My Struggle with Adult Acne

As much as I think it’s important to share these things and be open about them, it’s a little hard for me to show you. I’ve struggled with acne since the age of 11, I was the first of my friends to breakout. Because of that, I always thought I’d be the first to have it clear up. I’m 23 in June this year and I still struggle with acne, just as severely as I did as a teen.

Breakout in December 2017


I do wash my face

In school the normal insult to throw at people with acne was the whole… you don’t wash your face! OMG, do you actually shower? Why don’t you cover it with makeup? Why are you wearing SO MUCH makeup? Going through my whole school journey with acne wasn’t easy to say the least. There was a girl, who at the time I was friends with, that obviously didn’t think I could hear her in the changing rooms. It was after P.E. and we were all changing, I went into the toilet. ‘Abbie has spots on her chest, that’s disgusting, it really freaks me out’. 

Being constantly talked about and stared at for a condition I genuinely had no control over was horrific. It didn’t matter what I washed my face with, how many times I showered or how many blemish treatments I tried. My acne just wouldn’t go away.

I didn’t think it would turn into adult acne…

If you’re into Chinese medicine you may be familiar with a diagram that shows what your spots are actually related to. All of my acne has always been on my chin and jawline and a little down my neck. Well, the majority, I have also had breakouts in both teen and adult acne down my back. Acne in these areas most commonly leads to problems with your hormones. I always thought it was just my hormones settling and by the time I was 18, I’d be free of it. Was I wrong or what? When I was 19/20 years old my acne settled but I still had breakouts, it just wasn’t cystic like before. Obviously, by the time I was 21 it was back and worse than ever. Adult acne hit me hard!

Scars make it worse

Since I’ve had acne for so long I have some pretty severe scarring. Luckily I don’t have indented scars, they’re just pink and purple and look like active spots. I’m finding that adult acne has scarred me worse than it did when I was a teen, maybe my skin is a little more sensitive now. I always feel conscious that it looks so much worse than it is. My scars look like acne and the entire lower half of my face just looks like on big breakout sometimes.

Acne scarring on right side of my face

Why don’t you just go on medication?

The question everyone asks. There’s a long answer to this but just to summarise it, I can’t. I’ve tried different lotions, acid treatments, dietary changes in dairy and gluten intake, cut out fats and none of those things have worked for me. I know the obvious step to take would be medication. Roaccutane or as better known in the UK, Isotretinoin is known for having many side effects. I have a long history of depression and anxiety and because of its link with depression, people with my history don’t usually get it prescribed, for good reason! I’m also not keen on the sound of a lot of the other side effects it can come with!

The other option I would have is the contraceptive pill. Because I’m overweight my only option for that is the mini-pill (POP) which is notoriously known for making acne even worse. I was on the mini-pill for 2 years and in that time, my acne was the worst it had ever been. It was actually the reason I came off of it. Although I feel like I shouldn’t have to justify it, I am losing weight slowly but surely and who knows what I’ll do when I get to a safe weight to take the normal pill. For now, my adult acne is left untreated.

Have you found anything that’s worked?

Yes, but unfortunately for me only temporarily. I used Proactiv+ and that worked wonders for the first 4 months of using it, then my acne seemed to re-appear. I have a solid skincare routine down now and my skin is the best it has been in years, once I’ve trialled it a little longer, I’ll share it with you all!

I’m not really ashamed

Although I do wish I had clear skin, I’m definitely not ashamed of the skin I have now. It happens, people have adult acne. Let’s just get over it. The spots and scars on my face definitely do not affect the person I am, my talents or my skills. Never be ashamed of the skin you’re in!

Abbie x



  1. March 1, 2018 / 6:04 pm

    You are beautiful with and without the makeup! Thank you writing this, it’s so brave of you. I’m also a sufferer of adult acne and have struggled with it since I was a teen. I find the bit you wrote about scarring as an adult is so true, my scars now are so much more prominent and I have a battle with my self esteem and confidence every day. To make things worse I always see people with such clear skin and it gets me so down. I start chemical peels very soon to treat my acne and scarring and am praying it works because it will literally change my confidence significantly. X

    • abigail
      March 2, 2018 / 9:42 am

      It’s so awful to have to deal with it at our age and that’s so true, seeing people with their glowing clear skin is really hard. Especially as it’s all over social media! I really hope that works for you, I’ve heard absolutely amazing things about chemical peels. I do acid peels at home and although they don’t make it completely disappear they help so much so with what you’re having being stronger, I have high hopes for you! Thank you for reading! xxx

  2. Brooke
    March 2, 2018 / 12:19 pm

    You are stunning, I can relate as I too have acne. Partly is scarring that looks bad. I often get people staring or commenting on my skin saying if you only washed your face or did this. I’ve tried everything, but my skin is so sensitive and reacts to most products. I’ve learnt to embrace my skin, it is a part of who I am.
    Brooke x

    • abigail
      March 3, 2018 / 10:50 am

      You’re beautiful regardless of how your skin looks! People who comment on acne obviously have NEVER had acne in their lives! xxx

  3. March 2, 2018 / 12:31 pm

    Abbie you are absolutely beautiful – don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!

    You’ve probably tried this one already but I used to have acne on my chin, chest and back and I used to use “Greased Lightning” which you can get at Lush – it dries spots out pretty quickly and I would swear by it for my skin.

    Thank you for sharing your story <3

    • abigail
      March 3, 2018 / 10:48 am

      Thank you so much for the recommendation Megan! I’ve actually not tried that product from them so I’ll definitely check it out! xxx

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