Up until about 2 months ago, I never knew adult acne was a thing. I thought it was something only hormonal teens struggled with. When I went to the dermatologist as a 31-year old woman, thinking I had rosacea, and she told me I’ve got acne… HELLO! I didn’t see that one coming.
I knew my skin was splotchy and red, but I also knew that I didn’t have many pimples. My mom has rosacea, so I’d assumed that’s what was going on when I went it. I was honestly pretty releived to hear it was acne because rosacea is an autoimmune thing with no real cure. Acne is fixable!
She asked what I’d been using on my skin and told me it was all wrong. Of course. Because I’d just bought it.
Then, she asked how intense or relaxed I wanted to be in fighting it and since it was all new to me, I said in the middle. She prescribed me a gentle antibiotic to take every morning and a gel to use every night before going to bed. Listen… that gel was TOUGH for my skin to get used to. Just look at it!
It dried my skin out so bad and it felt like a million tiny needles were pricking it at all times. I backed off to every other day for about a week while my skin adjusted and I started lathering on the moisturizer 20 minutes after I put on the gel. Both of those helped tremendously.
I’ve still got a ways to go—they don’t even see you again until you’ve been doing this routine for 3 months— but I’m very hopeful. Less than a month in and I can already see a huge improvement in my skin!
So if you’ve found this because you have adult acne and you don’t know what to do, here are some steps that I think would be helpful.
1. Go to the dermatologist.
Sounds easy, but honestly? Making the appointment was the hardest part for me. I’ve got so many moles that I look like a dalmatian and spent the last 5 years of my life living in South Florida. If anyone needed to see a dermatologist, it was me. But I never did because I was going to have to find one who accepted my insurance, then get reviews, then call and hope for an appointment, then make sure it worked with Clint’s schedule so he could stay with the kids, and yadayadayada. But finally enough was enough and I did it. And you know what? It was a flipping piece of cake. So easy. So just go and do it already.
2. Stop using fancy face wash and moisturizer.
I’d just bought some too expensive face wash and moisturizer, hoping to help with the redness. And I thought that micellar water was a gift from God. I was pumped for all of it. And you know what the dermatologist told me? Stop using all of it. A gentle cleanser like Cetaphil or Cerave are actually the best for acne prone skin. DO YOU KNOW HOW CHEAP AND READILY AVAILABLE THAT STUFF IS?! Man. Do your skin a favor and go grab some.
3. Talk about it.
The biological way you’re wired and the way your skin looks/doesn’t look isn’t something to be ashamed about. If I had never started talking about my acne, I think my entire face would’ve painfully peeled off by now because nobody would’ve ever told me, “Hey, you can do that gel every other night for a while to ease your skin into it.” Other people and their experiences are a huge resource for you! And then you can be a huge resource for others who will come after you!
That’s where I’m at for now. I’m not done with this journey and I’m sure I’ll do updates as I go. I just wanted to start the conversation because I know I’m not the only one struggling with adult acne and wondering what in the world I’m supposed to do. And if I’m not the only one, I want to help the other ones out there along in the journey!
Let me know in the comments if you have any tips, tricks, or survival stories about adult acne! And as always, let’s connect on social media! Follow me at @little_arrows_mama as we build a community of mamas to make real mom life simpler!