Updated on August 21, 2013
S.J. asks from Cherryville, MO
7 answers

So, if someone asked your skin type, you could probably answer with at least somewhat of an intelligent response: oily, dry, normal. I have no idea what mine is because I feel as if one day I think it is normal, then the next I am fighting dryness, and still the next, acne.

I am 34 and really do have great skin overall - but I keep getting acne and I have no idea why. I am on seasonique (birth control), have been for years, and I don't think that is the issue.

Today, I wake up, and 2 new zits. One on the right side of the bridge of my nose, the other on my chin area. Seriously?! I am 34! and my skin feels extremely dry. I though zits came when there was too much oil?! Ugh!

I use salycilic cleanser, 2% and sometimes use Skinceuticals Ferulic acid or retinol (very low dose). I have stopped both. It seems no matter what I do, I still get zits quite often. And why is my skin so dry?! I drink tons of water and eat a very healthy diet. Any suggestions on what to do for adult acne, product recommendations, etc. I am just tired of spending money on products that simply aren't working.

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So What Happened?

And maybe I should clarify - I am not sure 2 zits every few weeks constitutes acne, but it is irritating nonetheless. I just don't know what I am doing wrong. Oh! and I get them on my back too!

ETA: I am about 90% gluten free and have no food allergies (dairy, etc)

Hi same face Christy! ha. I don't use normal anythng, really. Our household is pretty chemical free - I use vinegar and essential oils to clean, make my own laundry detergent or buy from molly's suds, no hairspray, etc. But I will def try your facewash suggestions - they work well for you I assume?

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answers from St. Louis on

Wow...I thought I was the ONLY one! I can totally sympathize with you about all of this as my skin has a daily mind of its own....oily most of the time but then all of a sudden it goes into modes of combo skin or dry areas too! I think I'm part chameleon because I don't change colors but I do change skin types a lot! I have always had mini break-outs as a teenager but never anything serious and certainly not cystic acne. I kept waiting for the pimple to go away and by age 35, they were still a problem. At age 40, I had enough. I went to a dermatologist and we declared an all out war on my skin.
I found out many things from my dermatologist. First off, my skin is combination. Oily in the T-zone and normal everywhere else. Dryness was usually from hormonal swings or from cleansers or products that were not agreeing with my skin. I also found out that my skin is sensitive but turns over skin cells very quickly which often results in clogged pores, mild acne, and more problems with oily skin. I was told to use a cleansing bar called Cetaphil or a facial cleansing gel from LaRoche-Posay called Effaclar. They are gentle and also PH Balanced to adjust the skin back to its acid condition that it needs to be in. After cleansing, I got prescribed a daily routine. Clindamycin Gel in the morning all over the face and Retin-A Microgel .01% at bedtime. This is a miracle for me. No acne and that Retin-A is the fountain of youth in a tube! My own dermatologist told me that if she could take a bath in it, she would!
I also changed my diet and got even better results. The daily routine cleared up about 90% of the problems but eliminating sugar and gluten from my diet has taken my skin to all new levels! I found out I had gluten intolerance so the diet change was necessary for me. The by-product of great looking skin was another bonus of quitting sugar, refined or processed foods, and gluten. A drastic change! The diet I have to stick to is not for everyone and I understand that part but the treatment I have been on to clear my skin up has been working for me and it's been two years now. The Retin-A has now also prevented and/or corrected any wrinkles that might have been forming and my skin is in the best shape it has ever been in. I do not look my age and never will as long as I keep using the daily routine. Make an appointment with a dermatologist and have your skin looked at. Treatment doesn't have to be harsh or overly expensive. The Clindamycin I use is cheap and one tube lasts almost a year! Same thing with the Retin-A Micro although that tube of cream is expensive but it does last almost one year. I wish I had gone sooner because the results are that good! All this will not clear up overnight but if you do end up getting a prescribed daily regimen, give it at least three months to see the true potential of what the meds or routine can really do. Skin is made of many layers and the bad top layers have got to come off to get to the healthy and rejuvenated skin underneath. So worth the wait and the time put into it. My skin is clear, wonderfully even and smooth, and.....wrinkle free!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

DO NOT USE THIS DAILY, okay, again do not use daily it will be bad for your skin, but twice a week along with a good facial cleanser (I use products) and moisturizer you will see a difference. If you are exfoliating too often (sounds like you might be) then your skin will be all over the place.

3tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3tbsp Organic Honey
1/2 cup Organic Sugar (will be grainy like sugar in the raw)

Use this all over your body head to toe twice a week. You do not need to moisturize after using this unless you used soap afterwards. I skip the soap on these days personally. As well Almond oil a few nights a week o the dry areas are good for your skin and hair!



answers from Lawrence on

Hi S.--I am also a mid-30's woman who experiences occassional breakouts. Mostly before my period but other times as well. I also found that although I'm an oily skin type I was over cleansing my skin and striping the essential oils and actually causing my skin to overproduce oil which led to more breakouts. I recently attended a Mary Kay skincare class and I've found the products are tailored for my skin and I can mix and match based on what I need. Most people are not just one skin type and not everyone needs the same level of blemish and oil control. I hope this helps and if you want to contact me privately we can discuss more thoroughly. Have a great day!


answers from San Francisco on

I hear you. My face isn't just oily or dry. My face is oily AND dry. My T zone (forhead, nose and chin) are oily and my poor cheeks are so dry the skin peels sometimes.

I don't get many zits though and this is how I take care of my face. I get a clean washcloth and wet it. I rub it all over my face, paying particular attention to my forehead nose and chin. Then I rinse it and do it once more. I pat dry and then apply ponds face cream for dry skin just to my cheeks.

My skin looks even and I don't break out, except for once in a blue moon. I believe using cleansers on your skin will cause an overproduction of natural oils as your body tries to overcompensate and that'll make zits.

/EDIT - I don't use much makeup either so that could also contribute. I never wear foundation. I could never get it to look right so I gave up. I wear eyeliner, mascara and sometimes a little shadow. Lipstick every now and then. I have some eye makeup remover that I put on a cotton ball and just use to clean my eyes when I go to bed. Other than that, I'll put sunscreen on my face if I know I'm going to be outdoors for more than an hour.



answers from Sacramento on

I agree with Christy Lee. Think about other things you're using. I'm really sensitive to hair products. Anything with dimethicone, which is in just about every straightening product out there, including shampoos, makes my scalp itch and face break out (and I'm in my 40s).



answers from Minneapolis on

I truly believe hormones have a lot to do with it I attempted to change my BC at one point and developed the cystic acne I had back in high school! I immediately switched back! I still get a few every now and then but nothing like that. I even took accutane back in the day and was shocked that just that change in BC could do that. And unfortunately it's harder to treat than just washing your face!



answers from Miami on

Hi. I am almost 50 and am fiting wrinkles and minor pimples here and there :) i relate.

For me...sometimes it is hormonal....salicyic acid is good. I use clinique sensitive skin toner with salicyic acid. and a good eye cream. cetaphil.

and i guess i am glad i still get zits as i have less wrinkles than most people my age. does that make sense....sometimes it is troublesome, but there is an upside :)

you are not alone.

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