How To Clear Up Your Adult Acne. Step By Step.

Dark Spots Caused by Acne

When it comes to adult acne, you’ve likely tried every so-called cure and method out there. The key to getting a handle on adult acne is figuring out what the cause of the flare-ups could be. If you really want to kick your troublesome acne to the curb, you first need to understand what causes it in the first place. I don’t know about you, but when I was young I always thought that one day my skin would be clear and the teenage acne would be gone. I never thought that I would be dealing with adult acne well into my twenties, and early thirties. What I didn’t realize is how common adult acne actually is and how many people are using the wrong products when it comes to treating their troubled skin.

Keep reading to learn some of the most common adult acne causes—and the best ways to treat these stubborn breakouts.

Common Causes For Adult Acne:

Hormones, Hormones, Hormones

Hormone fluctuations such as before your period could be the cause of those monthly breakouts. An increase in the production of the hormone progesterone can be the reason your skin seems to be mad at you every month before your period. Progesterone amps up the production of sebum in the skin which can lead to an overproduction of oil and breakouts. Other times you may see more hormonal acne flareups are:

  • Around the time of your period.
  • During or after pregnancy.
  • During perimenopause and menopause.
  • When you start or stop using hormonal birth control.

Your Skincare Routine

If your skin is prone to breakouts, if it tends to be more oily or dry, it is important to use the right skincare products. It is important to use the correct skincare products for your skin type. “oil-free,” “noncomedogenic,” or “water-based” products are a great start as they are less likely to clog your pores and keep your skin looking its best. 

The first step to learning your skin type and what products are best for you is to take MintPear’s Skin Type Quiz. This super short quiz will help you build a personalized skincare routine that is right for your skin. 

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How To Clear Up Your Adult Acne. Step By Step.


Now I don’t have to tell you how stressful life can get, especially lately. Stressful times can lead to stressed-out skin. Chronic stress can play a huge role in skin issues like acne, and it’s strongly suspected that the hormone cortisol may be responsible for the link. Although it’s commonly referred to as the “stress hormone,” cortisol is actually an important compound that helps regulate a ton of different bodily processes, including the immune system, digestive system, and neurological systems affecting your mood. Its levels naturally fluctuate over time (even within a single day). If your skin seems to be worse than usual, it might help to look at certain events in your life and take some time to de-stress. 

Over-Cleaning Your Skin

It might seem like a good idea to wash your face when you see your skin breakout, but actually this might be making your skin even worse. Although some people with especially dry or sensitive skin find that they only need to cleanse once a day, most of us should be cleansing twice a day with a gentle cleanser. Cleansing any more than that is usually too much and can just dry out skin, “which can cause [it] to produce more oil to overcompensate. Additionally, exfoliating too often or with products that are too harsh can damage skin and exacerbate acne. The type of exfoliating you should be doing and how frequently you should be doing it (if at all) depends on your skin type and your major skin concerns. But in general, experts recommend going with the gentler chemical exfoliants (products containing ingredients like lactic acid, glycolic acid, or salicylic acid) over scrubs or brushes, which are considered manual or physical exfoliants.

How To Clear Up Your Acne:

Use The Right Products

So now that you’ve read some of the top reasons for adult acne, it is important to make the right steps to get your skin back to it’s the best self. It’s important to remember that anytime your using new skincare products that it can take a few weeks for your skin to get used to the change before you start to see any results. Be patient. 

Look for ingredients like Salicylic Acid, Glycolic Acid, Lactic Acid, Polyhydroxy Acids, Benzoyl Peroxide, Sulfur, Retinoids, to name a few. It is important to talk to a dermatologist to recommend which ingredients and products will work best for your adult acne. These ingredients can be very helpful, but also can be irritating for sensitive skin if used incorrectly or when not needed. 

Exfoliating Is Key

Exfoliation is the most important thing you can do on a regular basis to be fighting acne both in terms of preventing it and treating it. Whether you choose to use a chemical or physical exfoliant, know that this step will help prevent breakouts by keeping your pores clear and helping to remove any clogs you currently have. One of my favorite organic exfoliating products is MintPear Beauty’s Pumpkin Enzyme Exfoliating Masque. The MintPear Pumpkin Enzyme Exfoliating Masque is loaded with fruit enzymes and alpha hydroxyl acids (AHAs) and 5% Glycolic Acid, promoting and increasing cell turnover, resulting in brighter and smoother skin! The Pumpkin Enzyme gently exfoliates your skin, helps even the appearance of skin tone, smooth the look of fine lines and wrinkles, and clarify to reveal skin that looks smoother, younger, radiant, and revitalized.

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How To Clear Up Your Adult Acne. Step By Step.

Look For Anti-Imflamitory Products

As we mentioned, pimples form when a pore gets clogged with dirt, oil, and dead skin cells. If bacteria are also present, the pimple might get inflamed, meaning it becomes red, swollen, and painful. Not all pimples are inflamed, but inflamed acne tends to be extra unpleasant to deal with. So finding ways to calm them down while treating the root of the problem is essential. One way to calm them down is by stimulating the lymphatic drainage system. It is super important to pay attention to the ingredients in your skincare products and to try to stick to products that have fewer ingredients. 

Watch this video from Rita Almusa, MintPear’s Master Esthetician for other great tips on how to clear acne.

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