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3 Times In Life When You Experience Acne

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Acne can make us self-conscious about our appearances no matter how old we are. There are three times in our lives when we are more prone to acne breakouts: during our teens, during pregnancy and perimenopause, and, of course, during stressful times. The good news is that there are solutions! Here at Dermacare of Hampton Roads, our Experts take tremendous care in recommending products and services to address our patients’ acne concerns. Today we’re going to break down these three most common stages of life when you may experience acne and how we can treat it together!

Teenage years

Acne during teenage years is extremely common due to the hormonal changes that accompany puberty. During this time, acne can show up on the face, neck, shoulders, upper back, chest—basically, everywhere. Many times, if your parents had acne as a teenager, it’s likely that you will too. The good news is that, for most people, acne experienced during puberty will usually go away after this stage of life is over. 

In the meantime, here are a few tips to help manage teenage acne.

  • Wash your face (or the acne affected area)! Everyone’s acne is different, so for some people, washing the acne affected area once a day may be enough; for others, washing twice (preferably morning and night) will be necessary. We usually recommend a gentle cleanser. Depending on your type of acne, a salicylic acid (SA) cleanser or a benzoyl peroxide (BPO) cleanser can be helpful. (If you’re not sure which is right for your acne, check out this blog: Stop Summer Breakouts.)
  • Avoid using harsh washcloths when cleansing your face. Scrubbing your face too much or too forcefully can actually make acne worse because it can irritate the skin. Be gentle with your skin. We know how frustrating acne can be to deal with. But trust us when we say to be gentle with yourself and your skin. (You’re doing your best!)
  • If you wear makeup or sunscreen, make sure they are labeled non-comedogenic. Non-comedogenic basically means the product won’t clog your pores. This goes for all ages!
  • Use a light moisturizer. It’s a common misconception that you don’t need moisturizer if you have acne. It’s actually really important to hydrate the skin, but with acne we recommend using a light moisturizer, something like Dermacare of Hampton Roads’s HydraLite Moisturizer. It’s oil-free and lightweight so it won’t clog your pores.
  • Follow product guidelines. Remember to only use as much product as directed and to follow the instructions. Underuse or overuse of acne products can make them seem ineffective or lead to consequences such as dry skin.
  • Don’t stress! If you’re having trouble managing your acne, we can help. Our Dermacare of Hampton Roads Experts are always available for a free, virtual consultation wherein they can advise which type of products and/or treatments will help treat your specific kind of acne. 

Pregnancy and perimenopause

While most moms-to-be look forward to the pregnancy glow, another common skin change that can happen during pregnancy is acne. Yep, even if you’ve never had it before in your life. This happens because of a surge in hormones, which typically occurs at the 6-week mark of pregnancy. Extra oil (also known as sebum) can clog up your pores, which can lead to breakouts from bacterial buildup.

While a number of acne treatment methods are off-limits during pregnancy, there are still a few ways to help get rid of stubborn acne. These include the use of gentle cleansers, keeping your stress in check (which we discuss next!), and making smarter lifestyle choices that benefit both you and your baby. You can also receive deep-cleansing facials, modified Salt Facials, and use probiotics such as Serene Skin to help keep your skin clear. 

And as if mood swings and hot flashes weren’t enough… 

Some women have to add acne breakouts to their list of perimenopausal symptoms. (How unfair!) Once again, hormones are to blame. Most women experience hormonal changes before, during, and after menopause. Yes, unfortunately that means you may experience acne for years, but treatment is available to help keep acne breakouts in check! (See teenage years above for more information on how to manage acne symptoms.) 


When you’re feeling stressed, you may notice that you experience both emotional and physical side effects. There are two hormones that are released when you’re stressed that are believed to worsen acne due to an overproduction of oil glands.

These two hormones are: 

  • Glucocorticoids
  • Adrenal androgens

Both of these hormones can either worsen acne you already have OR lead to an acne breakout. If you think your acne breakouts are related to your stress levels, try to drop your stress levels by practicing mindfulness and/or getting enough sleep and exercise. (For more information and help on this, check out this blog post: Why Your Skin Breaks Out When You’re Stressed.)

You’ll also want to ensure that you’re using the right products to treat your specific kind of acne. If you’re unsure, we recommend making an appointment with a Dermacare of Hampton Roads Expert. They’ll give you a thorough consultation, listen to your concerns and goals, and help devise an action plan on how to address your specific type of acne and skin concerns.

To make an appointment with a Dermacare of Hampton Roads Expert, give us a call at 757-547-7546 or book a free virtual consultation today.

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