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Your Guide To Banishing Adult Breakouts

January 1 | 4 minute read

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Words by Glynis Traill-Nash

Originally published on | February 19

Having survived the breakouts of your teenage years, there is a feeling of indignation should you wake up aged 31 or 42, say, to find an eruption on your face. Haven’t you put those days behind you?

Alas, according to Dr JoAnn See, many adults deal with breakouts – whether they suffered through them as a teen or not

“We think of acne as adolescent phenomenon, but some groups of people can have persistent acne, where they have pimples as teenager which then progress into their twenties, thirties and forties,” explains Dr See, a dermatologist with a private practice on Sydney’s Macquarie Street and Co-Chair of the online resource All About Acne.

“Then, there’s a different group that is really good through the early years and then has late onset at age 25 or more,” she adds. “You think that this should be something of the past – you’re in a different social setting where you might be going to university, meeting people.

“I see professionals in the city who are giving presentations and they break out, and then they are frustrated.”

And if the sight of a new blemish triggers your tension levels, well, that’s a whole other discussion. “Stress can play a role – I often see it in patients with emotional stress such as a relationship bust-up or exams.”

Of course, consulting a dermatologist for serious breakouts should always be a first consideration. But when it comes to the appearance of breakouts, Dr See says that skincare can make a difference – particularly cleansing.

“It’s important to use good skincare. If you’re living in Sydney, for example, and it’s hot and humid, you’re sweating more; you’re using sunscreen and you might be using the same makeup as you would in June or August when it’s cooler, so it clogs up your pores,” she says.

When looking into skincare products that might be beneficial for blemish-prone skin types, Dr See advises seeking out ingredients like salicylic acid, glycolic acid and niacinamide.

“Other things can camouflage – sometimes it’s OK to get an appropriate BB or CC cream and I often say to patients they can get by with that as their makeup.”

Emma Lewisham has come at the issue of blemishes from an entirely different angle: the skin’s microbiome.

In October, her eponymous skincare brand launched their Supernatural Blemish Face Serum with Live Skin Probiotic, in response to requests from customers who felt they had to “compromise” with the existing solutions.

This led the brand to rethink the existing approach to controlling breakouts.

“We looked at the formation of a blemish, and the three key pieces that keep coming into play: the blocked pore, the sebum and the bacteria that causes acne,” Lewisham explains.

“Knowing the importance of the microbiome of the skin, we started to pull on the microbiome thread.”

Working with physiologists, they looked to micrococcus luteus, a beneficial bacteria that occurs naturally on the skin. “It has the ability to prevent blemishes at their core, working with the microbiome rather than being the ‘ambulance at the bottom of the cliff’. It also improves overall general health of the skin,” she adds.

So, if you look in the mirror and see another unwelcome eruption building, take a deep breath and know that help is out there!

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