Aren’t we too old for pimples? // Style Counsel

How-to make keep your skin looking its best

By Donna Wilson

On Wednesday November 24th, 2010

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photo by Big D2112Remember when you were a teenager and you thought you would never have to deal with blemishes once you turned 20? Well, now that you know you are never too old for a break out, here is a guide to keep your skin clear.

cleanserwash1. Cleanse gently

The most common misconception about blemishes is the idea that a strong face cleanser is necessary. This idea is counterproductive to your goal of clear skin. Harsh cleansers dry out and sensitize skin, causing even more blemishes. Use a gentle overall cleanser, and save the aggressive approach for spot treatments (explained below). I highly recommend Spectro Jel ($15, drugstores) for all skin types. If you have very oily skin, you can use a stronger cleanser a maximum of every other day. Neutrogena Acne Wash ($6.50, drugstores) is a classic for a reason: it works.

wave2. Exfoliate

It is important to remove dead skin cells that may be clogging your pores and therefore causing blemishes. But put down that apricot scrub you have been using; it is too harsh for the thin skin on your face and will cause it to tear, ageing you prematurely. Instead, try Neutrogena Wave Original ($7.99, drugstores) about three times a week. The device gently vibrates, allowing the scrubbing pads to exfoliate your skin without tearing.

regenerist3. Moisturize

Choose a light moisturizer that will not clog your pores. At the same time, you may also be looking for an anti-aging formula. Olay Regenerist Serum ($27, drugstores) fits the bill perfectly and contains ingredients that exfoliate, encourage cell renewal and decrease inflammation, fighting blemishes and aging all at the same time.

lotion4. Spot treat

The two magical ingredients of spot treatment are benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid. Benzoyl peroxide creams are stronger and go on white; therefore, use them only at night. Try Spectro Gel’s Deep Pore Vanishing Lotion ($6, drugstores), at 5% benzoyl peroxide, or pick up Specto’s cream for sensitive skin with 2.5% benzoyl peroxide.

clean & clearalmacSalicylic acid gels go on clear to fight blemishes all day. Try a gel like Clean and Clear Invisible Blemish Treatment ($9, drugstores) or a concealer containing salicylic acid like Almay Clear Complexion Concealer ($8, drugstores).

5. See a dermatologist

If you are truly struggling with blemishes or acne, ask your family doctor to refer you to a dermatologist. There are many things that can be done that you. For example, adult acne is often hormonal and a dermatologist can recommend helpful dietary changes.

Hopefully my advice helps you deal with the disappointing reality of adult break outs. On the bright side, at least the necessary products can be picked up from the drug store at teenager prices!


Donna Wilson is a Toronto-based commercial litigator at Affleck Greene McMurtry LLP. Her style and beauty column appears every second Wednesday.

Top photo by Big D2112