Keep skin balanced and prevent breakouts

Avoid alcohol-based cleansers and make friends with acids

I passed through my teens with the standard issues – uncontrollable greasiness, smelling inexplicably of dry cat food if I didn’t shower twice daily, and almost perpetual social anxiety.

It was only when I was in my early twenties that the acne hit, and stayed for more than four years. Adult acne is increasingly common, with women over 40 receiving the highest proportion of diagnoses. For teens and adults, it can be incredibly debilitating to self-confidence, as well as physically uncomfortable or even painful.

If you experience any of these symptoms, head to your GP or dermatologist for professional advice. If, like most of us, you simply want to keep skin balanced and manage its propensity to break out at any age, there are useful products available.

Glamglow Supermud Clearing Treatment (€45)
Acids are an acneic skin's soulmate. This mud mask contains glycolic, salicylic and lactic acids to break down the bonds between dead surface skin cells and new ones underneath, minimising blockages and breakouts.


L'Oréal Paris Pure Clay Detox Mask (€11.49)
A more affordable alternative to the mask above, this has similar sebum-absorbing properties, though without the element of chemical exfoliation which makes the Glamglow mask so effective.

Sunday Riley UFO Oil (€88)
Good oils don't encourage more oil production in the skin; the reduce it by discouraging the skin from producing excess sebum. Drying, alcohol-rich skincare will do precisely the opposite by desiccating skin so that it produces more oil. This product is rich in salicylic acid, the only ingredient to effectively penetrate blockages and break them down.

Nizoral shampoo (€16.45)
Seborrhoeic dermatitis is often mistaken for acne in teenagers and leads to excessively oily hair, dandruff, and red pimple-like bumps around the forehead and hairline. A medicated shampoo such as Nizoral will clear it right up.

Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Night Pads (€20.99)
Use these twice weekly to exfoliate skin without the need for scrubbing, reduce the likelihood of breakouts and increase cell turnover, improving clarity and texture.

Garnier Pure Active Sensitive Anti-Blemish Soap-Free Gel Wash (€7.65)
A good option for teens as a morning face wash, this is non-drying and soap-free.

Kiehl's Breakout Control Blemish Treatment Lotion (€49)
This salicylic acid formula can be applied once daily to areas where you have a breakout, helping it to clear faster. It really works.

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo Plus (€17.99)
Effaclar Duo Plus is a more affordable alternative to the Kiehl's lotion above, and every bit as effective. It minimises the red, angry effects of breakouts and is very helpful for those painful bumpy welts women are prone to around menstruation.

Pixi + Caroline Hirons Double Cleanse (€28)

If you have acne and you own an astringent, alcohol cleanser, bin it. It is making your skin worse. Opt instead for a bland, non-comedogenic cleanser such as this one, which is beautiful to use. The soft, oily balm cleans skin without drying or bothering it in any way, and the cream does the same. If you wear make-up, always cleanse twice to remove every trace of makeup.