Ask Pharmaca: How Do I Treat Adult Acne?

Q. How do I treat adult acne?

A. Adult acne can be frustrating—I understand firsthand since I struggled with it in my 20s. Luckily, summer is the perfect season to treat adult acne at its root. It all starts with creating the right foundation for healthy skin: a healthy diet (to support good digestion), exercise (to boost cell renewal) and stress management (to help slow the aging process), followed by the right topical skin care to help banish acne for good.

Here’s to a healthy diet
Summer’s fresh fruits and vegetables provide your body with valuable vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and enzymes that help your skin fight the bacteria that can clog your pores internally (as well as help boost your collagen and skin elasticity). Add a fresh vegetable juice and fruit smoothie into your daily diet for a refreshing and cooling way to get these vital nutrients.

A healthy, balanced diet with quality ingredients should also help alleviate digestive issues, thus helping your body effectively eliminate toxins. Provide additional support to your digestive system with a daily probiotic. (A favorite is Garden of Life RAW Probiotics, featuring beneficial bacteria for food breakdown and elimination, clearing your skin literally from the inside out.)

Get some exercise
Summer is a great time to get outside and play! Ride a bike, take a hike or go for a swim to increase your circulation and get a good dose of sun (vitamin D) and fresh air (oxygen), both of which help cell renewal. Additionally, a dip in the ocean offers the healing properties of salt water, which kills bacteria and reduces inflammation.

This is also a great opportunity to go makeup free! All you need is a good sunscreen, like Avene Mineral Light Hydrating Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50 for both face and body—featuring their thermal spring water that seriously soothes skin. If you you have a hard time going makeup free, try Avene High Protection Tinted Compact SPF 50 on your face for a nice sheer, light coverage.

Manage your stress
Prolonged stress can prematurely age skin, and can aggravate and even create skin irritations and conditions like acne. That’s partially because the stress hormone cortisol increases oil production, which can clog pores and cause bacterial growth that leads to acne. Stress also ages your skin by slowing cell renewal, which makes it hard to heal skin irritations.

That’s why it’s vital to manage stress for your overall health and wellbeing. With more daylight in the summer months, take the opportunity to balance out work and play with some R&R. I like aromatherapy for its many therapeutic properties, including stress relief. A favorite at the La Jolla Pharmaca store is Pharmaca Pure Joy Essential Oil Blend, which is both soothing and uplifting. Add some drops to a diffuser, find a hammock and crack open a good book!

Choose the right skin care
There are a lot of options and approaches to treating acne, but adhering to the foundation of diet, exercise and stress management along with a good skin care regimen will greatly support your path to healthy skin both inside and out.

Here are my favorite natural skin care products for adult acne:

Cleanse: evanhealy Tea Tree Gel Cleanser is a favorite at the La Jolla Pharmaca store. This gentle gel cleanser is non-stripping, and uses tea tree to purify and heal.

Exfoliate: Dr. Hauschka Cleansing Cream is a personal favorite, as it features sweet almond seed meal. This is gentle enough to use every day, but is excellent for deep pore cleansing and removing dead skin cells. Tip: Apply using a gentle “press & roll” motion instead of scrubbing.

Tone: Avene Thermal Spring Water Spray is another favorite at our store, as it can be used in lieu of a toner. It soothes skin inflammation and is wonderfully cooling and hydrating for summer.

Repair: SkinOwl Beauty Drops – Lavender. These beauty drops feature pure argan and lavender oils to clear, calm and heal your skin. Use them in the evening on their own and in the morning under a moisturizer or sunscreen.

Moisturize: Weleda Almond Soothing Lotion is light and soothing for sensitive skin. The organic sweet almond oil gives your skin a protective barrier to shield it from the day’s elements. Follow it up with an SPF, like Mineral Fusion Brush-On Defense or jane iredale PurePressed Base, to further protect skin from the sun.

Mask: Astara Golden Flame Hydration Mask is a great mask for summertime, featuring moisture-sealing hyaluronic acid, calming calendula and cooling aloe vera.