IMAGE: Corbis

Adult acne is different from those breakouts you got as a teenager. They usually appear on the lower half of your face and unfortunately, take a longer time to respond to treatment. The best solution? Follow these eight tips for clear skin.

1. Remove your makeup properly
Most of the time, the main cause of adult acne breakouts is how you remove your makeup: Left-over makeup combines with sebum to clog pores which leads to pimples.

Use a cleanser made for removing makeup. Normal ones are too gentle for this purpose. Cleansing oils are particularly good at one-step makeup removal – try Kose Sekkisei Seikisho Perfect Cleansing Oil, DHC Deep Cleansing Oil or Shu Uemura Balancing Cleansing Oil Fresh which don’t leave an uncomfortable film.

After cleansing, make sure you go over your face using a cotton pad drenched in toner to ensure skin is completely clean.

As for makeup, choose products labelled "non-comedogenic" like those from Ettusais. This means they won’t clog your pores. 

2. Moisturise
Moisturisers boost the water content in your skin, so it appears plump and smooth. Hydration also helps softens whiteheads and bumps on your skin so they come off easily when you exfoliate.

Try Cetaphil Daily Advance Ultra Hydrating Lotion, Bliss No Zit Sherlock Oil Control Moisturiser or Atache Oily SK Balancing Cream I (available at Glow Couture, #03-75 The Central) which are made for oily and acne-prone skin types.

Stay away from moisturisers with ingredients like petrolatum, lanolin, sesame oil and cocoa butter. These will trap bacteria beneath them when you use too much.

Within the week, alternate between an exfoliating or acne treatment like Bliss Steep Clean Pore Purifying Mask – recommended to me by Yelena Royzen, lead educator of Bliss Spa New York  – and a hydrating mask like Fancl Beauty Facial Treatment Mask to get the best of both worlds.

3. Stick to a skincare routine
It takes two weeks for cleansers to start having a visible effect while serums, moisturisers and treatments products need four to six weeks. Changing products every week exposes your skin to different ingredients and this could lead to irritation and even more breakouts.

4. Don’t use hair styling products near your face
Hair products, especially styling waxes and gels, contain ingredients that can get into the follicles and cause spots around your hairline and forehead. Avoid applying styling products on your fringe because it has direct contact with your face.

5. Choose good carbs
Here’s how it works. When the body tries to metabolise refined sugars found in cookies, candy and just about every processed product in the supermarket, it releases insulin which stimulates certain hormones in our body, mainly the male hormone, androgen.

This increases sebum production, and thus, leads to a higher incidence of acne when the sebum isn’t cleansed off properly or gets clogged in pores.

Choose complex carbs like fresh fruits and veggies which you will give you a sugar fix but not cause a huge spike in insulin levels.

6. Don’t stress
Stress also causes the adrenal glands to secrete more androgen. If you have a big day coming up which is causing you unwanted tension, use an acne-fighting cleanser like Ettusais Pore Care Wash daily. Follow with an acne treatment like Aqualabel White AC Essence or Epiduo (available by prescription) and moisturiser. 

If the pimples are still there, use a concealer with acne-fighting properties like Clinelle Blemish Conceal & Clear Stick to treat at the same time.

7. Use a cream to calm irritation after removing facial hair
Bacteria can get deeper into pores after waxing or tweezing and applying creams afterwards will make the problem worse. Threading also causes skin irritation because of the tugging action. Try using a 1 per cent hydrocortisone cream, a steroid cream which can be bought over-the-counter at pharmacies to relieve skin inflammation.

8. Don’t tan
Other than the well-documented ageing effects, tanning also makes your skin thicker. This causes excess skin cells to collect, pores to clog and whiteheads and blackheads to appear. Doesn’t sound attractive, right?

Sunblocks could also cause acne as many contain base formulas which are non-comedogenic. Again, pick ones which don’t contain the skin-occlusive ingredients mentioned in the third point.