Adult Acne: Prevalence, Tips to Beat It and Prevention

Adult acne, or post-adolescent acne, is acne that occurs after age 25. In the 1980's adult acne was a rare occurrence amongst our population. Yet within four decades, adult-onset acne now affects more than 50% of women aged 20 to 29 and goes all the way up to 25% of women aged 40 to 491.

Acne is not just for teens — there are extraordinary numbers of adults with acne, and the numbers seem to be going up,” — Dr. Adam Friedman, interim chair of dermatology at the George Washington University School of Medicine.

“I treat more adult acne patients than teens, and it’s mostly women in the thirty to fifty age range.” Friedman says.

Why Is Acne More Prevalent Than Ever?

Dr Friedman believes that certain acne treatments may be to blame as they unbalance the skin’s microbiome2.

“It’s only during the last 50 years that teenagers started using all these acne products” — salicylic acid washes, prescription antibiotics and benzoyl peroxide creams to name a few — “and now we’re seeing massive numbers of adults with acne,” Friedman says.

The DIY revolution has led many to use products that are too harsh for their skin or layer multiple products which were never designed to work together.

This can disrupt the skin's microbiome making their skin more prone to breakouts.

“What we put on our skin can improve or disrupt the survival of these microorganisms. This is something we didn’t know before, but we’re paying attention to now” says Dr. Friedman.

What Should I Do?

Deanna, from Essex, had enjoyed clear skin throughout her teenage years but started to get adult-onset acne through her 20’s. She tried every cosmetic, diet, and lifestyle change imaginable but still could never find any solution that's lasting.

Excluding the factors which are largely out of our control: hormonal-shifts, relocating for work, pollution and stress. Here are some practical tips on how to stop persistent acne:

  1. Less is more when it comes to skincare. Resist the urge to layer on multiple products unless you know they were designed to work together.

    Also, higher concentrations of active ingredients lead to increased side effects. Well formulated lotions often contain multiple active ingredients in lower concentrations because the ingredients work together to drive better results without the need for high concentrations (hence less side effects).

  2. Focus on quality. Opt for ingredients which are US Pharmacopeia or British Pharmacopeia certified. The certifications ensure the purity and potency of the ingredients (less unwanted side effects).

  3. Don't get suckered into fad products. When it comes to acne, look for products which have an established track record of success. Has there been comprehensive medical research on the products?

    Also, look at the Google Reviews on the acne product. I would be suspicious if the brand disabled their Google Reviews and opted for a third party review site where they pay to censor their reviews.

  4. Play the long game. There is too much focus on products that treat a breakout after it has already surfaced when the focus should be on PREVENTING pimples from surfacing in the first place.

    This means purging out the clogs trapped inside your pores that eventually surface as pimples.

How Do I Get Rid of Acne for Good?

At the root of all acne is a clogged pore.

Therefore our primary focus should be on the most effective ways to prevent clogs from being trapped inside our pores before it becomes a recipe for pimples.

To know what's effective, we look at the algorithm below:


Looking at the playbook which dermatologists use to treat acne, retinoids³ are the dermatologist's first choice for treatment followed by AZA. Here's why:

Retinol - The Gold Standard

Maybe you’ve heard of topical vitamin A (retinoids)? They are the primary tool dermatologists use to treat breakouts4.

And for a good reason!

It is very effective in stopping acne by flushing out dead skin and clogs trapped inside your pores.

If there are no clogs, pimples do not form.

Note: Depending on what is trapped inside your pores at the time you start using retinol, pimples may surface as retinol draws out the clogs.

It is necessary to clear these clogs in order to get clear skin. Had you left these clogs trapped in your pores, they would only fester and grow larger in size.

AZA - The Unsung Hero?

In the derm's acne treatment listed above, AZA is often used together to fight acne.

AZA works well with retinol as it flattens the pimples.

It is also very effective in diminishing the appearance of acne marks and hyperpigmentation5.

It takes the edge off retinol as AZA calms the skin and reduces skin sensitivity6.

Meet Clear Out – Effective, Gentle Solution for Clear Skin

Most acne products only have a SINGLE active ingredient. However, to maximize effectiveness and minimize irritation, Clearly Basics spent years formulating Clear Out so that it contains BOTH retinol + AZA.

*We've combined the top two ingredients which derms use to fight acne (in the right percentages) to drive synergy. This means Clear Out is very effective in flushing out clogs while being gentle on sensitive skin.

This unique formulation is a deadly combination that flattens active pimples and reduces future breakouts.

Since retinol is used in low percentages, Clear Out is gentle on the skin and does not disrupt the skin's biome. Over 50% of our users have sensitive or combination skin and they have no issues using Clear Out.

It took us years of intensive research to create this formulation that can’t be found anywhere else on the market!

98% of people who use Clear Out see significant improvements. If you don't see a noticeable improvement after using your first bottle of Clear Out, you can get a full refund through Clearly's moneyback guarantee.

See what others have to say...

Real People with REAL, Lasting Results

Clearly Basics has helped many adults with acne ranging from mild to severe; people with sensitive skin to people with extremely oily skin. For a personalized assessment, please click "Send Message" on the Clearly Basics Facebook page.

Here are some of our user's stories below. These are users who have documented their entire acne journey on Instagram, including products they have used before they started Clearly Basics:

Toni (@xx.tonilumsden), a stylist from Hertfordshire spent over $6500 in acne products and treatments that did nothing for her acne…

Then she discovered the Power Duo and it changed her life…

@xx.tonilumsden Individual results may vary

Never in my life did I imagine my skin would be this clear! Clearly Basics has completely transformed my skin!”

Alisha (@skinwithak) suffered from severe acne and went on oral medications 3 times before finding Clear Out:


@skinwithak Individual results may vary

All I can say is ‘Clear Out’ by @clearlybasics is a Godsend ❤️ It doesn’t leave me overly dry or flaky which most retinol creams did.” "I wish I came across Clearly Basics before starting oral medication as I would have purchased these and wouldn't have had to put my body through so much!"

Although Deanna (@deannaskin) saw minor progress by going vegan and using natural products, she saw the most improvement using Clear Out. Occasionally, she may get a flare up, but with Clear Out, it goes away quickly.

@deannaskin Individual results may vary

“At the moment, my skin looks a lot clearer and fresher than usual and I've gained so much more confidence after using Clear Out."

Or Ella (@_myskinstory), an aesthetician and a makeup artist who has not found anything like Clear Out to keep her breakouts under control.


"Clear Out is my favorite and most recommended product to any of my followers who suffer with mild-acne as well as post-acne suffers. The combination of ingredients are unique and work THE BEST in keeping spots at bay as well as improving acne marks & scars."

And many more reviews….


How is Clear Out any different from other retinol or AZA products?

Most products in the market contain only a SINGLE active ingredient so it does not use multiple pathways to address your skin concern.

Using multiple ingredients simultaneously is more EFFECTIVE, but getting the percentages correct in order to maximize synergy is difficult without precision machinery.

Every ingredient in Clear Out took years to balance in order to maximize synergy: ingredients work together to address your skin concerns with better results and less side effects.

I have sensitive skin. Can I use Clear Out?

Clear Out can work on its own for 95% of the population. The formulation is gentle yet powerful enough to tackle many cases that would otherwise require prescription medication.

For the 5% with very sensitive skin, add the Protective Moisturizer. Using Clear Out with the Protective Moisturizer will ensure that it works for even the most sensitive of skin. The Protective Moisturizer contains a wealth of antioxidants and botanicals that nourish your skin and peptides that simulate your lipid barrier to regrow.

This moisturizer reduces your skin's sensitivity and reduces general redness/blushing. It doesn't clog your pores even on the most sensitive skin!

I Have Oily Skin, What's Best for Me?

Acne and larger pores are often attributed to oily skin.

As pores are clogged, oil may not reach its intended target leading to a vicious cycle of overproduction (clogged pores -> more oil production -> more clogged pores).

Thus we designed the Matte Hydrator, to break the oil production cycle. It keeps your skin matte and supple so that your skin does not need to overproduce as much oil during the day!

Most skincare brands have one, perhaps two formulations that are really effective.

However, Clearly carries FIVE formulations that are UNIQUE and the BEST in its class: Clear Out, Lighten Up, Protective Moisturizer, Matte Hydrator and Dark Mark Defense.

What if it doesn't work on my skin?

Clear Out is so EFFECTIVE that you will get a full 90-day money back guarantee if you do not see a noticeable improvement after your first bottle. T&Cs apply.

This moneyback guarantee has been on every bottle of Clear Out and we have seen over +98% success rate.

How long will it take to see results?

In the first month, this formulation will trigger a purge of dead skin trapped in your pores which can appear as flakes or low level breakouts.

This purge will peak at week 5 and subside after week 8 of use. At week 10, you will turn over a clearer layer of skin that is less clog prone. See below:

@xx.tonilumsden Individual results may vary.

Directions for use?

Clear Out is only used in the evening as part of your night-time routine:

  1. Wash your face with a cleanser
  2. Apply toner (if applicable)
  3. Apply Clear Out (leave-in lotion)
  4. Apply moisturizer or other skincare that you normally use in the evening

Try Clear Out, Risk FREE!

If you finish an entire bottle and don’t see any results…

You’re entitled to a full refund within 90 days! T&Cs apply.

Try it with CONFIDENCE!

1. Joshua A. Zeichner et al, 2017 : Emerging Issues in Adult Female Acne
2. Adam Friedman, 2019 : Why Is Acne More Prevalent Than Ever?
3. James Leyden et al, 2017 : Why Topical Retinoids Are Mainstay of Therapy for Acne
4. Expert Rev Clin Pharmacol, 2010 : Acne Algorithm from the Global Alliance algorithm to improve outcomes in acne
5. Nazzaro-Porro, et al : AZA in the treatment of acne
6. Paula Begoun : Everything You Need to Know About AZA for Skin


Nothing on this article should be interpreted as personal medical advice. For medical related matters, please consult with your dermatologist.

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See what others have to say about Clearly Basics.

Based on 15 reviews
Skin Type: Combination

I am so happy that I stumbled upon clearly basics on instagram. I was skeptical at first but decided to give it a try and bought clear out clarifying lotion. It's been 2 months and my skin has improved a lot. I can see significant reduction in pores and acne.

Skin Type: Combination

After years of medication and products, I decided to try clearly basics. In just 6 weeks my skin has calmed and I am now able to treat scarring.

So glad to have found these products!

Finding products that helped to control my acne without irritating my sensitive skin has always been a huge challenge. The clearly basics products have been my saviour, I can't recommend them enough ☺️

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️Excellent and actually works

I am so incredibly impressed with the TLC for pore minimising - it 💯 works and has transformed my skin.

I’m in my 50’s and always had hormonal flare ups with larger pores as I age - this is a game changer and have just reordered my 3rd bottle !


Lighten Up Redness Rescue Cream
Veronica Ilenya Ranieri
Skin Type: Sensitive / Dry

Has changed my skin from acne pro to almost perfect 😍😍

Skin Type: Combination
Obsessed !!

Obsessed with this cleanser!! It left me feeling fresh and prevented break outs. It is incredible . Loved this product so much

My skin feels so soft after using this moisturiser!

My skin feels so soft after using this moisturiser!

Skin Type: Combination
Fresh and clean!

My face is filled with energy and feels so fresh and clean!

Skin Type: Normal
excellent item!

have been using this for years! so good for my skin :)

So Fresh pH Balancing Cleanser
Carmelinda Di Manno
Skin Type: Combination
Fresh Feeling

My skin feels so clean and still hydrated when I use this cleanser. It’s balancing and refreshing. My skin has responded really well to it and at times my skin can be sensitive. I highly recommend this product to anyone with relatively oily t-zone area

Skin Type: Combination
Very happy!

Love the texture, the minty scent and the lather.
I wish the bottles were a bit bigger HOWEVER they are just small enough to fly with.

Skin Type: Normal
Comments: The only thing I now need to use to keep my skin clear.
The holy grail for clearing hormonal acne.

This is the only product that I have needed to keep my skin clear since discovering it about 2 years ago, after suddenly developing cystic hormonal acne at the age of 25. I now only need to use it every second night, so it's incredibly affordable. It has also never irritated my sensitive skin and it has faded previous acne marks to truly clear my skin. After years of trying expensive supplements/products/harsh prescription creams, Clear Out was the only thing that gave me long-lasting results.

Skin Type: Oily
Clearly Basics is the only product that has helped my Adult Acne

I have always struggled with dehydrated acne prone skin. Every month like clockwork I would get a new breakout on my chin or cheek area. These included large cystic acne that by the time they came to a head would take me months to clear. With new breakouts each month this created more & more spots before the first could heal leaving more hyper pigmentation spots that never have time to clear. Clearly basics changed all that for me. It gave my skin a chance to heal and reduced the number of breakouts each month. When I do get a new breakout it resolves itself quickly with less scarring and redness. Now that the acne is under control the products are helping to eliminate the remaining hyper pigmentation spots left from years of acne. I have not been using the product for long but I will continuing relying on this product and look forward to the day I can happily look in the mirror at a smooth clear & even complexion some day soon.

Skin Type: Combination
Comments: Product consistency in terms of smoothness/coarseness/stickiness/ is sometimes a miss, don't believe it affects the result provided.
Great Combo

Have seen great improvements by using these 2 items concurrently, hard to fault and wil continue purchasing.

Individual results may vary

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