Acne At All Ages -- Dr. Murad

"I never had acne as a teenager. Now I'm 40 and I'm having a serious outbreak. What should I do?"

Please know you are not alone, some people go their entire lives with blemish-free skin and then as adults suddenly they get acne outbreaks. Others have acne on and off throughout their lives. The truth is, at different ages and stages of your life, you can get acne for different reasons.

These include:

  • Teenage acne. This occurs mainly down the middle of your face and is exacerbated as hormones surge throughout adolescence. Teenage acne tends to be oilier, so I recommend products that include salicylic and glycolic acids to deep-clean the pores, and hydrogen peroxide to purify the skin without drying it out.
  • Adult female acne. This is common in women between 20 and 30 and is usually associated with stress and environmental factors like pollution. Recent studies have proven a direct link between stress and acne. Researchers believe that it is the increase of glucocorticoids and adrenal androgens, both hormones known to worsen acne, that are released during periods of emotional stress. These hormones stimulate the sebaceous glands, causing excess oil to build up in your pores, contributing to more acne. Other outside elements that can cause and aggravate acne in adult women include excess sun exposure, poor diet and contact with substances such as heavy fabric softeners, oily makeup or some hair care products. This kind of acne tends to require products that treat acne but also remedy dehydration and include ingredients that leave skin with a matte texture.
  • Hormonal acne. This is common in women as they enter perimenopause and menopausal ages. As early as the mid-30s, estrogen levels can begin to decline, causing changes in the skin that include not only acne, but increased facial hair, and dull, thinning skin. For hormonal acne, I recommend the topical application of products that include retinol, or azeleic and salicylic acids to reduce breakouts and decrease oil production. Additional ingredients such as phytoestrogens and panthenol help to soothe and calm skin.

See Dr. Murad's list of recommended products >>>

Dr. Murad's Recommended Products

For Teens:
Product name: Murad Acne Complex Kit
What it does: Contains clarifying cleanser, exfoliating acne treatment, skin-perfecting lotion, acne spot treatment. In independent clinical studies, over 90 percent of the participants using this system experienced a reduction in blemishes in just four weeks.
Price: $59.90
Available at:

Product name: Murad Pure Skin Clarifying Supplement
What it does: This nutritional supplement contains vitamin A and zinc to control breakouts, and antioxidants like grape seed extract to help keep skin healthy and protected. Reduces breakouts from the inside by 55 percent in six weeks.
Price: $35
Available at:

For Adult Acne:
Product name: Murad Moisturizing Acne Treatment Gel
What it does: This product dehydrates skin while controlling blemishes; oil-free with a matte finish.
Price: $34
Available at:

Product name: Murad Essential-C Daily Renewal Complex Treatment
What it does: A daily topical vitamin C treatment to help fade pigmentation and reduce redness.
Price: $80
Available at:

For Hormonal Acne:
Product name: Resurgence(r) Age-Balancing Night Cream
What it does: This product contains retinol to keep pores clear, which will help you control occasional breakouts. A bonus: It has a hair-growth inhibitor system containing chaparral and saw palmetto extracts.
Price: $70
Available at:

Product Name: Anti-Aging Acne Treatment
What it does: Smoothes away lines and reduces blemishes with a patented dual-action treatment.
Price: $42
Available at:

Read more Acne FAQs by Dr. Howard Murad

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