengthy to-do list. Or you may want to add meditation or yoga into your weekly regimen. Journaling and practicing gratitude are also good ways to release stress and feel happier overall. While there’s no guaranteed solution, practicing some of these tactics can help manage your stress and perhaps reduce acne breakouts.
3. Consider Your Environment
The skin can be a very delicate matter. Changes in temperature, humidity, and even water pressure could contribute to acne. While changing where you live may not be practical, taking your environment into account can help you manage your acne. For instance, in major metropolitan areas, air pollution can lead to a buildup of grime on your skin and thus acne flare-ups. The air in your home can also be problematic to your skin.
Wearing a dermatologist-tested, hypoallergenic sunscreen daily can help by providing a protective barrier for your skin. Exfoliating your skin once or twice a week will also help remove buildup. Choosing antioxidant rich products containing natural ingredients or even vitamins and minerals can also be beneficial.
Another option is getting an air purifier for your home to remove pollutants and dust from your everyday environment. Weekly cleaning and dusting can do wonders for your home and your skin, too!
4. Adjust Your Diet
This final tip may be the hardest to swallow (no pun intended). If you’re still eating like you did as a teenager, it’s likely not helping your acne as an adult today. That’s because what you eat influences your skin’s microbiome; that is, the bacteria on the surface of your skin. Food high in carbohydrates and sugar — including processed and fast food — can cause an imbalance in your hormone levels. This imbalance, in turn, can trigger or worsen acne.
Focusing on wholesome foods, like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean protein, can be advantageous for your health and skin. But adjusting your diet is a process and shouldn’t happen overnight. Instead, try one or two new healthful food options each week. For example, swap your sugary breakfast cereal with whole grain oatmeal instead. Small substitutions like this can show your skin some love and make it easier to stick with your healthy changes.
Acne isn’t something anyone wants, but it can be a recurring battle to overcome in your 30s. Fortunately, there are a number of ways you can effectively deal with it. A consistent skin care routine, managing stress, eliminating environmental toxins, and eating healthfully are all ways to handle adult acne.
Remember, your skin is a living organism, so be patient with it. You may not see immediate results, but slow and steady wins the race — or in this case, reduces your acne.
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