How to Clear Adult Acne: 14 Acne Removal Tips and Tricks

Submitted and Medically Reviewed By: Richard Honaker M.D.

Adult acne has become more prevalent in the last 20 years. If you had acne in your teens, it could mean that you have oily skin that’s prone to breakouts. So, you’re most likely to end up with adult acne. You can even still have it even in your 50s until menopause.

Wrinkles joined by adult acne wreaking havoc on your beautiful face will be definitely stressful, which could even add to more skin and health problems. But, don’t panic just yet. Determine what’s causing your skin to have these breakouts. Once you know the reasons, it’ll be easier for you to select acne removal options that will clear up your skin and avoid getting adult acne.

Here are some of the most common causes for getting adult acne:

1. Hormones

Hormone fluctuations right before your menstrual cycles could be one of the main reasons for adult acne. Male hormones called Androgens usually show itself in the form of deep and often painful cystic acne in the chin, neck, and back areas.

How to Clear Adult Acne: 14 Acne Removal Tips and Tricks

2. Stress

Stress plays a big part in creating negative effects on your body, including your precious skin. When your stress levels are high, your adrenal gland produces cortisol to help the body deal with stress and with it, a bit of testosterone leaks out. This male hormone drives your oil glands to produce more oil, which causes more breakouts and makes acne removal more difficult.

3. Pollution

Air pollution, especially from the city, puts a lot of dirt on your face. Try walking around your neighborhood even for just half an hour, and when you get home wipe your face with wipes. You’ll see that much of dark particles have settled on your face.

How to Clear Adult Acne: 14 Acne Removal Tips and Tricks

4. Wrong Products

Having oily or combination skin makes you prone to breakouts. How to clear your acne tips and tricks tell you to choose products that have “oil-free,” “non-comedogenic,” or “water-based” labels. This will make sure that the lotion or cream that you will slather on your skin won’t clog your pores and make things worse. Also try a gel-based moisturizer.

5. Intense Cleansing

Over-washing can actually make your adult acne worse. Cleansing more than twice a day will be too much for your skin and just dry it out. This can provoke your skin to produce more oil to overcompensate and makes acne removal even more difficult. Anything that rubs your skin even to a small extent, will promote adult acne. How to clear your acne tips and tricks say that if you’re using a grainy cleanser, try to replace it with a gentle face wash instead.

How to Clear Adult Acne: 14 Acne Removal Tips and Tricks

6. Food

Foods like chocolates, fried foods, and nuts have always been thought of causing acne. However, there have been no statistically significant studies that have proven that these foods cause adult acne. It would still depend on the person. If you get breakouts when you eat chocolate, then don’t eat it. If not, then go ahead and eat some. The one food that everyone should avoid is iodine. It causes acne in everyone if you have enough of it. It is commonly found in lobsters, shrimps, crabs, and some greens like kelp and spinach. A word of caution, iodine builds up over weeks and months before the effects start to show.

7. Sugar

Sugar raises insulin level and more evidence show that insulin may boost your oil-triggering male hormones and makes it even more difficult for any acne removal treatment. How to clear your acne tips and tricks recommend that you should keep eating low-glycemic foods that have complex carbs like whole grains. They break down slowly in the body, which cause less insulin spikes.

How to Clear Adult Acne: 14 Acne Removal Tips and Tricks

8. Ingredients

The following are tips and tricks of what you should consider in choosing acne removal products:

  • Salicylic acid / Beta-hydroxy acid = exfoliates gently to unclog your pores, and gentle enough to use on your whole face.
  • Benzoyl Peroxide = kills the acne bacteria while exfoliating the pores. It is not that gentle and may cause your skin to become dry and irritated. This is at the top of the lists on how to clear acne. Use this in treating specific spots.
  • Sulfur = removes oil out of your skin and has a drying effect, so it’s great for another spot treatment. This can also be found as active ingredients in some face masks.
  • Glycolic Acid = an alpha-hydroxy acid and an exfoliating ingredient that targets acne and wrinkles at the same time. It removes dead skin cells. How to clear acne tips and tricks suggest that effective exfoliation stimulates collagen and hyaluronic acid that improve skin texture and reduce fine lines, wrinkles, and clear up breakouts.
  • Retinol / Retin-A = a vitamin A derivative that’s converted to retinoic acid after being absorbed by the skin. This is one of the most effective acne removal treatments. It’s also a very effective anti-aging ingredient because it builds collagen. However, they’re harsh on your skin and can be too much for those who have sensitive skin.

9. Exfoliation

Exfoliation is something that everyone should do regularly to fight adult acne because it’s serving double duty by preventing and treating acne.

How to Clear Adult Acne: 14 Acne Removal Tips and Tricks

10. Spot Treatment

Spot Treatment is the most effective acne removal treatment with immediate results. Benzoyl peroxide is the key ingredient for spot treatments. How to clear acne tips and tricks recommend that you just put a dab of it on the trouble spot to dry it out and kill the bacteria.

11. Anti-inflammatory

Choose products that also fights inflammation. Whenever you have breakouts, there will always be swelling and redness that women usually cover up with a concealer.

12. Medications

Since any acne removal topical treatment won’t work at all if you have serious hormonal imbalances, you would have to first fix things internally. How to clear acne tips and tricks state that you should consult your dermatologist about what might work for you in terms of medicines that manipulate hormone levels. Examples of these would be oral contraceptives and spironolactone that helps in minimizing hormonal outbreaks on the chin and lower face.

How to Clear Adult Acne: 14 Acne Removal Tips and Tricks
Related: 5 Effective Adult Acne Solutions for Women

13. No Extraction

Never extract cystic acne on your own. If you prick and prod at that big painful acne, it will leave a scar. This type of acne is painful because any quick expansion on your skin stretches the nerves. How to clear acne tips and tricks suggest that the only way to reduce the size quickly is to drain it, and to do that you would have to get cortisone shots. They are the true acne removal spot treatments for painful cystic acne lesions.

14. Scars and Hyper-Pigmentation

Scars that are indented will need professional treatment, such as laser options, subcision, and microneedling. The brown spots left behind after a pimple goes away can be treated at home if you’re diligent. How to clear acne tips and tricks recommend that you should follow a daily regimen of sunscreen, exfoliation, and application of a bleaching product that could help remove excess pigmentation in the skin.

Make use of these suggestions to keep your skin from getting any unwanted pesky residents and to get proper treatment according to your type of skin. For more Acne fighting tips, tricks, and skin care health medical advice, connect with Dr. Eric Goldberg, a member of our doctor panel.

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Dr. Goldberg’s Bio: Eric R. Goldberg, MD, FACP is Medical Director at the Internal Medicine Associates of NYU Langone Medical Center. After graduating from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH, he attended the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx, NY. After medical school, he completed his Internal Medicine Residency at New York University Medical Center and Bellevue Hospital. Besides his clinical work, Dr. Goldberg is an avid runner and tennis player. He is a member of the Medical Advisory Committee to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, and has run two half marathons with them (and several on his own) raising over $30,000 to help finance research into these devastating illnesses.

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