Welcome to the Golden Age of adult acne, where breakouts can persist for decades after your braces come off.
Although dermatologists continue to debate how we got here (hormones in the food chain? stress?), pharmaceutical antidotes multiply daily. But, says Carmel O'Neill, owner of Manhattan's Renew skin-care spa, "The side effects -- such as dryness, peeling, and irritation -- are sometimes worse than the acne itself."
O'Neill has found success using fruit acids and other natural remedies instead. Results come more slowly, but the techniques keep skin clear and healthy. "I compare skin care to driving a car: Better to proceed with caution, even if you're not making record time." In most cases, results appear in one month or less, she says.
Korres Natural Products Wild Rose Imperfection-Targeting Oil
Wild rose oil, which contains skin repairing vitamin C, can diminish acne-induced redness. Swipes of this pen may also reduce fine lines, scars, and other minor annoyances.
Derma E Tea Tree and E Face and Body Wash
Naturally antiseptic tea tree oil is the plant world's acne-fighting weapon of choice. This cleanser targets both facial blemishes and the dreaded "backne."
Renew Glycolic Pads
Derived from sugar, the glycolic acid in these pads exfoliates pore-clogging dead cells. It can produce redness at first, but with time it can minimize both acne and fine lines.
Aubrey Organics Amino Derm Gel
Along with more recognizable skin-clearing agents (like witch hazel), amino acids are on this gel's ingredients list. High in sulfur, amino acids help break up oil deposits that can block pores.
Boscia Clarifying Detox Mask
Phellodendron bark extract and kaolin clay absorb skin "impurities" like oil and bacteria, while willow soothes red, irritated skin.
Text by Abbie Kozolchyk