This dilemma is likely not helped by the hype around extraction videos which involve experts removing cysts, pimples, blackheads, whiteheads, and so on. The number of people engaging with them rolls into the millions – in fact the hashtag #pimplepopping has over 33.8 billion views on TikTok.
Consultant Dermatologist Dr Sharon Wong believes that adult-onset acne that appears for the first time in the 20’s is on the rise, and seems to affect women more than men.
“Acne has always been perceived as a problem that should only happen in puberty/teenage years and that the condition clears by the time you hit your 20’s,” says Dr Wong.
“It is also fraught with beliefs that somehow it is caused by a lack of hygiene/poor cleanliness or that it is purely diet related. The traditional concept that acne is purely a teenage issue is very much outdated amongst dermatologists.
“We now recognise acne as a chronic skin condition which can appear at any stage of our lives,” Wong continues. “While the mechanism behind adult acne is not fully known, what we do know is that acne is a complex interaction between genetics, hormones, environmental and lifestyle factors, all of which will vary in their relative importance at different times of our lives.”
Whether you’re battling the occasional breakout or more stubborn adult onset acne, the good news is that topical products can go a long way to treating and balancing spot prone skin - we’ve rounded up some of our favourites.
OxyGenetix Oxygenating Blemish-Control Hydro-MatrixThis new spot slayer offers maximum strength, timed-release salicylic acid to ensure problematic skin can benefit from the hydrating, oxygenating properties to aid oxygen uptake to heal blemishes and treat active comedones alike. Ingredients include aloe vera gel which is naturally antibacterial, reduces inflammation and calms tender, red or irritated skin; 2 per cent salicylic acid to help unclog pores and prevent further breakouts; sodium PCA and hyaluronic acid which replenish moisture loss and aid hydration, and antioxidant green tea.
Green People Age Defy+ Purifying Balancing Oil SerumBlending cutting-edge botanicals with sebum-balancing phyto-actives, this new 99 per cent organic serum is ideal for adult skin prone to clogged pores, breakouts and spots. Ingredients include ginger leaf plant cell extracts to help balance the skin’s sebum production, help decongest pores and restore skin clarity; mattifying ginger stem cells, and black cumin seed oil which fights blemishes and inflammation.
ZO Skin Health Acne ControlIf you want to deploy the big guns, this maximum-strength acne-fighting formula contains 10 per cent benzoyl peroxide to help control oily skin, neutralise bacteria, calm redness and prevent future breakouts. An increase in cellular turnover in turn promotes exfoliation to mitigate bacterial proliferation and clear clogged pores. Additional ingredients include glycerin which replenishes moisture, and four natural antioxidant extracts to boost skin’s resilience.
Bioderma Photoderm AKN Mat SPF30Looking for a sunscreen that offers high protection from the sun’s damaging UV rays without aggravating breakouts? This non comedogenic anti-blemish sunscreen fluid is ideal for combination and acne-prone skin – mattifying throughout the day, it works to improve sebum quality and limit the appearance of new imperfections. Ingredients include salicylic and glycolic acids, while the invisible formula is non sticky, non greasy and does not dry out the skin.
Oxygenetix Oxygenating Blemish-Control FoundationOffering real skincare benefits, this new skin-friendly foundation includes timed release salicylic acid which helps clear the skin. The oxygen-enriched formula allows skin to breathe more than other foundation brands – typical makeup products diminish the oxygen passage to the skin cells and often upset the natural oils, pH and moisture balance. The formula contains pro-healing patented Ceravitae – a supercharged oxygen complex containing two per cent salicylic acid that promotes collagen production and connective tissue growth, while helping support youthful, firm and smooth skin.
New and exclusive to Dr David Jack clinic in London is the skin rejuvenating and refining Korean laser Puraxel, which has a function that deep cleans and removes impurities from pores; the laser is also said to work wonders on blemishes. Post treatment, the cooling mode soothes and settles skin while reducing pore size. A course of three treatments is recommended for optimum results.