IF you’re one of the lucky ones, you’ll have waved goodbye to the days of zits and blemishes in your teenage years.
Or if you’re really jammy, you’ll have breezed through those with barely a blemish.
But for many women, acne in later life is becoming an increasing concern.
Earlier this year the rise of adult acne was likened to an ‘epidemic’ by one dermatologist.
In 2015 a study of 92 private dermatology clinics found a 200 per cent rise in the number of adults seeking specialist treatment for acne.
What’s worse, women are five times more likely than men to be affected by adult acne, with a number of factors including fluctuating pregnancy hormones, the menstrual cycle and changing methods of contraception (the pill, coil or patches) triggering outbreaks.
Even celebrities have suffered – Cameron Diaz, Kate Moss and Victoria Beckham to name just a few.
But there are things we can do about it. Here are seven ways to tackle those stubborn spots.
Change your contraceptive pill
Consider changing your pill to Dianette, which is often prescribed to women with severe acne that has not cleared up with the use of antibiotics or other treatments.
It contains cyproterone acetate, which is an anti-androgen.
Androgens stimulate skin growth, including that of the sebaceous glands which produce an oily substance called sebum.
Sebum is essential to make the skin waterproof and lubricated, but if too much is produced it can cause the sebaceous glands to become blocked and infected, which leads to acne.
Be aware that doctors can be hesitant about handing this out as it is associated with a higher risk of blood clots and certain types of cancer.
Change your face wash routine
Certain face washes can dry out the skin, which means you end up over-compensating with the moisturiser and make it greasy.
If your skin is prone to acne, try using La Roche-Posay Purifying Cleansing Gel, a facial wash for oily skin.
Recommended by dermatologists, this foaming gel helps to eliminate impurities and excess sebum, leaving the skin feeling clean and fresh without drying it out.
You can buy it from Boots, where a 200ml tube costs £11.
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Opt for some silver service
If you’re not keen to go down the antibiotic route, Silver Serum could be a great alternative.
The product contains anti-microbial silver, a well known anti-bacterial agent often used in medical dressings for treating infected skin ulcers.
It is also used by NASA for keeping its crew members’ water supplies free from bacteria while in space.
Manufacturers claim Silver Serum works on acne by destroying ‘bad’ acne-causing bacteria, while preserving the good’ skin bacteria that helps keep skin strong and fights infection.
You can purchase a 50ml tube from Skin Shop for £12.95.
Stop touching your face
It sounds daft, but overly touching your face could be having a damaging effect on your skin.
Our hands come into contact with millions of germs on a daily basis, which you’re then transferring from your fingertips to your face.
Heal Your Skin author Dr. Ava Shamban warned: “If you are acne-prone, absolutely face-touching can lead to breakouts.
“Touching can make the face more prone to breakouts or other conditions, again because it spreads bacteria and other bugs.”
Check the ingredients in your make-up
If you’re prone to acne, thick or solid makeup products are a no-no, despite the tempting coverage they offer.
Look to liquid formulas for a medium coverage, such as Clinique Stay Matte Oil-Free Makeup (£23) or Rimmel London Stay Matte Foundation (£5.99).
La Roche Posay has also just released a new dual-action, tinted anti-imperfection formula proven to treat and reduce blemishes in 24 hours, costing £16.50.
You can order a free sample of Effaclar Duo Unifiant by visiting the website.
Purify your sebum
Another over-the-counter remedy that comes highly recommended is Sebopure, by UK acne skincare brand Clarol.
Sebum is a very organic substance that goes off quickly once it becomes contaminated with external bacteria and dirt on the surface of the skin, which causes pore blockages, inflammation and puss.
This new anti-acne treatment controls acne by keeping sebum production pure, using a patented preserver ingredient derived from wild mustard leaf oil.
By purifying the sebum your skin produces, pore blockages and inflammation are reduced and sebum production itself begins to naturally diminish.
Visit your doctor
Sun Doctor Carol Cooper advises anyone suffering with late life acne to visit their GP.
She warned: “For some people, acne is down to something else, like polycystic ovary syndrome, so this needs to be investigated.
“Your GP can recommend antibiotic gels, tablets – there will usually be a step-by-step progression to see what works.”
One treatment your doctor may recommend is Skinoren cream, which contains the active ingredient azelaic acid.
Azelaic acid kills the the bacteria associated with acne and reduces the growth of the keratin surface skin cells that can block pores.
This helps to unblock the pores and sebaceous glands (which secrete sebum) meaning it doesn’t become trapped, reducing the formation of blackheads and spots.