Adult Acne Update

Tuesday, September 18, 2012
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taken on 9/8/12

Earlier this year I posted a couple pictures of me and my make-up-less, acne face on the I received so many wonderful comments from people going through a similar situation for much longer than I've endured it, as well as encouragement and positive words. Here is an updated picture seven months later. I had just woken up and didn't even wash my face yet. (Gross!) As you can see, it is so much better and under control!!!

Since I got pregnant, my hormones went crazy (naturally), and so did my acne...which is why I never got around to posting an update a few months ago in my Favorite Skin Care Products post. But now I can say that my acne has normalized and I only get a few here and there. My skin still has a long way to go in terms of lightening for the scars and redness.

Here are the products I currently use and love...


  1. Proactiv cleanser
  2. Paula's Choice Earth Sourced natural toner (or Neutrogena alcohol-free toner, not shown) on clear skin area
  3. Proactiv toner only on acne-covered skin
  4. Paula's Choice 2% BHA liquid
  5. Proactiv treatment
  6. Proactiv advanced blemish treatment for stubborn pimples
  7. Proactiv dark spot corrector
  8. Paula's Choice Resist serum
  9. CeraVe PM lotion for dry areas around my mouth area and bottom cheeks
  10. Paula's Choice SPF tint


  1. Walgreens gentle skin cleanser
  2. baking soda scrub
  3. Paula's Choice Earth Sourced toner
  4. Proactiv toner
  5. Paula's Choice 2% BHA liquid
  6. Proactiv treatment
  7. Proactiv advanced blemish treatment
  8. Proactiv dark spot corrector
  9. Dermagist serum I use as a nighttime lotion because it's so thick. I won this from a giveaway and will probably use the CeraVe lotion after I use it all.

For those who commented on the Adult Acne post, how is your skin doing now? What products are working for you?


  1. Thanks for sharing! I've been contemplating going to a dermatologist about my complexion, but I was thinking of first trying Proactive again (used it in college). I think you convinced me to do so! :)

  2. Congrats on the progress! I dont have adult acne but I did have acne this bad when I was younger. Its the most frustrating thing I swear.... I'm glad youre not feeling helpless and youre making beautiful strides!

  3. While pregnant, I got some baaaad breakouts. I'm usually pretty good when it comes to having clear-ish skin, so it was really emotional for me to feel fat and have a yucky face. I used tea tree oil from the body shop on blemishes and they usually cleared right up. Even now, two years post-partum, I still use it on trouble spots. I also have the body wash in case I get any blemishes on my chest or back and it does wonders.

  4. I have struggled with adult acne, but for whatever reason, my skin has cleared up and it's stayed like this for over a year! I was pregnant last year and using Bliss No Zit Sherlock with salicylic acid, but was told to refrain from using salicylic and benzoyl peroxide while pregnant. I stopped and switched to Clearasil and have just switched to Neutrogena naturals. In case you haven't, make sure with your OB that proactive is safe to use. Congratulations on the pregnancy and the clearer skin! :) Be well!

  5. When I commented on your post in Feb. I had just finished a 6 month round of accutane. When I saw no improvement during the accutane I felt really discouraged. But as soon as I finished the accutane the skin started to clear, it was amazing. I was basically blemish free for 6 months; at times I even forgot to put a stitch of makeup on before leaving for work. But in the last month or so I have had small flare ups, so far I am attributing it to the topical treatment the doc prescribed me. I have stopped using that and my skin is clearing somewhat again.

    But the improvement was amazing. I know there is alot of controversy around Accutane, but it is literally the only thing that worked for me. I was religious about how I took it, and I think that paid off. I don't really have any major scaring either. So I am very thankful.

    Now I have a strict routine. In the morning I am using Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream, a few touched of Almay acne concealer, and some blush. At night I wash my face with Aveeno Smart Essentials Daily Detoxifying Scrub (it has super tiny fine scrubby bits), then moisturize with Neutrogena Liquid Moisturizer (which seems to help calm inflamed spots even though it's not an acne cream).

    I have even started getting compliments on having nice skin. :) I feel like I still have a long road to go to having my old skin back, but I am thankful for the improvements.

  6. This is such a brave post, I really commend you on this! I thought about posting photos of my acne days & how I cleared it, but have always been too chicken.

    I suffered acne for years during college, and only in the past year I've really been able to clear it. I have to say:'s 2.5% Benzyl Peroxide was my miracle worker. I use it only at night and it honestly was the only thing that cleared up my skin.
    I also found that using strictly mineral makeups were gentler on my skin, and I happily use Everyday Minerals.
    I've always been curious to try out the baking soda scrub though, but have been too nervous. Do you leave it on like a masque, or just rinse it right off?

  7. i use it as a scrub/exfoliator. i use it after i wash my face. you jsut need a little bit of baking soda. i have a little tupperware container of baking soda in my shower that i use every night. you don't even need to make it into a paste since your face is already wet! i scrub in circular motions focusing on areas where it's the driest to get the dead skin off.

  8. First of all, you're beautiful.

    I suffered from Acne when I was ~19-22? it was a rollercoaster. I was dependent on my skin for events and never felt confident. Proactiv helped me so much! I think these are great posts!

  9. I do have adult acne that turns up at that time of the month, for christmas last year my brother gave me the clinque acne kit and I have been using it since the beginning of this year. My acne has really clear and when that time of the month comes around the acne I get is much much less more like a rash and in two days they are gone. But I am still stuck with acne scars and dark spots from my teenage acne years so am currently working on that. I am currently using the clean and clear 2 in 1 acne treatment and moisturizer and alternating with the Garnier spot corrector which has Glycolic acid in it. It is an overnight cream. I expoliate one a week with st ives apricot scrub. I have heard of the baking soda as an expoliating scrub but I have really sensitive skin that can get really irritated, dry and painful to touch which is why proactive does not really work for me. the Benzyl peroxide can be a bit much for me. I tend to lean towards the milder salysalic acid. And actually really happy with how my face looks now compared to last year, I had to change my foundation to a lighter one as most of my dark spots are gone and skin is evenout. Thanks Elaine for this post, I tell you there are so many ppl that you have touch with your bravery.

  10. its a brave post...:)
    But what I wanted to say was that BHA peels or BHA or Salicyclic Acid or retinoids containing face washes or face cream should be avoided during pregnancy. They may cause birth defects in child. I hope you know that..Just a caution...After pregnancy you should start a course of Accutane...does wonders for acne..cleared mine..:)

  11. A link about what to avoid..

  12. oh geez, good thing i have my appointment soon.. thanks!

  13. Okay, I am 37 and am still dealing with acne. I really didn't get it in high school or college but after I had my daughter my face BLEW UP!!! But, I have been trying some new things from Pinterest: like you I am scrubbing my face with the baking soda, salt, and water concoction. Then I use a mix of lemon juice, witch hazel, rubbing alcohol ( just a bit). Then a light schmear of moisturizer. About 3 nights a week I will also use a mask made of honey and lemon juice. I leave that on for about 10-15 minutes and my skin is as smooth as a baby's bum!

  14. Funny you should bring this up again now, as I am currently having a wild re-occurrence! I'm so bothered haha. What products are currently working for me? None, apparently! I read in some magazine that a combo of Yes! To Tomatoes blemish clearing wipes + a Philosophy salicylic spot treatment work wonders. So I am awaiting the Philosophy product in the mail, because those wipes don't seem to be doing much!

    Now, off to class to try to concentrate on the material instead of policing my hands from touching my chin! Wahhh.

  15. I've really struggled with my skin since I was a young teenager (I'll be 25 in November). While I have a long way to go, I've had a lot of success with using Alba's Acnedote face wash, tea tree oil as a toner, and vitamin e oil for moisture. I also use powdered mineral based makeup, because liquid foundation is way terrible for me. Since your skin is the largest organ your body has, and you absorb so much through your skin, I try to be really careful about what products I use. The biggest thing for me has just been to accept that I'll never have perfectly clear skin. While I hope that someday I will not have to deal with breakouts anymore, I will probably always have redness. Learning to be ok with this, and realizing that other people don't notice or don't care, has gone a long way for me being confident no matter what.

  16. I started using the Walmart knock off of ProActiv, and it is the best thing that has ever happened to me. My skin is soft and barely greasy after years of being an oil slick, and my breakouts are nowhere to be found. It has the exact same ingredients and is only 11.99 for the whole kit - or it's like four bucks for each separate step. I cannot reccommend it enough for anyone with acne issues!

  17. I don't have that much acne but sometimes it popped like hell.Btw I use clarisonic thrice a week to get rid of acne/dirt etc.And i love like a salon spa.

  18. I have always had issues with acne, ever since I started going through puberty. I got called every name in the book in high school...Pizza Face, Pus Face, you name it...middle school was harsh! By 8th grade it started to clear up though and you know what they say about karma? Well, one of my tormentors came back that year and was covered in them and he had acne all through high school. Anyway, I still get breakouts especially around the time of the month, but I recently started using this new cleanser my mom gets from Mary Kay and it is awesome! I can't think of which one it is, but I love it. For me, I have to switch cleansers each season. In the winter my skin gets so dry! But I recently became an Avon rep and I've found some stuff I want to try. I can't remember the name, but there is one that has a makeup remover and another that is a 3 in one cleanser, makeup remover and toner I think. So, I will have to try those out and let you know how it works.

    My name is Sarah btw, I am a new follower. My blog is Skylar Magazine, feel free to stop by any time! Great blog! I've really enjoyed reading:)


  19. I'm using MooGoo acne cream and it is good to keep acne away. Check out their users's comments n pics

  20. I'm 24 and have moderate to severe cystic acne on the lower half of my face (varies from moderate to severe depending on the time of the month). My doctor switched my birth control to Ortho Tri-Cyclen Lo, which has helped reduce the acne some. I was also prescribed Differen gel, which helped TONS. I wasn't able to treat my acne with over the counter products, none of them worked and many seemed to worsen it. Accutane is also not an option, since I took that at 18 and now have serious health problems as a result (Crohn's Disease). I urge everyone with acne to stay FAR AWAY from Accutane. It may clear your skin, but the other health risks related to it are very much not worth it.

  21. I have always used sugar as an exfoliant (stick a vanilla pod in the sugar & it smells lovely and provides a nice scent to your bathroom when you open the container). Baking soda can crystallize as it absorbs odor so keep it sealed in plastic or glass if you use it on your face (both because of the absorption & the smell). For toner, I use a mix of witch hazel (cheap!) and peppermint or lemon tea, and in the hardh Canadian winter I buy a bottle of rose water to add for extra hydration. Its cheap & it's always worked for me, plus you can control the ratio for your own needs.

  22. I've had acne since my teens and continued onto my 20's. I tried so many things. I use the it comes with cleanser, benzoly peroxide and moisturizer. It's the best my skin has ever been when it comes to acne. I noticed some drying but nothing the moisturizer can't fix. I bought the trial version which came to 50 with shipping but it lasted me over a month. Worth a try!

  23. :) let us know what ur Ob/Gyn said..would be heplful for preggers out there..:)

  24. Your skin looks so so good! All through my teenage years I had so-so skin.. nothing horrible but definitely never blemish-free. But two years ago (I can even remember the exact date) I developed a HORRIBLE break out.. ONLY on my lower right face. For basically a year it was constant break outs on top of break outs in that area of my face. It was horrible. Two years later.. still have the scars.. I guess we've both learned what a slow process it is to recovery, even after the breakouts end! But YAY for getting there!

  25. wow!!! I can really see the difference, You look AMAZING. I remember the previous post earlier this year and now... You can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Have fun seeing the great changes and trusting God for the outcomes!

  26. I'm 32 and have struggled with moderate to severe acne since my teens. Back then I tried so many things - pHisoderm cleanser, Cetaphil cleanser, Noxzema, Oxy 10 pads (those actually exacerbated the problem), benzoyl peroxide, witch hazel, rubbing alcohol, Neosporin...and those are just the ones I remember (because they worked so poorly). The only success I had back in those days came when my parents took me to the doctor, who started me on oral antibiotics. Those kept it in check really well for several years.

    Then I met my husband, and after we got married I was on the Pill for a few years. I had to discontinue the antibiotics because they decrease the Pill's effectiveness, but the hormones kept my acne in check.

    After a few years the Lord convicted me about using the Pill, and I promptly discontinued it. My acne came roaring back with a vengeance, worse than ever before. Where previously it had been fairly cyclic and confined to the T-zone, now it was all over (cheeks, neck, chest, back). My primary care doctor prescribed an oral antibiotic (minocycline) which helped some, but one night I was sitting on the couch with shorts on, and I noticed tons of dark purple bruises on my legs. A bit of a hypochondriac, I immediately started to worry I had leukemia. Then I did some research and learned that minocycline breaks down to a purplish-black color and gathers in dense areas of skin tissue (i.e., where there's been past bruising), resulting in what look like severe, fresh bruises. It's called minocycline hyperpigmentation. Turns out that particular antibiotic is not often prescribed for long-term use for that very reason.

    After that scare I decided I was worth the expense of seeing a dermatologist, and I found a great one who helped me get my acne under control once and for all. Oral doxycycline and washing my face with Purpose cleanser were the ticket for me. I was in my mid-20's and finally had clearer skin than I'd had in over a decade.

    When we decided to start a family, I knew I'd have to discontinue the oral antibiotics, as they can cause malformation of the bones and discoloration of the teeth in the unborn baby. Back to the dermatologist I went, and when I told her our plans she prescribed Finacea (azelaic acid) and clindamycin topical gel, both of which are safe to use during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Fortunately, my skin seems to have changed since having my children (ages 5, 2 1/2, and 12 months). It's still crazy-oily, and I still break out from time to time, but I haven't been back to the dermatologist in two years. Finacea is expensive because there is no generic and it's marketed for the treatment of rosacea, not acne, but it's worth its weight in gold. I don't use it on a daily basis anymore, but anytime I start to break out again, I'll use it once a day for a week at a time and it puts everything right. I still wash with Purpose and won't use anything else. I'm very careful about what I put on my skin (I'm sure you already know this, but no mineral oil), and I have to keep anything that touches my face (sunglasses, cell phone, pillowcase) meticulously clean.

    I'm very fair-skinned, and when my acne was at its worst about 7 years ago I was concerned that I'd have permanent scarring forever. Indeed, it did take a good few years for the discoloration to fade, and I have some pitting on my cheeks that will likely always be there unless I get it lasered. But no one notices, and quite often people comment about how smooth my skin is (I've become an expert at the art of concealment). It's been a long, hard road and I doubt that my struggle is over for good, but I am really enjoying the current respite.

    I say all this to say that your original adult acne post was what introduced me to your blog. I truly understand and appreciate all you've been through and wanted to offer some encouragement and join in the chorus of voices telling you you're not alone!

  27. hi Elaine. i struggled with adult acne too in my early twenties and it was horrible. after visiting a few dermatologists with no improvements i turned to an esthetician and started facial treatments. i also altered my diet and within a year my skin was clear. i think it was a phase my skin was going through as well.

  28. I used to suffer from extreme acne. I even used Accutane a few years ago but my oil skin returned and so did the acne. I only use all natural stuff now and it works 100% better. I use apple cider vinegar as a toner (make sure you buy the bottle with stuff floating, aka the "mother") every night after washing my face. ACV has natural bacteria killing properties. If it is too strong, dilute it with water before using a cotton ball to put it on your face. I let it dry for 15-30 minutes then wash my face with oatmeal. Oatmeal helps to calm the redness and has cleansing properties. I also use oatmeal in the morning shower to wash my face. At night I sometimes use 10% benzoyl peroxide but lately I discovered that pure lavender oil also kills any bacteria and is great for acne. After using every single med/oral/over the counter/etc, I did some research and discovered that all natural products are the way to go. It is both cheaper and better for you overall. This regime may sound too good to be true but it has been a life saver for me. I feel like you never hear these tips because doctors/companies just want you to spend money on their over priced items.

  29. oh goodness please say you aren't using retinoic acid now! (infamous teratogen in pregnant women...)

    regardless, you are beautiful, and i love your blog!

  30. Hi. Just found your blog and wanted to let you know I have suffered with acne since before I can remember......and I am 34 now. I recently started using Dr. Perricone's cleanser and am on my second bottle. It had worked miracles and my face is completely clear. I saw improvements from day one.

  31. Thank you for the update. We all know acne takes time to heal and days can seem like FOREVER, but eventually we get to a place where we are happy and content with what we see. I've been using Proactiv for almost 10 years (WOW!) and it's like a drug addition. I CANNOT get away from it. I use it religiously because if I skip a week or even a few days I start sprouting (and then crying because I've turn "ugly" -- Gosh we're so harsh on ourselves). I would recommend before it has been too long, but maybe you're a lucky one and can move away from Proactiv without any problems, to slowly wean yourself away from Proactiv.
    My cousin got adult acne after she graduated college and now uses laser treatments to fix the scares and the blemishes. Maybe you can look into that?

    All the best,

  32. Hi!

    I never had acne myself, but I have helped people that did. Since you used Nu Skins Moisture mist and have access, I wonder why don't you use all of Nu Skin Clear Action to be gentle to you skin? That is what I alway recommend my customers, it works wonders!

    Just curious.
    All the best,

  33. Hey, I myself had acne for about 7 years, and it was pretty bad a few years ago.
    So, what did HELP me, was something called "Bioresonance therapy", you should google it.
    Anyways, I don't know if it's available in America, since I live in Germany, but if it is, I strongly recommend anyone with acne at least to read something about it. Such products as listed above never helped me much, only did things worse for me(But may do good for other people, I don't know)...

    Anyways, I hope I kind of helped... I wish everyone with acne, that he/she recovers fast and have a wonderful day :)

  34. use herb can be useful.

  35. Roaccutane is the most effective way for acne treatment. There are no other medicines that treat acne like the way Roaccutane does. Roaccutane contains the active ingredient Isotretinoin. Isotretinoin reduces the excessive production of natural oil (sebum) produced by skin.