Thought those embarrassing breakouts would go the same way of teenage angst and strict curfews? As it turns out, adult acne is becoming increasingly common. According to a recent report from the American Dermatological Association, nearly half of women in their 20s and one in four women in their 30s battles clinical acne.
In many cases, these breakouts are caused by different triggers now than in your teens. “Our skin is an eliminating organ, which often acts up when the body is out of balance,” says Tammy Fender, an aesthetician and the founder of Tammy Fender Holistic Skin Care. “So we may need to make a few changes with our emotions, diet, or lifestyle.” Ready to finally give those blemishes the boot? Start with these simple changes so you can finally get that clear, glowing complexion:
Healthy Skin Step No. 1: Eat more fruits and veggies.
To clear up your skin, you have to clean up your diet. One study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology showed that people who ate a diet high in sugar and refined carbs (foods high on the glycemic index) were more acne-prone than those who dined on healthier meals. After they started eating more produce, whole grains and lean protein, their complexions significantly cleared up.
“Your skin is nourished by the nutrients that you consume,” explains Fender. In fact, British researchers show that adding three more servings of produce to your diet can make a visible improvement to the quality of your skin within six weeks.
Healthy Skin Step No. 2: Clean with gentle products.
When you’re trying to zap a zit, it’s tempting to reach for the most powerful products in the drugstore. “But these harsh ingredients can aggravate the skin,” says Fender, who recommends looking for those made with natural anti-inflammatories like thyme and tea tree.
The American Dermatological Association advises washing with a mild cleanser twice a day, and opting for a non-clogging moisturizer daily. If you opt for a drying product or zit cream, apply only a thin layer -- using more than recommended will only aggravate your skin.
Healthy Skin Step No. 3: Be diligent about makeup removal.
Your makeup can clog your pores, paving the way for a breakout. So clean your face each night. “I recommend taking off your makeup as soon as you can, like first thing when you get home,” says Fender.
One of her favorite makeup products is jojoba oil, which removes stubborn products without leaving an oily or greasy feeling. Simply put the oil on a cotton pad or facial tissue and wipe away any makeup before washing your face with a gentle cleaner.
Healthy Skin Step No. 4: Stress less.
Research from Wake Forest University shows that stress causes your skin to produce more oil, which can trigger pimple production. So no matter how hectic your day is, make sure to set aside some time to relax: Go on a solo walk, do a yoga DVD or simply take a few deep breaths.
Healthy Skin Step No. 5: Don’t wage war on that pimple.
“Treat breakouts as you would a wound,” advises Fender. That means avoiding picking, squeezing or jabbing at that zit, which can introduce more bacteria and make matters worse.
Instead, she recommends treating the blemish with an antiseptic product, like her Tammy Fender Clarifying Dermagel. “It’s made with myrrh, thyme and tea tree, which battle bacteria and help to oxygenate and heal the skin,” she says.
If over-the-counter products don’t work on your skin, you may want to consult a dermatologist.