Acne Files logo

The Best Treatments For Adult & Hormonal Acne, According To Dermatologists

Photo: Courtesy of Elizabeth Arden.
Welcome to Acne Files, a month-long stretch where we get real about pimples, zits, cysts, and every bump or blemish in between. From skin-soothing products R29 editors swear by to exclusive deals on the most breakout-friendly beauty brands, we’re kissing the concept of “bad skin” goodbye and exploring why acne is so much more than skin deep.
If you, like me, had severe acne as a teenager, there was one proverbial light (more like "lie," in my case) at the end of the tunnel: "Your skin will clear up when you're older!" Family and friends repeated this to me in an effort to console my deep-ridden anxiety about the state of my skin.
While everyone's skin is different, I have yet to reach this promised land of acne-free skin at 29. Spoiler alert: "Perfect skin" doesn't exist, which is fine! However, the truth is acne in your teens and acne in your adult years aren't one and the same. In fact, my teenage regimen doesn't resemble my current one at all.
"There are plenty of misconceptions about adult acne," dermatologist Mona Gohara, MD, tells Refinery29. "A common one is that adult acne is caused by having a poor diet or not washing your face enough. Above all, it’s mostly caused by hormone changes."
Another major acne myth, which I myself have been guilty of, is doing the absolute most with a skincare routine: "When it comes to treating acne, less is more," advises Joshua Zeichner, MD, Mount Sinai's director of cosmetic and clinical research in the department of dermatology. "Over-washing or over-scrubbing can lead to dryness and irritation and disrupt the outer skin layer."
To get you on your way, we asked a coterie of dermatologists to share their best acne product recommendations for addressing adult breakouts. Shop their expert-approved picks in the slides to come.
At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. All product details reflect the price and availability at the time of publication. If you buy or click on something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.

More from Skin Care

R29 Original Series