Can we talk about Adult Acne for a minute? I’ve found myself totally caught off guard by it. I feel a little like when a friend who’s going to have a baby soon, asks me for breastfeeding advice, and among other things I tell her that nursing is curl-your-toes painful for a few weeks, and she nods like she’s taking it in. But then she calls me when the baby is 2 weeks old and the nipple scabs are forming and she can’t figure out why no one told her that nursing hurts like the devil.

I know I was warned about acne-for-grownups, but I guess I didn’t believe it? Or thought it was like a one week sort of thing? For most of my 20’s and 30’s I might get a breakout the week before my period, but usually it was no big deal. These days, it’s like a daily thing. Turns out it’s a longer phase than I anticipated. So lately, I’ve turned my attention to actively combatting it.

Things I’m using right now:

1) Rika Light Therapy Facial Massager. Each night, I use the blue light (which supposedly kills bacteria) for about 10 minutes, then I use the red light (which supposedly promotes healing) for about 10 minutes. Does it work? The jury is still out, but I do feel like I’ve seen improvement. My skin’s not flawless, but there have been less breakouts, no “deep” acne, and more even skin tone while using the Rika.

Honestly, I don’t know how much data there is to even back light therapy up. The reason I tried it is that Mindy Kaling recommended a light-therapy-bacteria-killing tool in her book. But when I looked it up, it gets mediocre reviews and has a fairly high price. So I tried the Rika wand instead — which had a $20 off coupon, so it ended up being half the price of Mindy’s recommendation. And I figured it was worth a try.

2) The light therapy instructions say to apply a serum or oil before you begin, which makes sense. You’re basically using the wand to slowly massage your face, and using an oil helps. I’ve been using Bio-Oil. I can’t even remember how I ended up with the Bio-Oil. I think it was maybe in a welcome back at a conference? The reviews on it are vast — over 5000 on Amazon.

3) I’ve been a Clarisonic user since my Colorado days. I still use it daily in the shower. I remember it making a huge difference when I first started using it. Does it still make a difference? I honestly don’t know, it’s basically habit at this point and I haven’t thought to question it.

4) During the day, I wear Mom’s Stuff Protective Day Face Balm. I love this stuff so much. It doesn’t have added sunblock, but the ingredients are apparently naturally sun blocking. If I was really going to be in the sun, I’d add sunblock just in case.

Things I want to try:

5) I briefly mentioned adult acne in a Friday link list, and a reader commented:
Differin has been wonderful for treating my adult acne AND I’m definitely seeing improvements in wrinkles and hyperpigmentation with it too after a year of daily of use. It is prescription strength vitamin A cream that is very similar to Retin A except it does not have the same flaky/sensitivity side effects. It was made available over the counter relatively recently and is affordable. (You can get it in the skin care aisle at nearly any drugstore or Target.) I saw pretty immediate results in breakouts but the wrinkle softening effects took months to kick in. I was a Retin A user for years but my skin became intolerant of it so I thought I’d give Differin a try. It’s become a daily holy grail product for me!

I’ve been dying to try it ever since I read her ringing endorsement. Have you tried it?

6) Lastly, I haven’t gone to the dermatologist yet. But I’m thinking about it. Recently, we tried an online dermatology appointment for my daughter, and I might try it for myself as well. Basically you upload photos of your skin and describe the problem, and a doctor takes a look and calls in prescriptions to your preferred pharmacy. It’s super convenient and totally makes sense if you have a fairly ordinary skin problem.

Your turn. How’s your skin these days? Have you tried anything — medicine, food, cleanser, DIY toner, tools — that gave you a big improvement skin-wise? Any favorites you’d recommend? Please chime in.

P.S. — Homemade natural facials.