The Clear-Skin Makeover
By Jenny Bailly
Fighting pimples and wrinkles? Here’s how to give your old routine a
grown-up overhaul for radiant results.
Like high school pop quizzes and awkward prom dates, pimples are supposed to
be distant bad memories. If only. But these days, even moms of teens are
battling blemishes — and wrinkles, too. In fact, between 15 and 35 percent of
women in their 30s, 40s, and 50s suffer from breakouts, according to a report
published last year in the Journal of the American Academy of
Dermatology. And those numbers are on the rise, says dermatologist Richard
Fried, M.D., Ph.D., author of Healing Adult Acne. Doctors attribute this
increase to everything from skyrocketing stress levels and hormone fluctuations
to today’s carbohydrate-heavy diets.
If you’re tempted to treat your acne with a few old tricks from your teen
years, don’t. Adult skin is more sensitive and less resilient than adolescent
complexions, and it calls for treatments that also fight the signs of aging.
Luckily, many of the best zit zappers out there happen to be top anti-agers,
too. So whether your breakouts are an occasional annoyance or a constant
struggle, find the updated plan that’s best for you.
GENTLER AT-HOME REGIMENS
What you did then: Scoured your face every chance you
What you should do now: Cleanse no more than twice a day.
Since your skin is likely drier than it once was, over-washing can remove the
surface oils that keep it supple, says New Orleans dermatologist Mary Lupo,
M.D. Look for a cleanser with salicylic acid to break up pore-clogging sebum,
plus a skin softener like glycerin. Try Bioré Blemish Fighting Ice Cleanser
($6, drugstores) or Garnier Nutritioniste Nutri-Pure Detoxifying Gel Cleanser
($6, drugstores). If your skin is sensitive or extra-dry, alternate with a mild
product like Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser ($11, drugstores). And if you only
face a pimple or two a month, make that your only cleanser and rely on acne
creams for treatment.
What you did then: Applied drying masks to soak up
What you should do now: Focus on exfoliating, not degreasing.
As we age, skin’s cell turnover slows, and pores can get clogged with dead
cells. Slough them away with an at-home peel. (Bonus: Peels soften lines and
fade dark spots.) If you break out regularly, use a 10 percent–glycolic acid
solution. Try Patricia Wexler M.D. Dermatology Exfoliating Glyco Peel System
($60, Bath & Body Works). For occasional breakouts, opt for lactic acid,
the most gentle, moisturizing choice. Find it in Philosophy The Microdelivery
Mini Peel Pads ($35, Sephora). And toss the scrubs. “Abrasive grains can
rupture acne cysts and increase their life span,” says Jeannette Graf, M.D., a
dermatologist in Great Neck, NY.