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Post in Acne-Prone Skin

Adult Acne or Something Else?

I’m 34 and have always had good, clear skin. About a year ago these small skin colored bumps



mixed with a random pimple/blackhead started to appear on my cheeks. I’ve tried exfoliating, using AHA & BHA peel, acne face washes and I still can’t get it to go away. I’ve been using The Ordinary acne serum too. Nothing works. Please help!!  

Re: Adult Acne or Something Else?

@beautypr222  If you gave BHA (salicylic acid) exfoliants and face washes ample time to do their thing—say, a month or 2—and nothing's changed, I recommend seeing a dermatologist if you can. I could say your bumps look like closed comedones but they could be a symptom of another skin condition. Since I'm not a medical doctor, I can't truly diagnose you. Neither can anyone else on BIC unless they happen to be a medical doctor who deals with skin. 🙂 


I will say there are a few other things you can try, if it's acne: 


  • Azelaic acid, like The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension 10% or Paula's Choice 10% Azelaic Acid Booster 
  • Benzoyl peroxide, readily available in drugstores; Paula's Choice has one in her CLEAR line of products 
  • The retinoid adapalene: OTC options are Differin and La Roche-Posay Effaclar Adapalene Gel; you can also get prescription strength adapalene from a derm or other doctor 
  • Other retinoids (retinol, retinaldehyde, tretinoin, etc.) might also help; see a doc to decide which one's best for you 
  • A clay mask can sometimes help with blackheads: consider The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Masque which contains BHA, clay, and charcoal; I like to use Origins Clear Improvement® Active Charcoal Mask to Clear Pores 2.5 oz/ 75 mL on my oily zone and wherever I see acne clusters 
  • Frequently change your pillowcase to cut down on bacteria exposure 

I hope you're able to find something that helps! I know how frustrating it is to suddenly get acne well into adulthood. I'm in my late 40s and occasionally get acne outbursts. 🤦‍♀️ With my derm's guidance, I usually treat mine with a rotation of BHA products, retinol (I use retinol for other reasons, but it does also help my acne), a clay + charcoal mask, and azelaic acid. 

Re: Adult Acne or Something Else?

I also use a retinol at night  that I love from The Ordinary!! 

Re: Adult Acne or Something Else?

Thank you for the advice! I’ve never been to a dermatologist but think it’s time for a visit. I’ve been using a benzyl peroxide face wash but it still hasn’t helped. I keep hearing great things about Paul’s Choice! I think I will try that. I also love the Ordinary but haven’t tried these products. 

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