Acne for the 21+ crowd

A recent article from The New York Times reported that acne isn’t just something that only teens deal with.  45% of women between 21 and 30 have acne, 26% between 31 to 40, and 12% between 41 and 50.

From the article:

There is no definitive proof that specific foods cause breakouts, but some medical professionals say diet can play a role. “Whenever hormones surge — around your period, during perimenopause and menopause, when you’re pregnant, when you start or stop the Pill, and, yes, when you’re stressed or eat hormone-enhanced foods, i.e. nonorganic meat and dairy, skin changes can occur.”

I know a lot of the 21 and up crowd out there will agree with me that stress plays a HUGE role in your skin.  I’ve personally experienced this during stressful times at school and work – my skin will completely freak out in parts of my face that don’t typically break out, around the periphery of my face and where the hollows of my cheekbones would be if I had them.

I’ve been trying to deal with this with my usual arsenal of products:

In addition to stress, diet supposedly causes acne breakouts as well but there seems to be mixed research on this.  According to another article,

Diary and sugar (in all its blood sugar raising forms)–both cause spikes in certain pimple producing hormones. Dairy boosts male sex hormones (various forms of testosterone or androgens) and increases insulin levels just as foods that quickly raise blood sugar (sugar and starchy carbs) spike insulin.

I’ve heard of many cases where women cut out dairy to clear up their skin.  I’m currently experimenting to see if this might work for me, so I’m replacing dairy with soy milk.  I’ve only been trying this for about a week so far so it’s too early to tell.  Overall, I find that my skin in general is much more sensitive to the food I’m eating – I used to be able to eat salty snacks on end with no visible evidence on my face, but now it’s not the case.  Lots of water and eating fresh foods definitely help detoxify inside and out.

How do you treat acne?  Do you eat/avoid certain foods?


  1. Mimi

    I read this article too and I totally have these issues! I really want to try the La Roche Duo. I like the Kate Sommerville drying lotion that is similar to the Mario Badescu. I also liked my Kiehl’s blue spot treatment. I generally stray away from products with benzol because they ruin all my products but I did had a Duac prescription gel that worked well. I’m currently on Retin Micro which seems to help a little but my skin still is far from perfect. I actually started these MSM supplements which help and will blog about those soon. Seriously living in NYC causes so much congestion on my skin I’m not sure what to do besides moving!

  2. Lydia

    I currently use Duac as well, applying it once every other day. I’m concerned about continuing to use antibiotics, as you eventually become resistant to it. I’ve already gone through several other topical and oral antibiotics to treat acne, and switched whenever they stopped working for me. I use DDF’s Sulfur Therapeutic Mask every once in a while to treat breakouts. I used to love Neutrogena’s Advanced Solutions Peel, which worked for me as well, but it’s been discontinued. Murad is another brand with a good selection of strong acne products.

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