In Your 20s
Younger women should start their attack on breakouts by opting for lightweight skin-care products, because their skin still produces a fair amount of natural oils. "I tell my patients to look for non-comedogenic gels, lotions, and serums that won't further clog pores," advises Friedman. "Also, you don't want to overdo it with harsh cleansers, so find a gentle wash to use daily."
DDF Blemish Foaming Cleanser, $32; drugstore.com
In Your 30s
"As women in their 30s and 40s approach menopause, their menstrual cycles become less consistent, which can result in increased breakouts," says Friedman. For many, this type of hormone-related acne appears along the chin and jawline in the form of cystic nodules. "See your doctor if you experience this," notes Friedman. "The best cure might be taking low-dose birth control pills to regulate hormone activity."
Because slightly older skin doesn't heal as quickly as younger dermises (scarring, yikes!), go full throttle when you notice the occasional breakout, and try a three-step skin-care system that works to remove impurities while hydrating parched skin. We like this kit because it also helps reduce redness for sensitive skin-types.
Clinique Acne Solutions Clear SKin System, $32.50; nordstrom.com
In Your 40s
"The reality of aging is that our skin produces less oil and collagen over time," notes Friedman. "So, I recommend that my patients over 40 opt for more hydrating products to treat their acne, like creams." Since acne isn't just limited to the face, remember to moisturize from head to toe to prevent body breakouts, in addition to scaly patches.
"Once you get to a certain age, it's more important to look at the concentration of active ingredients that you're using, than the product itself," adds Friedman. "Women who are predisposed to dry, sensitive skin should look for lower levels of actives, like two percent salicylic acid, when selecting spot treatments." We like this formula because it tightens pores (another telltale sign of aging) as it erases pesky pimples.
La Roche-Posay Effaclar K Daily Renovating Anti-Relapse Acne Treatment, $27.50; amazon.com
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Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.