Acne isn’t always an affliction that disappears as we leave our teenage years behind. Unfortunately, adult acne is very prevalent today, and I see clients who have enjoyed clear skin all their lives, only to develop acne later in life.
The common thread I find in most acne situations is the hormonal shift that happens. There are two distinct periods in our lives when this occurs, one is puberty, and the other is perimenopause. The change and fluctuation in hormones during these times can trigger acne in very similar ways.
The solution to acne doesn’t necessarily have to be expensive products or strong prescriptions. Consistent, thorough treatment at home and reflecting on your lifestyle habits is often enough to kick acne to the curb. Give a few of these simple, easy-to-make acne treatments a whirl the next time you are battling acne.
Acne Tomato Sugar Scrub
Tomatoes are very rich in vitamins A, C, and K, all of which you can find in a slew of facial products today. These vitamins contribute to healthy skin, and the acidity of tomatoes works wonders to reduce clogged pores and acne. Lycopene, the red pigment found in tomatoes, is a potent antioxidant that works to reduce free radicals resulting from exposure to sunlight and pollutants that can damage our healthy skin cells [source].
- 1 tomato, halved
- ½ teaspoon fine granulated sugar
This scrub is best for treating blackheads and not for inflammatory acne. It can be done once or twice a week, which is sufficient for a good physical exfoliation. Using half a tomato, sprinkle the fine granulated sugar on the exposed part of the tomato.
With slow circular motions, gently rub the tomato half onto your cheeks, chin, forehead, and nose area. Just one or two passes on each area are enough, and remember to use only light pressure!
After a few minutes, rinse the scrub off with warm water and follow with a moisturizer. Some people are sensitive to nightshades, including tomatoes, so avoid this strategy if you have sensitive skin.
Tea Tree Spot Treatment
Tea tree oil is one of the most powerful ingredients for fighting acne. Its properties are both antibacterial and antiseptic [source]. This easy-to-make spot treatment is great to leave on overnight. Consider combining with a drop or two of lavender [source] or calendula oil [source] to reduce inflammation.
Toner for Acne-Prone Skin
Acne is often visible because of the inflammation in the pores. The raised, red, and swollen appearance can be reduced somewhat with the right toner. This easy, two-ingredient toner with apple cider vinegar and green tea [source] is anti-inflammatory and will help reduce that redness.
Examine Your Eating Habits
In addition to these DIY acne remedies, another way to reduce inflammation in acne is to examine your eating habits. Are there any foods contributing to inflammation in your body? Science has shown that inflammatory foods, including highly processed, sugary foods and dairy, may be significant contributors to acne [source].
I usually recommend reducing dairy and red meat consumption and evaluating after a few weeks to check for improvement. When in doubt, eat real food that you prepare yourself, and avoid packaged and processed food.
Increasing your water intake is also a very easy and inexpensive way to improve your skin. I know water can get boring, so change it up a little! Infusing water can motivate you to drink those ounces and help flush out toxins from your skin—and your whole body [source]. A good rule of thumb for water intake is half your body weight in ounces each day [source].
Certain chemicals are considered endocrine disruptors, which means that they really mess with your hormones [source] and may cause deep, tender cysts around the chin and jawline. To prevent this from happening to you, minimize animal products, and when you do consume them, choose organic and pasture-raised, reduce your use of canned foods [source], and avoid ALL plastic, even BPA-free. Choose glass or stainless steel for drinking bottles and food containers.
Adequate Rest & Physical Activity
Sleep can evade us as we get older, and lack of sleep can negatively impact our skin. The stress from work, family, finances, friends, kids, and home responsibilities can contribute to bouts of insomnia.
Do you have a nighttime routine? Consistently doing the bedtime wind down in the same order is a trigger for your body that sleep is coming.
Avoid screens before bedtime, don’t work from or eat in your bed, and keep the thermostat at a cool temperature to encourage restful sleep. Some other things that could help with sleep are chamomile tea [source], essential oils such as lavender [source], and a real book with actual pages to turn.
Just as sleep is crucial for healthy skin, exercise is important as well. The circulation and oxygen that feeds our skin after exertion can be seen in that rosy, post-workout glow. A brisk walk, a yoga class, floor pilates, or even a great stretch session does wonders for our skin, muscles, lymphatic system (think: toxins), and stress levels.
If you’ve adjusted your diet, increased your water intake, examined your skincare products, get adequate rest and exercise, and still are battling adult acne, you may want to make a visit to your board-certified dermatologist. As we age, our hormones shift, and one symptom of hormonal imbalance is adult acne [source].
Fortunately, medications have come a long way over the last decade, and the options are numerous. And it could be just as easy as adding a missing vitamin or mineral into your daily diet.
What have you found to be successful in fighting adult acne?
This post was medically reviewed by Dr. Jennifer Haley, a board-certified dermatologist with extensive experience in medical, cosmetic, and surgical dermatology. Learn more about Hello Glow’s medical reviewers here. As always, this is not personal medical advice, and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.168