A top dermatologist reveals how to deal with breakouts in adulthood

His answer may surprise you

BeautyCrew Beauty Editor / August 26 2019

When you think of acne, you probably get a PTSD-esuqe flashback to your teen years, but for a lot of people, acne persists well into adulthood (even into your 50s!). During the latest episode of the Get Lippy podcast, we decided to take advantage of dermatologist Dr Dennis Gross’ expertise and ask him, “What is the deal with acne in adulthood, and what can we do to keep it under control?”

According to Dr Gross, “Every form of acne starts with a blocked pore.”

“When you talk about hormonal acne, what you're talking about is hormones causing that pore to be blocked. How exactly? Because the hormones are actually working on receptors that the oil glands have in the skin,” he explains.

“It changes the oil in such a way that instead of flowing like a liquid, it [becomes a] little bit [heavier]. So instead of being…like an oil, it becomes a little bit more like a pasty substance.”

The body goes through hormonal changes all of the time, but Dr Gross explains that the issue is when the change in hormone levels is abrupt and extreme, and that’s what results in blocked pores and hormonal acne.

“The skin likes a gradual change, but an abrupt change like starting birth control pills or stopping birth control pills…Pregnancy... Even menopause past the forties. Any change in hormone levels, the skin has no time to adjust.”

So, what can we do to manage it? Surprisingly, Dr Gross is not a fan of ‘fix it now’ solutions for hormonal acne. Instead he recommends taking preventative measures and using a combination of facial peels, exfoliation and retinol to unclog pores, encourage cell turnover and ensure pores don’t experience any future blockages that may result in a breakout.

We know what you’re thinking: “But what if I already have a breakout?” Tune into the episode of Get Lippy below to find out what Dr Dennis Gross recommends for dealing with it (plus don’t miss his lowdown on chemical exfoliation, and the ingredients that work just as well as injectables, and our hack for applying winged eyeliner perfectly in seconds):

Tried every solution under the sun and still having issues tackling your acne? This could be why you’re still getting acne.

What are some of the lifestyle changes you’ve made that have helped with your hormonal acne? Let us know in the comments below.

Main image credit: @bellathorne

Briar Clark got her start in the media industry in 2017, as an intern for Marie Claire and InStyle. Since then, her keen interest in fashion and beauty has landed her gigs as a Digital Content Producer and Beauty Editor with titles like Girlfriend, Refinery29, BEAUTYcrew and beautyheaven. She loves the way seemingly innocuous topics like skin care and style have the ability to put a smile on people’s faces or make them think about themselves a little differently. A big believer in self love and experimentation, Briar has made a point of becoming the Australian beauty industry’s unofficial guinea pig for unusual treatments and daring hair trends. When she’s not testing out the latest beauty launches, Briar is big on broadening her horizons, mostly in the form of food but she’s also partial to travelling to new destinations both near and far (and of course, allocating an extra bag to bring their best beauty offerings home with her).