All The Products A Dermatologist Prescribed One R29 Staffer For Her Acne

Adult acne can be crushing. Just when you think you've bypassed the blackheads, under-the-skin blinders and angry pus-filled clusters of your teenage years, here they are rearing their head (quite literally) at a time when you're supposed to have everything together. So what's happening?

"It is definitely a misconception that you only get spots in your teens," London-based consultant dermatologist, Dr Justine Kluk, explains. "Around 10-15% of women develop acne for the first time, or continue to suffer with it, well beyond their teenage years, and adult acne appears to be on the rise." While Dr Kluk mentions it is possible to get the same type of blemishes as adults that we had when we were teens, women in their 20s, 30s and 40s tend to suffer more with breakouts on the lower third of their face. "The sides of our cheeks and places like our neck and chin often bear the brunt," Dr Kluk expands, which also explains those painful jawline spots.


From stress to hormones, there are lots of factors which can contribute to acne flare-ups in adulthood, as Dr Kluk explains. "Genes play an important role. We know that a strong family history of acne and onset of acne at an early age can predict a more severe or persistent course. Hormones can also cause acne to flare up, which is why many women have increased breakouts around the time of their period. As well as this, underlying medical conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS, affecting approximately 8% of women of reproductive age) increase the risk of acne and women may be tested for this if there are other symptoms to suggest its presence, for example, carrying extra weight, thinning of scalp hair, excess body hair and infrequent periods."

According to Dr Kluk, things such as stress, long-wearing, pore-clogging makeup and an inappropriate skincare product selection are factors, too. For this reason, it's best to choose non-comedogenic products, as they are less likely to cause blockages.

From skincare to medication, here's everything Dr Kluk prescribed one R29 staffer for "comedonal (small, flesh-coloured bumps), inflammatory (red and irritated) and nodular (often large and painful) acne" on her chin and lower face.

NB. What worked wonders in this instance might not work for you, as everyone's skin concerns are different. Therefore, it's best to visit your GP or a dermatologist for advice and a routine suited to your skin specifically.

"Oral antibiotics are the current treatment of choice for moderate papulopustular acne – breakouts which consist of swollen red bumps and pus-filled spots," says Dr Kluk, who prescribed lymecycline (Tetralysal) at 408mg, to be taken once daily.

"They work by inhibiting the acne-causing bacterium, P.acnes, and have genuine anti-inflammatory activity. Some even display anti-androgen (male hormone) properties. Examples of antibiotics include tetracyclines and erythromycin, and treatment tends to be continued for three months in conjunction with topical benzoyl peroxide or a retinoid cream to prevent antibiotic resistance. This combination therapy improves the effectiveness of oral antibiotics."

That said, extending oral antibiotic therapy beyond three to six months offers very little additional benefit, according to Dr Kluk. "Other treatment options should be explored with a consultant dermatologist if the acne is not under control by this point."
Approved by the best dermatologists in the business, this cleanser is an extension of La Roche-Posay's acne-busting Effaclar Duo+ moisturiser. It boasts niacinamide and zinc, which work together to control oil production and minimise congestion in skin. Massage the formula onto damp skin for around a minute, rinse off and pat dry with a clean towel.
La Roche-Posay Effaclar H Hydrating Cleansing Cream, $12.00 Buy
To protect skin from environmental aggressors such as pollution, Dr Kluk recommended this serum. It contains pre-tocopheryl, a derivative of vitamin E, and ascorbyl glucoside, evolved from vitamin C. This works best applied to dry skin just after cleansing.
Avene UK A Oxitive Defense Serum, $26.00 Buy
Often prescribed to those with rosacea as well as acne, the main component in this prescription gel is azelaic acid. It has an anti-inflammatory effect on the skin, reducing the redness and swelling typical of acne, and breaks down keratin – a protein which can clog pores and cause breakouts. Always consult a dermatologist or GP before use, as this could cause skin irritation, including redness, dryness and itching.
Bayer Finacea 15% Gel, $11.22 Buy
Sun protection is a must, regardless of your skin tone or texture. This provides broad spectrum protection, so it protects against UVA rays (responsible for fine lines) and UVB rays (which can cause burns and melanoma). It's also non-comedogenic, so is less likely to clog your pores.
Avene UK Cleanance High Protection SPF30 Cream, $16.00 Buy
If you wear makeup, make it non-comedogenic. This foundation provides buildable coverage, includes SPF 15 and stays put for hours. If it's a little out of your budget, try NYX Professional Makeup Full Coverage Foundation, £15.
Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua Ultra-Light Skin Perfecting Makeup, $37.00 Buy
This is the perfect makeup remover for sensitive, dry and acne-prone skin types. It eradicates makeup and grime without leaving skin feeling stripped or taut.
Bioderma Sensibio H2O 250ml, $10.80 Buy
It's really important to give skin a second water-based cleanse to ensure it is completely free of makeup, dirt and oil, which can all cause breakouts.
La Roche-Posay Effaclar H Hydrating Cleansing Cream, $12.00 Buy
Another prescription gel, this includes adapalene, a topical retinoid. Side effects include skin irritation, including redness and dryness, so be sure to discuss with your GP or a dermatologist before introducing it into your skincare routine.
Galderma Differin Gel, $24.95 Buy
Products like Differin and Finacea can cause dryness, so Dr Kluk recommended following up with this. Fragrance- and alcohol-free, it soothes sensitive skin and keeps moisture on lockdown, thanks to added ingredient glycerin.
Avene UK Skin Recovery Cream, $32.97 $16.48 Buy
This treatment is often prescribed to be used once daily, only when needed. It's a topical antibiotic and works to inhibit the spread of bacteria, which can cause further breakouts. Again, it can cause skin irritation, such as dryness, flaking and redness, so talking to your GP or a dermatologist is a must before using it.
Stiefel Duac Gel 3%, $21.99 Buy
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