The Regimen

Grown-Up Solutions for Adult Acne

African American woman holding a mirror with eyes closed on a purple background

When you were a teenager trying everything to hide your acne, some well-meaning person probably told you, “don’t worry, you’ll grow out of it.” They lied. Acne does not just miraculously end when you get past your teen years.


Hormones, stress, and genetics are all major contributors to acne, and those things definitely don’t go away as you get older. But that doesn’t mean you should treat your adult skin the same way you did when you were seventeen.


While the acne you experience as an adult isn’t any different than your teen nemesis, your skin is different, and therefore, your solutions require a bit of tweaking.


Adult Skin vs. Teen Skin

Young skin is resilient, plump, and rapidly self-renewing. As we age, the skin goes through a range of biochemical changes. Cell metabolism decreases, skin thins, the rate of healing slows, and natural water and lipid loss in the stratum corneum increases, leaving skin more vulnerable to irritation and bacteria.


Sluggish cell metabolism can create a buildup of dead skin that, along with increased sebum due to hormones or stress, creates the perfect conditions for clogged pores.


Post-menopause skin often becomes drier, which makes it more susceptible to irritation and barrier disruptions. These changes can create inflammation and allow bacteria into the skin, both of which can contribute to flare-ups. 


Hello, adult acne.


Changes in the skin—thinner, drier, more prone to irritation—mean some of the more aggressive skin treatments that worked well in your youth, may be too harsh for your adult skin.


What’s the best acne regimen for adult skin?


Acne has four main drivers: inflammation, bacteria, cellular debris, and sebum. They all combine to create impactions in the pore. You want products that combine anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and cell-renewing elements. Since adult skin can be more prone to irritation, calming ingredients become even more critical.


When it comes to cleansers, think gentle. Some of the cleansers of your youth may be overly drying or irritating.


Green Tea Antioxidant Cleanser is a good choice for adult skin because of its potent anti-inflammatory properties, sebum-regulating properties, and off-the-charts antioxidant content, which helps protect skin from the age-accelerating effects of oxidative stress.  


Mandelic Acid 3-In-1 Wash is another excellent choice for adult skin. Mandelic acid is an anti-bacterial and naturally brightening alpha-hydroxy acid known for its extra gentle action, making this mild, but mighty cleanser the perfect acne-fighter for adult skin.


Mandelic Acid 3-In-1 Exfoliating Cleanser gets an added exfoliating boost from cellulose microbeads (natural, sustainable, and biodegradable). Mandelic acid is excellent for helping to fade dark marks from acne or photodamage as well.


A toner is essential for unclogging pores and enhancing absorption of corrective serums. Vivant’s 3% Mandelic Acid 3-In-1 Toner combines anti-inflammatory and cell-renewing ingredients in a gentle, clarifying formula.


For a slightly more intense therapy and the ease of single-use, pre-moistened pads, try Daily Repair Pads, which combine mandelic acid, niacinamide, zinc peptides, lactic acid, and salicylic acid in an acne-fighting, glow-boosting swipe.  


No acne-fighting regimen at any age is complete without Vitamin A (retinol). This forever ingredient clears blemishes by increasing cellular turnover to peel out impactions and accelerate the renewal of healthy new skin. As a catalyst of collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid production, vitamin A has added benefits for adult skin, promoting firmer, more resilient structure, and increasing the skin’s ability to hold water.


“I don’t know anyone over age 25 who could not benefit from a nightly retinol product,” Brooke Jackson, MD, a dermatologist and associate professor of dermatology at UNC at Chapel Hill told Huffington Post.


New to vitamin A? Start with Derm-A-Gel. When your skin has acclimated, you can move up the levels until you reach Vivant’s most advanced vitamin A therapy, Exfol-A Forté, a transformative cocktail of alpha-hydroxy acids and vitamin A to clear acne, diminish lines and wrinkles, and bring out your most radiant glow.


For sensitive or darker skin tones more prone to hyperpigmentation, gentle antibacterial 8% Mandelic Acid  3-In-1 Serum is an excellent alternative to vitamin A.


Your adult skin tends to need more moisture than your teen skin did. This can be tricky. You want to avoid adding oil, but decrease the irritation that can come from dry skin.


Allantoin Sedating and Hydrating Lotion is a super lightweight moisturizer that combines anti-inflammatory and antioxidant ingredients in a non-greasy, non-comedogenic formula that’s perfect for adult skin in need of a little non-aggravating hydration. Allantoin is a natural, healing substance that has long been used for its healing, soothing, and anti-irritating properties. Allantoin helps to heal wounds and stimulates the growth of healthy tissue.


Tips for Clear Skin Success

 Be consistent. If you don’t stick to your program consistently, you will not see the desired results.


Use non-comedogenic products or go makeup-free to avoid clogging pores and exacerbating acne.


Do not spot treat. Spot treating allows acne bacteria to continue to grow in the surrounding skin, making future breakouts worse and increasing the risk of scarring.


Avoid picking, squeezing, and popping to reduce the risk of scarring and avoid spreading bacteria.

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