How Can I Prevent Acne Breakouts in my 30s?

Still getting periodic acne breakouts in my 30s. What do I have to do to stop getting acne.  Change my diet?  Clean my face with special soaps?  Any help is super appreciated.

Doctor Answers 19

5 Tips for acne prevention

There are a few other things you can do to help with acne. These include:

1. Dietary changes that may help include avoiding excessive dairy consumption, due to the presence of hormones in certain dairy products and decreasing your intake of fast-food, particularly fried, greasy foods and increasing your intake of antioxidants including berries (blueberries, pomegranate juice, citrus fruits).

2. Stress can be a significant factor in the development of acne so anything you can do to decrease stress in your life can help. Regular cardiovascular exercise is one way of reducing stress.

3. Any products placed on the face should be oil-free, water-based, non-comedogenic (meaning non pore-clogging). Gentle cleansers rather than soaps should be used to cleanse the face.

4. If you notice your makeup is clogging your pores and causing whiteheads and blackheads, switch brands, preferably to a mineral makeup. I agree that no makeup should be left on the face overnight.

5. Hormonal changes particularly in women of child-bearing age can cause regular acne break-outs. Consider speaking to your dermatologist about available preventative hormonal therapies if this is the case. Good luck.

San Diego Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

People of All Ages Get Acne; Genetics and Hormones Play a Role

Adults get acne too. As a dermatologist, we see people of all ages with acne and we base treatment on what kind of acne one has and then develop a treatment plan that we think best. Acne is genetic and hormonal, and where I have seen people say diet, stress and other things are involved, while they may contribute to things, they do not cause acne in 99.9% of people. Acne happens in adults, and we take care of it to minimize it.  Medicines are used but also lasers and light when needed. See your dermatologist and get it cleared as fast as you can.

Michael Gold, MD
Nashville Dermatologic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

Treatment of Adult Acne

Adult acne is frustrating, and unfortunately very common.  Recent research has suggested that foods with a high glycemic index may be related to the development of acne, so you may consider examining your diet.  However, my best advice is to meet with a dermatologist to evaluate your skin closely.  Adult acne is often hormonal, and different patterns of acne will indicate to your dermatologist that this is the case.  They can then recommend the appropriate treatment.  Our patients with adult acne often see tremendous improvement after undergoing a short series of Isolaz acne treatment and Photodynamic Therapy in the office.  These treatments can provide dramatic improvement, especially for people who have not seen improvement with prescription medications or dietary changes.

Eric Schweiger, MD
New York Dermatologic Surgeon
3.5 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

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Adult acne in the 30's

Acne is adults is extremely common. Like teenage acne, it's likely caused by the interaction of hormones and your skin. The treatments are similar to teenage acne, including topical creams, pills, laser, blue light therapy, and birth control pills for women. Only your dermatologist can determine the right treatment for you. Diet, keeping clean, etc, appear to have little to do with adult acne.

Gary Goldenberg, MD
New York Dermatologist

Breakouts in your 30's...

Acne breakouts in your mid 30's can be caused by many factors, many times it is hormonal. Every patient is unique, so it is important to remain patient as you try to find what works best for you.  As far as caring for your skin, the most important things to include are to cleanse twice a day with an appropriate cleanser, exfoliating with either a gentle scrub, and controlling oil with a toner. Introducing a retinol product at some point may be beneficial for you, as it will help to keep skin cells turning over and can reduce acne breakouts, plus help to prevent age-related changes you may start to see in your 30's.  Some in-office treatments or peels can be done for extra exfoliation, and many of our patients benefit from using LED lights to help reduce acne bacteria and inflammation that comes with acne breakouts.  An anti-inflammatory diet - eliminating sugar, dairy and possibly gluten can help.  We also have had great results supplementing with Green Tea supplements and/or Skin Accumax which is available through Jane Iredale in the United States.  It is important to be patient with whatever changes you are implementing because with acne, compliance and consistency is key!

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Using the wrong skincare products for your skin causes many cases of acne. If a product is not listed as oil-free or non-comedogenic (which is different from oil-free and means non-pore-clogging), it may be triggering your breakouts. Stop using it, switch to an oil-free, non-comedogenic product and see if your skin clears up. If not, it’s best to consult a dermatologist to assess the products you’re using—and come up with a clear-skin plan that will get long-term results. With the proper consultation to figure out the reasons for the breakouts it can be as easy as getting regular facials or potentially using products or going the route to prescriptions.

Dennis Gross, MD
New York Dermatologist
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Adult Acne

You should have a skin care regimen, which is tailored for your skin. Usually, if you are still having active acne in your 30's, you might need hormonal therapy.

David J. Sire, MD
Fullerton Dermatologic Surgeon
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Acne Breakout in 30s

Unfortunately, breaking out with acne in the  30s is very common. The best measures to prevent breakouts is wash your face twice daily with a gentle cleanser, especially after working out. The cleansers are like are Cetaphil cleanser and Benzoyl Peroxide wash. Do not wear heavy makeup (MAC Makeup) and avoid dairy products. Prescriptions medications will also help, including  Doxycylin, Minocyclin and Accutane. 

Ben Behnam, MD
Santa Monica Dermatologic Surgeon
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Acne Prevention in Middle Age

Typically acne is hormonal when older and treating with spironolactone or cosmetic treatments like clear + brilliant laser, microneedling, and salicylic acid peels.  I suggest finding an acne and scaring specialist.  Best, Dr. Emer.

Jason Emer, MD
Los Angeles Dermatologic Surgeon
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Acne and Diet

Diet change is worth a try and would probably help to a degree with your acne. Acne in the minds of many nutritionalists is in large part a food-borne illness–that is, it is preventable by changing what you eat. Acne is non-existent in non-Westernized populations (such as the Inuit, Okinawa islanders, Ache hunter-gatherers, and Kitavan islanders, all of whom do not consume dairy products), suggesting that acne is largely, if not completely, caused by diet. A study in 2011 in Korea, which followed a total of 1285 participants (783 with acne and 502 as control), supports this idea, concluding that “a high glycemic load diet, dairy food intake, high fat diet, and iodine in Korean foods appear to play a role in acne exacerbation.”

Larry S. Nichter, MD, MS, FACS
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These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.