Many of us have little flaws on our face that we are self-conscious about. Growing up, acne was hardly ever a problem for me. Instead, my cleft chin was referred to as a “Butt chin,” and I over-plucked my bushy eyebrows into sharp, thin lines. I put minimal effort into skin care because I didn’t have the teen acne that many of my friends and sisters suffered from. I never had to use foundation to cover blemishes in my high school days, and I didn’t understand all the hype over skin care systems like Proactiv or the Clinique three-step program. Until now.
Suddenly, adult acne is wreaking havoc on my face.
Wow, how the times have changed for my skin.
My once low-maintenance face has turned into an oily, acne-prone disaster. In the last year, I’ve spent a good amount of time researching possible causes of and cures for my adult acne. I have tried everything from $70 clay masks to $5 Head and Shoulders (according to the internet, this works for some women). Yet each morning, I seem to have a new pimple staring back at me in the mirror.
Adult acne can be caused by many things. Hormones- check. Stress- yep, got some of that. Increased oil production- you don’t say. There are apparently lots of way to try to prevent adult acne from taking over your face and your life. A few of my favorite preventative tips are:
Drink lots of water: when we hydrate our body, it makes sense that we hydrate our skin. This alone hasn’t cleared up my skin, but I think it plays a role in de-clogging my pores.
Cut out diary: I’m not a huge dairy lover, so this was an easy one for me. Studies out of Harvard have shown a positive association between milk and acne in adolescent girls.
Try to manage and reduce stress: stress can lead to inflammation, and boy, there are days when you could call my face “inflamed.” Exercise and breathing exercises work well for me.
There are many more simple lifestyle tips online, as well as information about certain skin care products which may be effective for different skin types. For me, it has not been easy figuring out which skin care regimen keeps my blemishes at bay. There are days when I’m not even sure I have enough foundation to cover all the red spots! Other days, I’ve thought a bag over my head would be less confounding to my coworkers than the situation on my face. And as someone who is normally fairly confident, my self-esteem has taken a hit from adult acne. It certainly doesn’t help when my kids ask why I have “boo-boos” on my face!
So, how do moms combat horrible adult acne?
If you are fortunate enough to know what you are dealing with, hopefully finding a solution for your adult acne isn’t like trying to crack the Da Vinci code. If you are like me, it is a process of trial and error. Luckily, I now have a better idea of which cleansers work well for me and which don’t (I will be skipping the Head and Shoulders as a face wash). I use a cleanser specifically for oily skin, an exfoliating wash 2-3 times per week, and tea tree oil toner. I alternate between a moisturizer with Vitamin E and one that has saw palmetto and mint, which smells amazing! The lifestyle tips above have been helpful in moving towards a clearer complexion naturally. Also, I’ve gotten better at applying makeup, so I can sit in a meeting and not worry that the other person is fixated on my blemishes.
Another suggestion is to visit a skin specialist, like an esthetician or dermatologist. If you are becoming self-conscious about your face, or just battling very persistent acne, they may have more personalized options, or even recommend medical treatment. Personally, I have not tried any medications to target acne, but I have heard many success stories from women who use Retin A. I do plan on scheduling a hydrafacial in the near future though.
And just try to stay positive! Skin changes are all a part of life, and we are beautiful in so many other ways!
(And luckily for me, thick eyebrows are back in style.)