Acne-Prone Skin: A Guide to Healing Adult Acne by NUME-Lab

Struggling with acne-prone skin is not a concern reserved for teenagers only. Pro acne skin is a significant concern of adults as well.

Whether hormones or genes are the cause, adult acne-prone skin needs an appropriate skincare routine, and most of all – consistency.

Let’s see how to cure your acne once and for all!

Table of Contents

acne prone skin woman numelab
acne prone skin numelab

What Exactly Is Acne-Prone Skin?

Acne-prone skin is typically skin that’s prone to breakouts of pimples and comedones. This skin type always comes with an excess sebum production triggered by an underlying cause such as hormonal imbalance.

Acne-prone skin entails acne breakouts that persist long after the teenage years. Furthermore, this acne is often inflammatory and can severely impact a person’s confidence and quality of life.

Which Skin Types Are Most Prone to Acne?

There are different types of skin: oily, dry, combined, sensitive, or normal skin type. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not just oily skin that’s prone to acne. All skin types can experience acne, even dry skin.

How to tell your skin type?

Clean your face from any skincare products or makeup thoroughly, and then wash it with pure water. Pat-dry your face with a towel and don’t apply any products. Wait some time, and then touch it and look into a mirror.


  • Shiny and greasy – oily skin;
  • Flaky and rough to the touch – dry skin;
  • Oily T-zone/dry elsewhere – combined skin;

If you are the sensitive skin type, you probably experience reactions to external factors such as inappropriate skincare products, allergens, bacteria, and similar. Due to undesirable reactions to harsh ingredients, sensitive skin types usually require a persistent routine with natural cosmetics products (clean).

How Does Acne Develop?

The pores on your face or the hair follicles that you see are tiny holes filled with sebum and dirt (yuck!). These are your typical blackheads or whiteheads that you can easily squeeze out. Inflammation occurs when this excess sebum (hyper-seborrhea) mixes with bacteria, resulting in the appearance of red, bumpy acne.

Possible Causes of Acne-Prone Skin

We know that the cause of acne is excess sebum production and an accumulation of dirt and bacteria in your pores. But, what triggers this?


Dermatologists believe that genes play a role in whether or not you’ll struggle with acne at some point in your life. For instance, if one or both of your parents struggled with acne, the risk of you having acne increases.

Hormonal imbalance

The main difference between AHAs and BHAs is that AHAs are water-soluble, and BHAs are oil-soluble. That means that BHAs are especially useful for controlling excess sebum production in acne-prone skin or oily skin. However, they’re still exfoliating acids that can result in purging. 

In skincare products, you’ll typically find BHAs listed as:

  • Salicylic Acid
  • Betaine Salicylate
  • Willow Bark Extract
  • Salicylate
  • Trethocanic Acid
  • Sodium Salicylate

Certain medications

Drugs and medicines like birth control pills or corticosteroids can also cause acne. Tell your dermatologist everything you’re taking, from supplements to doctor-prescribed medication.

Diet and lifestyle

Diet and lifestyle can also contribute to acne. Eating food high in trans fats and animal fats can trigger hormonal imbalance and excess sebum production, resulting in frequent acne breakouts. Not regular facial cleansing and not treating with the right face moisturizer can also cause acne.  

Different Types of Acne

In general, there are two main types of acne: inflammatory and non-inflammatory. Let’s see all their subcategories.


  • Blackheads – open pores filled with dirt, bacteria, and excess sebum. They’re exposed to air and oxygenize, which gives them the black appearance;
  • Whiteheads – clogged and closed pores where dirt, bacteria, and excess sebum are trapped. They’re not exposed to oxygen, which is why they remain white;


  • Papules – red or pink inflamed bumps that don’t contain pus;
  • Pustules – similar to papules, but with pus. You’ll recognize them by their white center;
  • Nodules – red or skin-colored bumps that are hard to the touch and deep under the skin;
  • Cysts – similar to nodules, only filled with pus and softer to the touch. Cysts are the most severe acne type – they can be painful and cause scarring;

Body Areas Prone to Acne

Acne most commonly appears on the face, especially on the T-zone – forehead, nose, and chin. However, sometimes acne can pop up on your back, shoulders, and even on your chest.

How to Treat Acne?

Natural and highly effective anti-acne products

Your first line of defense against acne can be a natural anti-acne face cream and cleanser with active ingredients. Look for products that contain Glycolic Acid, Snail Mucin Extract, Vitamin C and A, Aloe vera, etc. Acne-prone skin products with those ingredients have the most healing features.

Prescription medication

You can use prescription medication when topical anti-acne products aren’t enough. But, many of these medicines have unwanted side effects. Oral contraceptives, antibiotics, Isotretinoin, or Spironolactone, are medications they might prescribe you.

Diet and lifestyle alterations

Dietary changes, stress reduction, and an exercise plan can be of great help when fighting acne. Eat a cleaner diet and sweat those toxins out by engaging in some physical activity.

Acne-Prone Skin Routine

Morning cleansing with gentle exfoliation

Use an acne-prone skin cleanser rich in active ingredients such as Snail Mucin, Aloe vera, Vitamin C, or Glycolic acid. If you have sensitive skin, use clean beauty brand products and minimalist skincare without any parabens, sulfates, and similar additives.


Moisturize with a water-based anti-acne cream

Using an anti-aging face cream for acne-prone skin is your best bet for healing adult acne. Ideally, the best acne-prone skin moisturizer will contain Hyaluronic acid, Snail Mucin Extract, and Vitamins C, E, and A.


Use SPF protection during daytime

Never leave your home without sunscreen, regardless of the season. UV rays can age your skin and cause permanent damage. A good acne-prone skin brand sunscreen can help you stay protected.


Avoid makeup, or use non-comedogenic makeup
When choosing an acne-prone skin foundation, the last thing you need is an oily product that clogs your pores further. If you can’t avoid makeup entirely, at least use a water-based, non-comedogenic foundation.


Evening cleansing and makeup removal

Before bed, cleanse your face and remove any remains of makeup and accumulated throughout the day. Remember – never go to sleep without thoroughly washing your face with the right facial cleanser.


AHA-based night serums or peels

And finally, boost your adult acne healing with a high-quality AHA-based night serum. Look for a good percentage of Glycolic acid as one of the best AHAs for adult acne-prone skin.

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