Please upgrade your browser for the best Refinery29 experience. Read more.
Spots are supposed to happen at a time when life's biggest stresses are late-night exam cramming, deciding on an Instagram filter and the next-day shame after getting drunk off one too many WKDs. They shouldn't happen when you’re leading board meetings and business brunches. The reality is that adult acne is now practically epidemic with over 50% of women over the age of 25 suffering, and it’s increasing year on year.
"Typically teenage acne will clear up once you finish puberty and your hormones settle", explains Debbie Thomas, Advanced Skin Specialist. "Acne continues into adulthood if you suffer continual hormonal imbalance (hence the flare ups) which are often triggered by diet and stress – modern life can be pretty full on." Consequently, these late onset hormonal spots tend to be angrier and more inflamed, often as red cysts clumping around your chin, which is why they take longer to heal and are trickier to control than they were in your teens.
"Where most people go wrong is that they’re overly harsh and try to strip the skin of oil in the hope they can literally scrub spots off. But adult acne isn’t an oily issue – it’s an inflammatory one and requires a sensitive approach to not aggravate it further," advises Dr Jane Leonard, GP and Hormone Specialist. So if your bathroom is host to a graveyard of half-used bottles that promised so much but left you bitterly disappointed, bin the lot and give the products ahead a go.