cne, a common skin condition, doesn't discriminate based on age. Many people assume that acne is a teenage problem, but it often persists into adulthood, including your mid-20s and beyond. To effectively deal with acne in your mid-20s, it's crucial to understand its causes and triggers. 

It's important to remember that at some point everyone gets acne and has to tackle how to manage it. It may seem challenging at times but nothing is untamable with a little time, effort, and the right products for your skin. 

In this article, we’ll be discussing:

  • Why do people get acne 
  • Different skin types 
  • How to deal with acne in your mid-20s 
  • When to seek professional help 
  • Product recommendations 

Why Do People Get Acne?

Excess Sebum Production

One of the primary factors contributing to acne is the overproduction of sebum, a natural oil produced by the sebaceous glands. This excess sebum can clog hair follicles and lead to the development of acne lesions.

Clogged Pores

When the hair follicles become clogged with dead skin cells and sebum, they create an ideal environment for the proliferation of acne-causing bacteria, primarily Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes).

Hormonal Fluctuations

Hormonal changes, such as those that occur during puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause, can trigger or exacerbate acne. In your mid-20s, hormonal fluctuations may still play a role in acne development.

Diet and Lifestyle

High-glycemic diets, dairy consumption, and stress are factors that can influence acne. Poor dietary choices and stress can lead to increased inflammation in the body, which can manifest as acne.


Genetics also play a role in determining an individual's susceptibility to acne. If your parents or siblings had acne, you may be more prone to developing it yourself.

Bacterial Infections

As mentioned earlier, P. acnes bacteria can contribute to the development of acne. These bacteria thrive in the clogged pores and contribute to inflammation and pimple formation.

Understand Your Skin Type and Acne Type:

Identify your skin type (e.g., oily, dry, combination) and the type of acne you have (e.g., hormonal, inflammatory, comedonal). This will help you choose appropriate products and treatments. Luckily we have an article that does a deep dive into acne products that work best for different skin types; it also discusses how to identify what skin type you have if you’re unsure!

We can’t help cure your acne if we don’t know what type of skin you have. Take some time to learn about your skin. 

Dealing with Acne in Your Mid-20s

Acne in your mid-20s can be particularly frustrating, as it may come as a surprise after having clear skin for years. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to deal with acne effectively in this stage of life:

Identify Your Acne Type

Before you can effectively treat your acne, it's essential to understand what type of acne you have. The most common types include:

Comedonal Acne: Characterized by whiteheads and blackheads.

Inflammatory Acne: Presents as red, painful, and pus-filled pimples.

Hormonal Acne: Often appears around the jawline and chin and is related to hormonal imbalances.

Establish a Consistent Skincare Routine

Example of a skincare routine people can use.
Everyone will have a different skincare routine. Find a routine that works for you and your lifestyle. Image by Amway.

A well-rounded skincare routine is key to managing acne. Here's a basic daily regimen:

Morning Routine

Cleanse: Use a gentle, sulfate-free cleanser to remove excess oil and debris.

Moisturize: Apply a non-comedogenic moisturizer to keep your skin hydrated.

Sunscreen: Always use a broad-spectrum sunscreen to protect your skin from UV damage.

Evening Routine

Cleanse: Remove makeup and cleanse your face thoroughly.

Treatment: Apply acne-fighting products (see next section).

Moisturize: Follow with a moisturizer to lock in hydration.

A great pro tip is to use Non-Comedogenic products. Look for skincare and makeup products labeled as non-comedogenic, which means they won't clog pores.

Results may take time, so be patient and consistent with your skincare routine. Adjustments might be needed along the way based on how your skin responds.

Even after your acne is under control, continue with a basic skincare routine to prevent future breakouts. Consistency is key to long-term success.

Incorporate Acne-Fighting Ingredients

Several ingredients are effective in treating acne. When choosing products, look for these key ingredients:

Benzoyl Peroxide: An over-the-counter treatment that kills acne-causing bacteria and helps unclog pores.

Salicylic Acid: A beta hydroxy acid (BHA) that penetrates pores to exfoliate and reduce clogs.

Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs): AHAs like glycolic acid and lactic acid help exfoliate the skin's surface, promoting smoother skin.

Retinoids: Prescription retinoids like tretinoin are powerful in treating acne by unclogging pores and promoting cell turnover.

Image breaking down different ingredients in acne products and their purpose.
It's important to understand what type of skin you have because the ingredients in acne products can be harsh sometimes and you want to exercise caution. Better safe than sorry I always say. Image by Skinfix.

Hormonal Acne:

If you suspect hormonal acne, consider the following options:

Birth Control Pills: Certain oral contraceptives can help regulate hormone levels and reduce acne in some women.

Anti-Androgen Medications: Spironolactone is an anti-androgen medication that can be prescribed to manage hormonal acne.

Diet and Lifestyle Adjustments:

Your diet and lifestyle can significantly impact acne. Consider these changes:

Balanced Diet

Consume a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats. Limit sugar, processed foods, and dairy products, which may exacerbate acne for some individuals.

Hydration: Drink plenty of water to keep your skin hydrated.

Stress Management: Stress can trigger or worsen acne. Practice stress-reduction techniques such as meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises.

Avoid Harsh Products

Avoid harsh scrubs, astringent, and overwashing your face, as these can irritate your skin and make acne worse. I know it might be tempting to get the latest tightening serum and deoxidizing face cleaner but make sure you do your research first!

There are a lot of products out there that will be too aggravating for your skin type. That's why it’s important before you start trying to clear your acne that you thoroughly understand your skin. 

Not everyone's skin can handle the same products and chemical treatments. 

Maintain Good Hygiene

Keep your pillowcases and sheets clean to prevent the buildup of oils and bacteria. I live by my silk pillowcase and have seen a major improvement in my skin since using it. Avoid touching your face to minimize the spread of acne-causing bacteria. In turn, don’t let others touch your face if it can be helped. 

Implement a facemask into your routine that soaks into the skin providing moisture while also cleansing the skin. 

Sun Protection

Sunscreen is essential, even for acne-prone skin. Choose a non-comedogenic formula to prevent clogged pores. For the ladies who wear a lot of makeup, get in the habit of putting sunscreen on under your makeup. If you can find a primer that has SPF in the formula that would be ideal. 

Professional Help

If over-the-counter products and lifestyle changes aren't effective, consult a dermatologist. They can provide personalized advice and prescribe stronger topical treatments or oral medications like antibiotics, retinoids, or isotretinoin (Accutane) if necessary.

If you have acne scars, consult a dermatologist for treatment options, which may include chemical peels, microdermabrasion, or laser therapy.

Recommended Products to Treat Acne

four products that are great for getting rid of acne
When using products to clear your acne remember that it will take time. Be gentle with your skin. Image by NBC News.

Here are some popular products that can help manage and treat acne:


  • CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser
  • Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash
  • La Roche-Posay Effaclar Purifying Foaming Gel Cleanser

Topical Treatments:

  • Benzoyl Peroxide: Neutrogena On-the-Spot Acne Treatment, Acne.org 2.5% Benzoyl Peroxide Gel
  • Salicylic Acid: Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant
  • Adapalene (OTC): Differin Gel
  • Prescription Retinoids: Tretinoin, Tazorac, Retin-A Micro


  • CeraVe Moisturizing Cream
  • Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water


  • Vanicream Moisturizing Cream


  • EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46
  • La Roche-Posay Anthelios Melt-in Milk Sunscreen SPF 60

It's important to remember that what works for one person may not work for another, and it may take some trial and error to find the right products for your skin. Consulting with a dermatologist can provide personalized guidance and recommendations.

That’s all the tips and tricks we have for dealing with Acne in your mid-20s. Check back later for more!

Dealing with acne in your mid-20s requires a holistic approach that considers factors like skincare, lifestyle, diet, and potential hormonal imbalances. By understanding the causes of acne and following a consistent skincare routine with appropriate products, you can effectively manage and even prevent acne for good. Additionally, seeking professional guidance when necessary can help you achieve clearer, healthier skin in the long run.

I wish you luck on your skincare journey!

Oct 27, 2023