4 Ways I Healed My Confidence-Crushing Adult Acne

Since turning 30 last September, I spent the majority of this past year struggling with adult acne. I was fortunate to not have a ton of outbreaks in my teenage years, but that left me clueless when it came to dealing with skincare issues during this “second puberty” period.

Feeling out of control over my appearance really hit my confidence hard. As a speaker, I’m supposed to get on stage feeling ready to own it, and instead I was caking on makeup that left my skin even more upset, and left me feeling insecure and distracted.

So after months of persistent, cystic acne that just wouldn’t go away, I reached out publicly on Instagram, desperate for your help:

Since then, I’ve been on a journey that left my skin looking more radiant and healthy than ever. I’m proud to say I even went foundation-free on my wedding day last month! Take a look for yourself: 

Emilie wedding day prep with sister Isabel

My little sister, Isabel, helping me get ready. Photo credit: Emma Keith Photography

Here are the skin-clearing strategies and products that worked for me.

I hope they’ll help those of you who are feeling as frustrated and fed-up about adult acne as I was.

Opt for an Oil Cleanser

My skin has always been on the dry side, so the harsh exfoliants and salicylic acid-based treatments I’d been buying at the drugstore were actually hurting my skin even more.

As Denise Cartwright, the Founder of Crude Personal Care taught me, “harsh exfoliants strip the skin’s natural moisture barrier and destroy it’s microbiome, making it harder for the skin to heal and regenerate itself.”

I’ll be the first to admit that it felt totally counter-intuitive to add oil to a pimple-packed face, but I was open to trying anything. So I starting using the oil cleanser that Denise originally developed in her kitchen for her own skincare clients, and has since grown into her multi-million dollar minimalist skincare business.

Within just a few weeks of cleansing each morning and night with Crude Cleanse, my skin had a new level of moisture, elasticity, and softness to it. Plus – it was like my acne began healing itself! I haven’t looked back since – in fact, I just ordered my third big bottle of this stuff – and I cannot recommend it more.

If you do give Denise’s incredible line of products a try, make sure to use code BossedUp at checkout to save 20% off your purchase, too!

Sleep in a Custom Cure

While I was changing up my cleansing routine, I also wanted to bring in the big guns when it came to finding an acne-fighting moisturizer, too. My sister, Isabel, who struggled with persistent acne throughout her teenage years, found great results with Curology, and encouraged me to sign up for their free trial.

I was pleased to see their free trial bottle contained of an entire month’s supply of product, and by the time that month was winding down, I was already hooked. Not only was the overnight treatment working incredibly well, their customer service was seriously on point.

A certified physician’s assistant reviewed photos I took and uploaded of my problematic skin. She reviewed my specific skincare issues and emailed me with a detailed plan of action. The three different medications she recommended for my original formula spoke to my exact needs: combating bacterial acne, reducing scarring, and providing some wrinkle-smoothing properties while we’re at it.

The medical provider broke down all the big scientific terms and explained exactly what would be in my customized formula, which included:

    • azelaic acid: an antibacterial that reduces redness, hyperpigmentation, and blocked pores;
    • clindamycin: an antibacterial and anti-inflammatory, and;
  • niacinamide: a form of vitamin B3 that fights inflammation and dark spots/post-acne marks.

It was easy to apply a thin layer over my face after washing right before bed each night, and let the product do all the work in my sleep! I was emailed regularly to see how things were going and if the formula needed any adjustments. Each month’s supply was mailed to me automatically (no having to remember to re-order!) for only $19.95 + shipping.  I consider this a total steal given that after a few weeks of treatment, my deep, painful, cystic acne had all but vanished!

I’ve been recommending Curology ever since – especially to my friends who are dealing with acne triggered by suspected hormonal changes, like I was. Try a free super-size trial for yourself signing up here today – and if you do, let me know what you think!

Go Pro – Without Paying Top Dollar

Everyone I spoke with encouraged me to seek out professional help. But after two facials with two different estheticians (a word I still cannot pronounce, by the way), I was broke! That ish is expensive!

And to be honest, two visits weren’t enough to get to the bottom of my skincare issues and come up with a concrete plan. Both professionals had different theories and I knew I needed to find a way to work with the same person over the next few months.

So I hit up Groupon, and seized one of their special sales when all beauty and wellness deals are an extra 20% off. It seems Groupon often has these “beauty week” bargains, so keep an eye out for the opportunity for double savings.

I snagged a 3-pack of facials with an esthetician in my area that had dropped majorly in price. It was already a pretty good deal at $99 and then because of the wellness week sale, I ended up paying only $74.25 for the trio!

Before I bought, I did my due diligence and stalked the provider on Yelp to make sure I wasn’t in for any unpleasant surprises, and sure enough, she was great! If you do go this route, just remember to tip providers on the full, regular price per session, which will add to the costs you’ll want to factor in for each visit.

Monthly facials not only super-charged my acne-healing process and kept my pores clear, they also afforded me a sounding board with a licensed professional. Together we strategized over different solutions throughout those key early months of experimenting.

I was so pleased with my experience, that I continue to book facials with her on a need-to-go basis, and even booked a pre-wedding one for Brad (his very first!) a week and half before our wedding day!

Get Your Hormones in Check

One reason I suspect my acne hit me hard at 30 is due to hormonal changes that can happen around this “second puberty” period. I recommend working with a medical professional to learn more, because unfortunately, I found a LOT of confusing, contradictory advice on the internet about it. And while nothing in my annual physical exam or blood work stood out as abnormal, I suspected my hormonal balance was off when my mood starting swinging (more than usual) and period cramps worsened.

After being blissfully off hormonal birth control for almost 4 years, I decided to get back on The Pill to make sure if a hormonal balance was to blame, I was doing everything I could to fix it. It’s been almost 9 months of being back on it without too much in the way of side effects, but I am looking into alternative methods of pregnancy prevention, too.

After about 6 months of being back on The Pill, I noticed some increased feelings of anxiety and depression around the week of my period. While I could certainly do without those side effects – which in the past have worsened over time – I’m monitoring them and exploring alternatives in the meantime. But if my suspicions are right and getting my hormones in check are part of what cleared up my skin, that was reason enough for me to give it a try.

Are you struggling with adult acne?

I’d love to hear what you’ve found helpful in clearing up your skin, too! Share your experience in the comments section below and let me know if you give any of these strategies a try, too.


Disclaimer: I’m an emphatic fan of all the products and services detailed here, which is why I’m recommending them. That said, some of the offers above also include affiliate links, which means at no cost to you, I may earn money if you click through to make purchase. If you do, thanks for supporting Bossed Up!

LIKE THIS POST?

Then you’ll love our FREE job search checklist!

Download yours now: