Post-adolescent breakouts have a few triggers, explains Hilt, from hormonal fluctuations and imbalances to product ingredients. For example, she lists isopropyl myristrate as a highly comedogenic ingredient of some skin care products that has been known to trigger breakouts.
Allergic reactions to food and environmental factors, for instance, can contribute to pesky pimples. According to Hilt, research indicates that the most common type of adult acne in women is highly correlated with cigarette smoking -- one more reason to butt out for good.
With so many acne products on the shelves, choosing one can be difficult. Hilt explains that products containing a combination of AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids) and salicylic acid (such as VERTERE Dramatic Transformation Cream SPF 15) are most effective at treating adult acne. "AHAs' exfoliating action on the surface of the skin helps to clear pores while also boosting collagen and smoothing skin," she says, adding salicylic acid works to further exfoliate inside the pore, which also helps reduce breakouts. "As an adult, it's especially beneficial to have both of these ingredients working for you to help reduce blemishes because you will receive anti-aging benefits as well. "
Hilt suggests keeping a disinfectant, such as tea tree oil, on hand to help neutralize bacteria in blemishes and speed healing without stripping the skin of moisture. Cleansers with antibacterial ingredients are an alternative. She also recommends having a 30 percent glycolic or lactic acid peel performed regularly to further enhance skin tone and texture.
Lastly, avoid constantly touching your face throughout the day. Our hands are constantly absorbing substances (lotions, oils, dirt, dust) that you don't want to put on your face, Hilt says. "Try to be very conscious of keeping your hands away from your face -- you'll notice a difference."
Look for products that help reduce blemishes while preserving moisture and smoothing out wrinkles. Also look for hyaluronic acid, which increases skin's moisture levels and prevents moisture loss. One molecule of hyaluronic acid holds 1000 times its weight in water, and it helps pull moisture from the air to the skin, Hilt says. She advises against assuming that acne products designed for teenagers are effective on adult breakouts; they can be irritating and will likely dry out your skin. "Avoid focusing on your breakouts only. Focus on your skin's needs in their entirety. Otherwise, you may end up blemish free but still lacking firmness, smoothness and clarity."
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