It’s easy to associate acne with teenagers, but adult acne is just as prevalent. Showing up on the lower face and jaw, you feel like you should have grown out of bad skin by now? Or that people will think you don’t wash your face properly? (Rolls eyes…) It’s embarrassing, it knocks your confidence, and you just want to cover your face, either with your hands or make-up, which often makes the situation worse. Catch 22. Argh… But, calm. We’re here to help!
It’s first helpful to know the causes of acne. Menstrual cycles are often a trigger, as surging progesterone increases sebum (oil) production. Then there’s stress, something that we’ve all been subjected to over the past year. In addition to cortisol increasing the risk of inflammation, which provokes acne, it also causes your adrenal gland to produce more testosterone which makes skin more prone to spots. Diet also plays a part. When we eat foods that cause our blood sugar levels to rise (think white bread, pasta and sugar), our body responds by producing insulin which is known to send oil production into overdrive. If you hadn't gathered, oil is a prime suspect here.
So what can you do? First thing’s first: assess your routine and ask what’s unnecessary? If you’re using up to 10 products an evening, layering serums upon oils upon mists upon masks, you’ve been watching too many YouTube tutorials. When it comes to combating acne, less is more. It’s the first thing any dermatologist will tell you. After they convince you how important cleansing – and double cleansing – is. Really making sure you get off all the day’s dirt, we recommend Juice Beauty Blemish Clearing Cleanser, £24.
Retinol is considered the gold standard in anti ageing, but a serious multitasker, it’s also brilliant for acne as it unblocks pores and exfoliates the skin. If your acne is serious we recommend seeing a doctor or dermatologist who will prescribe you a prescription retinol called tretinoin. If mild, there are plenty of over-the-counter formulas. Note: as your skin gets used to retinol, it can be dry and flaky. Be patient, it will get better. If however you have seriously sensitive skin, or you haven’t gotten on with retinol in the past, try bakuchiol, a 100% natural retinol that's much more gentle. Find it in Evolve Organic Beauty Bio Retinol, £28.
So that tackles spots determined to disrupt your skin, but what about ones that have already left their mark? Azelaic acid is known to visibly reduce the appearance of scarring, so work Holifrog Galilee Antioxidant Dewy Drop, £46, a restorative serum that's laced with the stuff, into your routine.
Remember, it’s not just skincare you need to be mindful of. Cloaking your skin in heavy and cloying make-up might do a good job of concealing the offending spots, but ultimately, it’ll make them worse. Your skin needs to be able to breathe and this starts with foundation. Look for formulas that are non-comedogenic, which means they don’t block pores. Inika Baked Mineral Foundation, £33, is soft and silky, comes in 12 different shades, and offers medium coverage. Sorted.