Adult acne affects roughly 15-percent of women, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. As you age, your skin loses its full-grade plumpness and elasticity (collagen breakdown begins at 25), which is why treating acne as an adult can start to get tricky. With thinner skin, your complexion's more prone to irritation—which means skin-care actives like benzoyl peroxide may not be your best bet on breakouts.
What can ya do? According to Joshua Zeichner, MD, a New York City-based dermatologist, there are two specific star skin-care ingredients that are effective—and gentle enough—to treat both acne and fine lines: retinoids and salicylic acid. "You need to make sure that the acne products are in line with other aesthetic needs of the patients," Dr. Zeichner said during a virtual panel on acne. "That's where topical retinoids are really helpful, and ingredients like salicylic acid, because they both give exfoliating benefits, and skin brightening and evening benefits, and retinoids can also help to stimulate collagen production."
So, if you are trying to treat acne and want something anti-aging in your beauty regimen, turn to these two ingredients in your skin-care routine. Keep scrolling to shop for products that give you both.
Star dermatologist Dennis Gross, MD is the king of combining alpha-hydroxy and beta-hydroxy acids for ultimate pore clearing. This bottle contains a potent mix of both exfoliants, retinol, and a special mushroom extract that works to control oil production.
Thanks to the skin-smoothing concoction of salicylic acid, alpha-hydroxy acids, and retinol, this serum sucks everything from your pores as it plumps your complexion over time.
Shop now: DermaDoctor Picture Porefect Pore Minimizer, $42
3. Klur Stellar Restoration Serum, $98
You'll get a multivitamin for your face every time you apply this serum: It's got a plethora of skin health essentials, from antioxidants to retinol and willow bark extract (a natural form of salicylic acid) plus hydrating ingredients like aloe vera and squalene.
Shop now: Klur Stellar Restoration Serum, $98
4. Biopelle KNR Brightening Serum, $126
Though this one's more of a splurge, it's the epitome of an active serum: It has time-released doses of retinol, salicylic acid, collagen-stimulating peptides, and pigmentation-fighting kojic acid. The result? Smoother, brighter, breakout-free skin.
Shop now: Biopelle KNR Brightening Serum, $126
Acne topicals can sometimes be really intense, but this treatment is really lightweight even though it delivers the two derm-approved acne-fighting, anti-aging ingredients that you need. Even better? It's got algae extracts and hyaluronic acid to keep your skin barrier calm.
Shop now: Kate Somerville EradiKate Salicylic Acid Acne Treatment, $58
Watch the video below to get more dermatologist intel on treating adult acne:
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