Acne in My 40'S!

Updated on November 04, 2014
G.T. asks from Canton, MA
14 answers

I've had acne most of my adult life - but mostly is has been on and off and pretty annoying. However lately, this is ridiculous. The breakouts are worse with larger pimples that sometimes are sore, the breakouts are constant, now even on my scalp, neck and back. What in the world is going on?
If anyone has any advice (I plan on going to the DR) I'd love to hear it. I'm not looking for sales reps here to promote their products, just advice from moms who might have used or done something that actually worked. Thanks!

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answers from Phoenix on

I'm 38 and had painful acne as a kid then it cleared up in my 20's and early 30's and now it's back. Grrrr! I noticed a huge difference when a year ago I started exercising often (which I hadn't done in 20 yrs) and drinking a TON of water. My skin cleared up and had a glow to it. It's interesting because anytime I slack off with my exercise I start to break out. So my advice- exercise and water!

Added: I have a little bottle of tea tree oil and when I get a bad pimple I dip a qtip in the bottle and dab a bit of the oil on the pimple at bedtime. Works pretty well.

3 moms found this helpful

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answers from San Antonio on

I sit here with my face on fire, hurting and throbbing. I feel your pain.

I have been to five dermatologists, tried every pill and cream and my face has gotten worse and worse over the past two years.

My current dermatologist finally really looked at my face and took notes as to all I have tried and decided I had been misdiagnosed or at least had a bit of two different things going on.

Papulopustular rosacea it mimics adult acne and doesn't really respond to typical acne treatments. Explains why doxycycline worked well for me, as it does treat the rosacea. Mine is a really really bad case.

Make sure the dermatologist really looks at your face and diagnoses you correctly.

Oh and my diet is really really clean...even did a 28 day total detox and my face kept getting worse.

If this doctor doesn't help me, my next stop is an endocrinologist.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

Look up excess Keratin. I can't think of the name but it's basically Keratin that is normally found in the pores. It gets dried out and makes a hard top.

If you consistently exfoliate then slather on moisturizer it should heal. As long as the Keratin is soft and can get out without drying out you shouldn't have any more white heads and inflammation around the pore openings.

That's what I've found anyway.

I have been doing Mary Kay Mask as a scrub then using Coconut Oil on it afterwards with my girl. Of course I have to help her with the backs of her arms and she has to wear sleeves and jammie bottoms to bed to keep the oil off the sheets but I can already tell a difference.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Williamsport on

Here is what helped my skin (I did it for diet reasons for weight gain and energy loss, but amazingly, my skin became awesome too!). The Fit For Life eating style, in the book by Diamond from the 80's does everything to empower your skin to be clear by nourishing it and removing things that make it freak out.

It's basically eating mostly raw vegetables and fruit (75% of daily intake) with the other 25% being cooked veggies and your healthy proteins and carbs. See book for combos. Lots of water. Lots of sleep. Eat lots of fruit BY ITSELF every day. I eat nothing but fruit from 8am to noon, and YES I GET ENOUGH PROTEIN during rest of day, and no I don't lack energy. I felt horrible and tired when I used to eat protein and carbs for breakfast, but I thought it was supposed to be the right thing to do.... The regular high dose of pure fruit every 24 hrs has made my skin glow I'm convinced because I have always eaten tons of veggies, but never much fruit. Once I added the fruit (NOT JUICE, but real whole fruit, including plenty of avocados) I saw a huge difference. I sweat cleaner, and my skin almost never breaks out and it used to regularly.

So. Diet, exercise, sleep, stay unstressed as possible, and beyond that-perhaps drugs...but no matter what, health from within is necessary even with meds if they are going to work. Good luck, acne stinks!!!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Killeen on

Hi G.,
I have suffered from acne breakouts since my teen years and I'm 46yrs old now. I recently found an amazing company that uses dead sea minerals in their skincare line. Yes, I am a sales rep for the company, however it is not my intention to offer you any products. Only to offer the option for you to research the benefits of the dead sea.
I know that what you put on your skin is just as important as what you put in your body. So, check out 'Dead Doctors Don't Lie' on YouTube to hear Dr Wallach talk about the nutrients our bodies need.
Also, research the many benefits of using organic cold-pressed coconut oil.
Best of luck in your search.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on


Some of it has to do with your diet. The rest of it has to do with hormones.

Do you drink a lot of soda? Try drinking nothing but water for a week - huge change - but try it. Also cut out caffeine. I hope you're not a coffee drinker! Sorry!!

Take two showers a day. I know it's a pain in the rear. Make sure you have one of the back brushes so that you can clean your back. I'm not saying that you aren't clean. But body oils are plugging up your pores so you need to make sure you get the oil off your body.

DO NOT pop the pimples. I know it's tempting but they may scar.

Good luck!! I know it's not a product recommendation, to be honest, I've not had this problem. My 14 year old son has acne on his neck and back, the doctor gave us a foam to put on, it's helping, but hasn't cleared it up entirely.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Two suggestions:
1) Since you plan on going to the doctor anyhow, have your thyroid checked (full panel, not just a TSH test). I found that when my skin suddenly became oily (yet weirdly flaky?!), my thyroid was having problems.
2) If you turn out not to have any thyroid issues, ask your doctor about Accutane. It's a serious medication, and you'll have to be on it for 4-6 months, but you'll have gorgeous skin afterwards. I had acne as a teen, and when I was 21 I went on Accutane. I had absolutely beautiful skin after that - not a single breakout for 10 years! (And then my thyroid crashed... but now that that is under control, my skin is good again.)

In the meantime, while you're looking for answers, do you have a Clairsonic? It's a device you can use to wash your face (use it with whatever face wash you like - I use Murad's acne products and like them). You can buy a Clairsonic at Sephora, Ulta, Nordstrom, etc. I don't often say this about products, but seriously, it's life-changing. My skin is sooooo clean, and I no longer have to exfoliate my skin separately, because the Clairsonic takes care of that all in the one minute it takes to wash my face. I would recommend it to anyone, but especially if you're experiencing breakout issues.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

Welcome to peri-menopause!
Acne can be part of it.
(Although for me a hot flash was the major clue as to what was going on.)
It's like puberty in reverse - you get zits when your hormones are coming online and when they start going offline.
You need to keep your pores open.
Use baking soda and water paste to exfoliate your face/skin every so often.
Oatmeal scrubs are great too but messy.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

Here is the first part of a skincare post by a girl I follow on tumblr. I found her advice to be really helpful, and I've started using Cetaphil and following her advice on face washing and moisturizing and it has made a pretty big difference. I'm in my mid 30s, but have always had unfortunate acne, so it's been nice to find some good advice.

I also use an acne body wash, I can't remember if she talked about that or not. I use a Neutrogena body wash.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I wound up having to go to a dermatologist, for the first time ever, at 36 for my "adult acne". I would get pimples on my chin in clusters that just would not go away. They would mostly heal, and then come right back, and last for weeks. One was bad enough that I went for a cortizone shot to get rid of it.

Over a year later, I'm back on the pill to manage it - which has made a HUGE difference for me. I'm also on 3 different face meds for night and day (Epiduo, Aczone, and Finacea). I have to say, my skin, now, looks AMAZING.

I wash night and day with over the counter stuff. For me, the meds are the only thing that helped. Topical spot treatments were not enough.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

I have *not* tried this myself yet, but I also suffer from acne. Dilute some tea tree oil in warm water. Wash the affected skin. Let me know if it works! :)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Hi G.!

I'm sorry to hear about your acne. Have you changed the products you're using? That could be the difference. I educate people about dangerous chemicals in our every day products and it's amazing how harsh the things that are marketed for our face, hair, etc. are. I don't want to suggest any products since you asked us not to, but you can contact me for suggestions if you'd like. I'm not sure about acne, but as others suggested tea tree oil sounds great and use only totally natural things on your face-essential oils, aloe Vera, coconut oil, etc. nothing you find in the stores or pharmacy!

Hope you find relief soon!


answers from Boston on

A lot of that teen stuff resurfaces when we hit our 40s and even 50s.

The problem with the painful pimples is that they really start pretty far below the surface of the skin, so topical treatments aren't helpful.

You have to remember that your skin is your largest organ so, like every other part of your body, it's nourished (or malnourished) primarily from the inside. Cellular health is even more important because your largest organ actually shows!

Since you aren't interested in products, it sounds like you are choosing the medical route. Just be careful of side effects of medications and prescription creams - there are major warning labels on most of them so pay attention to everything.



answers from Denver on

Hi G.,

I can relate and it is NO FUN. Good suggestions below on various products. Those can help. I do use epiduo for spot treatments and it helps. I know a lot of mine is hormonal but I did not want to mess with taking new hormones. And I certainly didn't want to take Accutane or other meds. But I did do one thing that helped more than any other. It was at the dermatologists office, and I believe it's called IPL (intense pulse laser?). They use a laser and move it around your face- sort of feels like someone snapping a rubber band, not awful but not my favorite! I think the theory is that it kills some of the bacteria under the surface that is causing the breakouts. It really worked for me, and sort of prevented the breakouts in the first place. I went three times, I forget how many weeks apart. Wasn't cheap, but once I did the three treatments, I didn't have to go much more. I have done a couple of 'maintenance' treatments a year or two after, but haven't gone in probably 2-3 years. Worth asking about anyway since you are going to the doc.

Hope that helps!

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