Too old for acne: how to prevent adult skin breakouts

Few of us expect to have spotty skin once we’re through puberty, but adult acne is incredibly common. Here’s why it happens and how to tackle it.

As a busy mum dealing with the demands of young children, the home and work, you probably have this “adult” thing nailed. But if you have to cope with skin breakouts, you can end up feeling like a self-conscious teenager all over again!

So why does this happen? Your skin naturally starts changing in your thirties, which can bring around a new era of unexpected acne. The good news is you’re not alone, as one study found that there has been a 200% increase in the number of adults seeking help for acne in the recent years.

The bad news is that it can be caused by a variety of factors and there is no overnight fix. But if you want better skin it’s worth isolating your acne triggers and changing your skincare, as that will not only stop pimples, but also improve the overall health and appearance of your skin. Here are some places to start...

Tackle stress

Women who never had spots as teenagers may find they break out as an adult because of higher levels of stress. The pressure of managing a busy household, the kids, finances and juggling a career can have a damaging effect on your skin.

When you’re stressed, your body goes into overdrive producing the hormone cortisol, which in turn makes the sebaceous glands produce more oil and, just like that, you feel like a pimply teenager. Yoga, meditation and prioritising good-quality sleep should become your new, stress-fighting best friends.

Change your skincare throughout the month

If your breakouts are linked to monthly hormonal changes, try adapting your skincare routine based on the time of the month. Three days before your period is due, change your regular cleanser for an anti-bacterial formula that contains salicylic acid and specifically targets breakouts and oily skin to stop those deep spots before they begin.

The rest of the month, try a lightweight product such as Olay Regenerist Luminous Skin Tone Perfecting Cream that will hydrate, plump and even skin tone without being greasy.

Make time for healthy eating

Tiredness and a hectic schedule often mean busy mums rely on quick, sugary carbs to keep them going. Snacks that feature high on the Glycemic Index, such as cookies and sugary soft drinks, can cause inflammation and breakouts, so it’s important to start making healthy eating a priority.

Ensure there’s plenty of protein in your breakfast and lunch to keep your energy levels high and keep packs of nuts, raw bars and a bottle of water in your handbag and car so that you always have something healthy to munch on that won’t negatively impact your skin.

Change your contraception

One cause of adult acne is thought to be the fluctuation in hormones in the years post-childbirth but pre-menopause. If your breakouts tend to be focused around your chin and jawline, this could mean it’s down to hormones. If you think this is the case, speak to your doctor about your contraception.

As we age, our estrogen levels start to decline – and estrogen is what helps to keep our skin clear. If you are taking a progesterone-releasing contraception, this could be making matters worse, so it might be worth switching to a non-hormonal coil or higher estrogen pill.

Cut out dairy

If you are struggling with acne across your cheeks, it could be due to the amount of dairy you consume. It’s thought that the hormones found in cow’s milk increase the volume of oil produced by our sebaceous glands. Cut back and switch to almond milk in your tea and in your porridge. It’s unlikely that cutting out dairy alone will solve your acne woes, but limiting its presence in your diet alongside a good skincare routine should help.

Start having a weekly facial

We don’t mean by spending a fortune at a spa – instead, start being strict about having a weekly facial routine at home, as well as your usual daily routine. After the kids are in bed on a Sunday night, take refuge in the bathroom and exfoliate your skin to buff away any dead, dry skin, followed by a relaxing clay face mask. Once this has worked its magic, wash, tone and use a lightweight moisturiser (avoid anything too oily when suffering from a breakout) for beautifully clear skin.

How do you deal with breakouts? Let us know in the comments section below, and for more great beauty advice specific to your skin type, visit Olay.