Here's How to Stop Acne in Its Tracks Without the Expensive Treatments


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If there is one thing that can have a mind of its own, it's acne. It seems like it comes and goes as it pleases, often leaving a parting gift or rather, won't leave at all. No matter the type, it can leave post-inflammatory signs, hyperpigmentation, or scarring, which can be quite frustrating, especially when you have to sift through hundreds of products that are aimed to help. The first step is to understand what it is, why it's starting up, and what our bodies are actually trying to tell us.

"A complicated symptom with many many factors involved, acne is rarely a result of dysbiosis exclusively on the skin, especially as adult acne differs from what I call 'classic acne,'" skincare expert Kristina Holey shares. Her treatment line with Marie Veronique contains ingredients to target inflammation, rebalance oil production, and restore microbial balance—all culprits in adult acne.


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Some of the usual causes can include hormonal imbalances, emotional stress, nutritional deficiencies, or misuse of harsh topicals. "Typically, adult acne is a result of a hormonal surge of androgens causing excess oil or the manufacturing of oil in the glands. Often we see these breakouts in the chin, jaw, near the ears (lymph zones), neck, temples, sometimes chest/body," shares Holey. Truth is, acne is usually never a result of "one" thing, and before you reach for the next quick-fix blemish gel, try these lifestyle changes.

1. Follow a Clean Diet


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"You can try every topical acne product out there and gain some temporary relief, but it will come back quickly if you don't do the internal work," Samantha Matteoni, an NYC- and L.A.-based aesthetician says. Our diet can significantly impact androgen levels and other hormones that play a role in the development of acne, so that's the reason why it's at the top of the list. That means avoiding packaged and processed foods and limiting refined sugar and saturated fats, such as dairy and oils.

2. Supplement (With Caution)


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"Supplements can help, however, they should be considered as medicine and taken seriously. I always suggest getting bloodwork and working with a specialist who can direct you towards reputable brands so you know you are taking something of high quality," Holey explains.

3. Protect From Outside Pollutants and Environmental Stressors


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There was a time when we thought that the sun actually dried acne out, but it actually does the opposite, as the sun bakes the oil into the pores. In case you didn't know, SPF is not optional. Sunscreen plays a key role in reducing the redness of acne, as well as preventing scars from forming and hyperpigmentation. Even when indoors, make SPF part of your daily habit, reapplying to protect against UVA rays that enter through the windows.

4. Don't Overdo It With the Products


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The saying stands true here: Less is always more. Plus, starting off slow helps reduce the chance of irritation. "Just cleansing and exfoliation won't clear up acne. In fact, too much can make it worse by drying the skin, creating an irritation that invites outside invasion by pathogens that can cause more breakouts," says Holey. "Keeping your lipid barrier nourished with oils, especially those high in omega-6 essential fatty acids (like safflower or sunflower oil) helps clear up congestion and protects from outside assault."

5. Understand What Your Skin Is Trying to Tell You


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Knowing why you're experiencing acne is always helpful in figuring out who to better treat the blemishes without overdoing it, which can create a worse environment. For me, processed snacks lead to forehead bumps, and refined sugars spike the hormone blood levels by my chin area. To keep the area clear, I use an exfoliator to increase the cellular turnover rate, which changes throughout our life.

"It's better to use a chemical exfoliant when working on acne-prone skin, " Matteoni says. "Whether through a machine, brush, or scrub, physical exfoliation can further irritate already inflamed skin. It's better to use a chemical exfoliant because they loosen the bonds that hold dead skin cells to the skin's surface. Look for an acid or enzyme exfoliant."

6. Invest in the Right Tools

7. Create Better Habits


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By eating more of an organic plant-based, sugar-free diet, supplementing the right way, and protecting and keeping your skin balanced, you can reduce inflammation and help your body release toxins. Additionally, managing stress levels (like by practicing breath work) and sleeping a solid eight hours both make a difference. When we freak out, our skin tends to freak out, too.

Avoid falling prey to endless empty promises that quick-fix products tout and instead make better habits that can avoid acne forming in the first place. Create a morning and nighttime routine you can easily stick to. If you take the time at night to care for your skin, all you need is a few seconds in the morning to wash off, and hydrate and protect with products like hyaluronic acid and an SPF.


This article is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to be used in the place of advice of your physician or other medical professionals. You should always consult with your doctor or healthcare provider first with any health-related questions.