I’M well and truly past my teen years, but while I no longer go for 21-year-old guys who are, quite simply, the worst, and I’ve lost the ability to guzzle a $2 bottle of Passion Pop in 45 minutes without consequence, there’s one hallmark of adolescence that has reared its head again in my mid-20s: Hormonal acne.
Until around six months ago, my skin had remained mostly breakout free since I grew out of my awkward, pimply teen stage (sidebar: is it just me, or do girls these days seem to skip that completely?).
I remember the moment things changed clearly. I’d been living in New York for a few months and was spending the first warm weekend of Spring in the Hamptons, enjoying the sunshine after surviving an actual polar vortex, and I was feeling pretty damn good about life.
Over the weekend a few little bumps appeared around my chin — odd, I thought, before putting the unusual breakout down to hormones and getting on with my agenda of drinking rosé in the sun.
Over the following few weeks the painful blemishes crept up my chin and expanded across my cheeks, before wreaking havoc across my oily t-zone. Within a month, there were painful cysts dotting my cheeks against which concealer stood no chance. And, if I’m being totally honest with you (the internet’s a safe space, right?) I started declining my usual roster of midweek dinners and weekend activities because a) I was mortified, and b) Vanity.
After an emergency trip to a dermatologist, I started on antibiotics. Over the next eight weeks, I made many more “emergency” appointments and tried two different types of antibiotics, and multiple acne creams and cleansers, all with zero success. Salicylic acid! Benzoyl peroxide! Glycolic acid! None of it worked, and my skin just got redder, angrier, and more painful.
Eventually, I gave up the meds, and did what thousands of frustrated women with beauty dilemmas have done before me; I asked Google. Admit it, that’s how you found this article, isn’t it?
Somehow, looking for “best cures for adult acne,” and “how to get rid of adult acne,” took me deep into Reddit’s natural health threads. There, I landed on a conversation about a natural way to fight acne that costs less than $35, which is approximately one zillion dollars less than I was spending on specialist medication. The alleged cure to my skin woes? A humble bottle of apple cider vinegar users claimed had totally transformed their own complexions. “Too good to be true,” I thought, while picking up my wallet and keys and making a beeline to the nearest supermarket.
Over the next couple of weeks I started religiously swapping my toner for a diluted concoction of one part organic apple cider vinegar (ACV) with one part tap water. Every night after cleansing my face I applied the stuff, ignoring the smell and imploring my (patient, very) boyfriend to do the same. Hot tip: I quickly learned that if you have any kind of open cut or pimple, keep ACV as far away as possible — that stuff burns and leaves a nasty red mark if you’re not careful.
Things started improving within four or five days; the small, persistent marks on my chin just kind of dried out and didn’t return, and the larger cystic bumps did the same over a two-week period. It’s now been six months of obsessive ACV-ing, and my adult acne has completely disappeared, save for the odd hormonal breakout every couple of months.
Now, I obviously understand that following health, or even beauty, advice from random people on the internet is rarely a wise decision, but on this particular occasion things worked out. To find out why, I chatted with New York — based dermatologist Whitney Bowe, who, thankfully, gave my natural remedy her blessing. “Apple cider vinegar helps restore and balance your skin’s pH levels, wipes out bacteria and dissolves dead skin cells,” she said of my $3 fix. This, apparently, is not how the prescription face washes I’d been prescribed worked: “The natural acidity in our skin can be disrupted when we use harsh cleansers and soaps. This in turn destroys the acid mantle protecting our skin from harmful bacteria, germs, and pollutants. ACV returns acidity to your skin and the malic acid in apple cider vinegar makes it antibacterial, wiping out bacteria.”
She warned that diluting the solution is particularly important to avoid drying out your skin, and suggests anyone with more sensitive skin should heavily water-down the solution, or even chat to a dermatologist before trying it. And while this may not be a cure for absolutely everyone, if my personal experience is anything to go by, strangers on Reddit might just be able to do what your dermatologist couldn’t, and get rid of that adult acne for good.
The original article is at: news.com.au