Combat your adult acne woes

Woman applying a toner
Woman applying a toner

Adult acne can be tough, especially because your skin doesn’t bounce back as easily with age. At the root of all acne is pores that get clogged by dirt, dead skin cells, excess oil and bacteria. Stress, changes in your hormone levels like a period or pregnancy, pollution, using the wrong skin products, cleansing too frequently or intensely as well as genetics are among some of the common causes of adult acne.

With the use of face masks to protect against the spread of the coronavirus, some people have also experienced “maskne”. Dirt, debris, natural oils and dead skin cells can accumulate on your face mask, inviting bacteria that can cause breakouts to linger on your skin.

Here are tips to combat acne:

1. Cleanse your skin twice a day. Use cool to lukewarm water and a gentle cleanser. Use your hands, a soft washcloth or cleansing brush for 30 seconds.

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2. Pat your skin dry. Don’t rub as this can aggravate your breakout. Don’t pick or pop your pimples as this can cause more damage, leaving the skin more inflamed.

3. Use cleansers, serums, body washes, spot treatments and moisturisers. Cleansers will wash away all dirt, grime, make-up and pollution. A good cleanser will also let other products reach your skin and work better.

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4.  Look for products with active ingredients such as salicylic and glycolic acid, which are chemical exfoliants that work their unclogging magic deeper in your oily pores. Products with essential ingredients like aloe vera and tea tree oil have strong anti-bacterial properties, helping to heal acne, clear marks and fight inflammation.

5.  Sweat and oil can also get trapped in when you are covered up in layers of clothing in winter, which can then mix with dead skin and bacteria in your pores and form pimples on your back, arms and chest. Exfoliate your body with a gentle body gel.

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6.  Avoid using harsh soaps as this will strip away the natural oils. Rather use gentle body washes or scrubs with a soothing and anti-inflammatory effect.

7.  Have more than one mask handy, and wash them consistently. Use a fragrance-free and dye-free detergent to avoid triggering breakouts. When you remove the mask, thoroughly wash your face, and apply a hydrating moisturiser.

8.  If your pimples escalate from a few lone bumps to persistent acne, see a dermatologist for more intense treatment.

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Products to try

Clere Oil Control Toner, R20,95

Whether used as a cleanser or toner, this product contains super fruit serum and vitamin B3 to control oil plus reduce dark marks and spots. Suitable for normal to oily skin, it will leave your skin looking radiant and naturally beautiful.

Dermalogica AGE Bright Clearing Serum, R1 200

This active two-in-one serum clears and helps prevent breakouts while reducing visible skin ageing. Salicylic acid reduces breakouts to clear the skin. This highly concentrated serum exfoliates to help prevent breakouts, and accelerates cell turnover to reduce signs of skin ageing.

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Eau Thermale Avène Face & Body Cleanance Gel, R189

Use this soap-free cleansing gel to clean your face and body. It gently removes impurities and excess oils on the skin. It is made with natural thermal spring water for its soothing and anti-irritation properties.

L’ORÉAL Paris Pure Clay Blemish Rescue Clay Mask, R149

Your clearing, unclogging mask with three pure clays combined with marine algae extract, known for its anti-blemish properties. The creamy texture targets deep into the pores to unclog blackheads and clear imperfections. This leaves the skin pure and fresh without drying it out.

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Neutrogena Visibly Clear Spot Proofing Daily Wash, R119,95

A clear gel formula that lathers up to whisk away impurities and fight spots while preserving your skin’s natural defenses. It contains salicylic acid, and is formulated to clear breakouts and prevent future ones.

The Body Shop Tea Tree Targeted Gel, R100

A spot clearing gel made with purifying tea tree oil sustainably sourced from Kenya. It is a targeted treatment that you can apply directly on to your spots and blemishes for clearer-looking skin. It’s also small enough to keep in your bag for any emergencies