15 Adult acne skin care products to clear your skin

Adult acne skin care

If it isn’t enough to watch our once-youthful skin age, many women between the ages of 30 to 50, also experience the delights of adult acne.

Often adult acne is put down to an imbalance in hormones causing breakouts around periods, pregnancy, peri-menopause and menopause. However, it can also be caused from being stressed, skin products, diet, medication (including the contraceptive pill) and family history.

Whatever the reason for your adult acne, you will want to get rid of it … fast.

We’ve scoured the web for the very best adult acne treatments to save the day. Here’s our top finds from complete skincare kits, daily treatments, through to products which target persistent, painful pimples.

Daily skincare to keep adult acne at bay

A daily skincare routine is a must for acne-prone adults. For mild to moderate breakouts, a cleanser containing either salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide, spot treatment and moisturiser will help:

  • Fight bacteria
  • Target individual spots
  • Keep skin smooth and hydrated

It is important to note too that many acne skincare ingredients can prove to be drying for your skin if used excessively. When your skin gets too dry, your body may respond by producing more oil to make up for the lack of natural moisture in your skin. This can result in clogged pores, which will then contribute to worse acne. Making sure that your skin is hydrated, especially during anti-acne treatment, will help keep your oil production under control.

Here are some products we love for treating and preventing breakouts.

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo is considered by many women to be a holy grail skin care product for stubborn adult acne. The ‘Duo’ in the name refers to the active ingredients lipo-hydroxy acid (LHA) and niacinamide that work together to kill bacteria, unclog pores, exfoliate the skin and eliminate imperfections. It targets the cause of acne, calms irritation and fights scarring at the same time.

General star rating: 5/5
Size of product: 40 ml

Adult acne | La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo | Beanstalk Single Mums

Dermalogica Overnight Clearing Gel

A great addition to your evening skin care routine, Dermalogica Overnight Clearing Gel spot treatment fights bacteria and regulates sebum while you sleep for beautifully clear skin in the morning. Salicylic acid unclogs pores, removes excess oil and exfoliates, while niacinamide and biotin soothe and prevent hyperpigmentation. The tea tree oil is an added antibacterial that calms redness. It’s a bit pricey at $67, but the 50 ml bottle can last a long time because you only need to apply it to active spots.

General star rating: 4/5
Size of product: 50 ml

Dermalogica Overnight Clearing Gel | Beanstalk Single Mums

Alpha-H Clear Skin Blemish Control Gel

Another top-rated spot treatment, Alpha-H Clear Skin Blemish Control Gel eliminates stubborn spots, prevents future breakouts and minimises scarring. It’s an intensive gel serum that contains glycolic acid and salicylic acid plus soothing aloe leaf extract and limonene to target acne without irritating the skin. Many users swear that it can dry out a pimple in 24-48 hours, perfect for use before a big event. It’s also a bargain at $16.96 for a 20 ml tube.

General star rating: 5/5
Size of product: 100 ml

Alpha H Clear Skin Blemish Control | Beanstalk Mums

Clinique Anti-Blemish Solutions Clinical Clearing Gel

Clinique Anti-Blemish Solutions Clearing Gel is a daily treatment gel for acne-prone and oily skin. It claims to clear acne instantly upon application and prevent new ones from forming. Actual results may vary depending on your skin type and condition. Many reviewers say that it works quickly to clear problem spots, but tends to dry out the skin. Make sure to apply moisturiser right after.

General star rating: 4.5/5
Size of product: 15 ml

Clinique Anti-Blemish Solutions Clinical Clearing Gel | Beanstalk Single Mums

Thursday Plantation Tea Tree Medicated Gel For Acne

Thursday Plantation Tea Tree Medicated Gel is essentially 100% pure Australian tea tree oil in gel form. This potent acne-fighter goes deep into the skin to dry out whiteheads, blackheads and pimples whilst soothing redness and irritation. And all without benzoyl peroxide. Perfect if you want to clear acne but have a bad reaction to BP or just want a natural alternative. It’s also free from synthetic colours, fragrances, parabens and animal-derived ingredients.

General star rating: 5/5
Size of product: 25 g

Thursday Plantation Tea Tree | Beanstalk Single Mums


Sometimes you need a more intensive product to zap those stubborn zits. Over the counter spot treatments are the most common way to target spots if you have mild to moderate acne. Below is a list of our top picks.

Neutrogena Rapid Clear Stubborn Acne Gel

Stubborn acne can take forever to go away. Neutrogena Rapid Clear Stubborn Acne Gel promises to reduce the size and redness of moderate to severe pimples in as little as 2 hours (according to the website). This gel is a non-prescription acne medication that clears breakouts with maximum strength. The active ingredient is benzoyl peroxide (10%). You might experience irritation if used with another topical zit medication simultaneously. Customers love that it’s unscented; some even vouch that it works on cystic acne. However, people with sensitive skin and adverse reactions to benzoyl peroxide must take extra caution when using the product since they could experience skin irritation.

General star rating: 4.5/5
Size of product: 1 oz (28 g)

Neutrogena Rapid Clear Stubborn Acne Spot Gel

Dermalogica Age Bright Spot Fader

Unlike other spot treatments, Dermalogica Age Bright Spot Fader specifically targets adult acne and prevents premature ageing, a huge win if you want to get rid of pimples, scars and fine lines at the same time. The Spot Fader is a lightweight version of Dermalogica’s Bright Clearing Serum and contains salicylic acid, niacinamide, AGE Bright Complex and hexylresorcinol that brighten your complexion and keep skin smooth. It works on all types of adult breakouts (hormonal, environmental and stress-related) and helps prevent scarring. The 15 ml tube is $68, but the reviews are mostly positive.

General star rating: 4/5
Size of product: 15 ml

Adult acne | Dermalogica AGE Bright Spot Fader | Beanstalk Single Mums

Benzac AC Gel 5%

Benzac AC Gel 5% is the go-to benzoyl peroxide brand for many acne-prone adults. BP is often the first line of defence when treating mild to moderate acne. It works by killing up to 94% of the bacteria that cause acne. It also helps unclog pores and reduce hyperpigmentation. Benzoyl peroxide usually causes dryness and sometimes irritation, especially if you’re using it for the first time. The skin gradually develops a tolerance to BP, but people who are hypersensitive may experience burning, swelling and peeling.

General star rating: 4/5
Size of product: 60 g

Benzac 5% Gel

Avène Cleanance Acne Fighting Kit

Avene Cleanance Acne Fighting Kit addresses oily and acne-prone adult skin. The affordable Cleanance range get rids of excess sebum without drying your skin. Start with the cleansing gel to gently remove impurities and finish with Comedomed, a moisturising anti-blemish concentrate that zaps existing and future breakouts. Botha are top-rated products, with the Comedomed clinically proven to reduce blemishes by 45% after 8 weeks.

General star rating: 4/5
Size of product: Cleansing gel 100ml, Comedomed 5ml

Avene Acne Fighting Starter Kit

Murad Blemish Control Rapid Relief Spot Treatment

The Murad Blemish Control spot treatment is as strong as they come, promising to reduce blemish size and redness within 4 hours. The active ingredient (2% salicylic acid) is maximum strength and works quickly for fast relief without peeling or flaking. Another plus is you can wear this with or without makeup as it dries clear and is completely invisible. It’s not too pricey at $35 for a 15ml tube and should last a month or two if you have mild acne.

General star rating: 4/5
Size of product: 15 ml

For busy adults with acne-prone skin, skin care kits are a godsend. Kits takes the guesswork out of choosing the right products, and they are complete and easy to use. Here’s a list of top-rated products that actually work, according to reviews.

Skin care kits for acne prone skin

Sukin Blemish Control Kit

For acne-prone adults, niacinamide fixes many problems by killing bacteria, lightening dark spots and improving overall skin health by serving as a barrier. It’s great because the risk of irritation is zero to minimal and it can be easily added to your daily skin care routine. The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% combines these two active ingredients to clear acne and minimise the appearance of dark spots. The majority of reviews are very positive, and we love that the product is cheap. You may need to wait a few days to see results though.

General star rating: 4.5/5
Size of product: 3 x50 ml

Sukin Blemish Control Kit

Bioderma Sebium Anti-Acne Trial Kit

Bioderma’s Anti Acne trial kit is a powerful trio of products that promises to banish adult acne. The kit contains three pimple-fighting products: a cleanser, moisturiser and treatment. The Sebium Gel Moussant gently cleanses and purifies, the Sébium Mat Control mattifies and moisturisers, and the Sébium Global treatment targets pimples and blackheads. This trial kit (just $10) that claims to be continuously effective for 8 hours is worth trying.

General star rating: 4/5
Size of product: Sébium Gel Moussant 200 ml, Sébium Mat Control 30 ml, Sébium Global 30ml

Bioderma Sebium Anti-Acne Trial Kit

Benzac Clear Skin Acne Control Kit

Benzac Clear Skin Acne Control Kit is as basic as it gets when it comes to acne kits, with a cleanser, spot treatment gel and moisturiser. The active ingredients are salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide working together to unclog pores and kill bacteria. The moisturiser is lightweight, oil-free and fragrance free to reduce irritation and keep your skin hydrated. The reviews are mostly positive, but results may vary depending on your skin type.

General star rating: 4/5
Size of product: Daily Facial Foam Cleanser 130 ml, Benzac AC 2.5% Gel 50 g and Benzac Daily Facial Moisturiser 118 ml

Benzac Acne Control Kit

Medik8 Blemish SOS

The Medik8 Blemish SOS gel is perfect for flareups and acne emergencies. This highly-rated gel packs a punch and promises to reduce breakouts in just 24 hours. Active ingredient niacinamide soothes redness and calms inflammation quickly, whilst dioic acid declogs pores and prevents future pimples from forming. Just make sure to use hydrating moisturiser and watch out for peeling or dryness if you have extra sensitive skin.

General star rating: 4/5
Size of product: 15 ml

Medik8 Blemish SOS

Phisohex Antibacterial Face Wash

Finally, we have the Phisohex Antibacterial Face Wash. This wash contains triclosan, a powerhouse ingredient proven to zap two types of acne-causing bacteria. It also helps remove dirt and declog blocked pores. While triclosan is powerful, the formula is pH-balanced to keep your skin supple and moisturised.

General star rating: 4.5/5
Size of product: 500 ml

Adult acne | Phisohex Antibacterial Face Wash | Beanstalk Single Mums

Final words: Adult skin care

Dermatologists still don’t fully understand exactly why acne develops in adulthood. So far, the common consensus is that it has something to do with diet, hormones, and stress. Hormonal fluctuations can cause an increase in oil production and inflammation. This is why you are more prone to breakouts around the time of your period.

Lower your intake of dairy products and sugary food as they are associated with acne breakouts. There is also a well-studied link between stress and excess oil production, which is why it is also important for you to manage your stress levels and get enough sleep.

Be patient and use one treatment product at a time. I know that it can be tempting to use as many products simultaneously as you possibly can. If you are a mum with an active social calendar and a job that puts pressure on you to look your best, it is understandable to feel a bit frantic and want to solve your skin issues immediately. But remember that piling on anti-acne products can cause further damage to your skin, considering how drying and stringent the ingredients can be.

Avoid using makeup wipes, as they can be aggravating and irritating to skin that's already prone to adult acne. Instead, use soap and water, or micellar water with cotton when removing your makeup.

Lastly, be kind to yourself. Don't pour all of your energy into obsessing over how to erase your acne. As long as you are doing your best to take care of your overall health and you adhere to an easy skincare regimen, you are doing great. Live your life to the fullest; there is more to you than your frustrations with your skin.

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Beanstalk Single Mum Team

About the author

Beanstalk is run by a team of single mums who share their expertise about single motherhood to help other women on a similar journey to them. This article was written from experience and with love to help single mothers in Australia and across the world.

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