How To Fix Your Most Common Skin Problems, According to Experts

This generation is decidedly different from previous ones — and I'm not just talking about technological advancements or societal changes. Members of the dermatological community have recently seen a rise in adult acne, meaning the number of women needing quick fixes for common skincare problems is growing. Just this week, my mother said to me, “When I was younger, acne just used to be a teenager thing. You just didn’t see bad skin in your 20s the way you do today.”

And with a little further research, it’s yet again proven that moms are normally right. According to a recent study of 92 private dermatology clinics, there’s been a 200 percent rise in the amount of adults who seek a specialist’s treatment over problem-prone skin. So what can women do to fix common adult acne problems?

To get some insight into the matter, I turned to dermatologist Dr. Jessica Weiser of New York Dermatology Group. She was exceptionally helpful in clearing up (no pun intended) my questions about the causes and solutions associated with adult skincare problems. Weiser said, “The most common skincare issues in 20- to 30-year-old women include acne, oily skin, dry or sensitive skin, and inadequate sun protection,” she told me. The causes? Dr. Weiser said that it’s often related to a combination of “hormonal dysregulation” and “poor skincare product selection.”

So what's that mean for you? It means clean, clear skin throughout adulthood is often just a matter of keeping your hormones in check through healthy lifestyle choices, in addition to scanning your labels for gentle, safe, and nourishing ingredients. Here are Dr. Weiser’s best tips for solving the most common skincare problems many women face today.

For Discoloration Or Blackheads, Exfoliate With Papaya

Organic Papaya Honey Exfoliation Mask , $26, Amazon

Dr. Weiser says, “Fruits such as papaya are naturally rich in papain and vitamin A, which help turn over skin cells and reduce pigmentation.” This organic papaya and honey exfoliation mask is a convenient take on a DIY papaya mask, as it’s made with only natural ingredients like honey, neem leaf, sage, Echinacea, essential oils, and of course, rejuvenating and healing papaya. Dr. Weiser suggests gently exfoliating with vitamin A-rich products two to three times a week, in order to alleviate blackheads and clogged pores. This formula is especially great for those with rosacea or other skin-coloration issues, and because the ingredients are 100 percent organic and wild-crafted, it’s gentle and healing on even the most sensitive skin.

Get Rid Of Inflammation With Rose Water

Organic Rose Water Spray , $20, Amazon

When it comes to inflammation-based problems like cystic acne or puffy skin, Dr. Weiser says, “inflammation can be targeted with rose water or tea tree oil to soothe skin and reduce redness.” This organic rose water spray is distilled from organic Moroccan Rosa Damascena rose petals (without any added fillers, pesticides, chemicals, astringents, or preservatives). Because rose water is known to reduce redness, nourish the skin with vitamins, tighten pores, and reduce swelling, reviewers use this on a daily basis as a beautiful-smelling and natural toner. Plus, as this one comes in a spray bottle, application is easy, smooth, and convenient.

For Extra Oily Skin, Cleanse With A Clay Mud Mask

Bentonite Clay Mud Mask , $14, Amazon

For skin that’s especially oily, Dr. Weiser suggests a good-quality clay mud mask because it’s “clarifying, and decreases oil production.” This bentonite clay mud mask contains nothing but Amaki sodium bentonite clay, sourced from Wyoming. This particular clay has a negative ionic charge, which makes it especially effective when pulling up excess oils, impurities, and dirt from your skin. Not only does it drastically clear up blackheads and pimples, but it helps to shrink and cleanse pores, keeping your face looking clean, fresh, and oil-free. This set also comes with a bonus konjac sponge for exfoliation and cleansing, as well as a clay applicator brush for applying the mask to your face. Reviewers say it’s easy and fun to use, washes off with no effort, and leaves even the most oily skin feeling cool, fresh, and clean.

Unclog Your Pores With Lactic-Acid From Yogurt

Orgaid Greek Yogurt Organic Face Mask , $39, Amazon

When I asked about at-home remedies for clogged pores, Dr. Weiser suggested yogurt. “The lactic acid helps gently remove dead skin cells and relieve clogs.” These Orgaid greek yogurt organic face masks take the breakfast-related skincare method to a new level in the form of an easy, breathable fabric sheet mask. Not only does it contain yogurt to nourish, brighten, and cleanse skin, but it also has organic botanicals and vitamins to soothe, firm, and leave you with a luminous glow. The mask itself adheres to your face and helps the nutrients soak into your skin further, and because it’s fitted and contains holes for your eyes and nose, it’s easy to go about your business while indulging in a deep-healing facial. Reviewers say these masks (which come in a set of six) smell great and leave their faces feeling smooth and looking clear.

If Whiteheads Are Your Issue, Clear Up Breakouts With Sulfur

TreeActiv Anti Acne Sulfur Mask , $16, Amazon

If acne is your worst nightmare, sulfur might just be your best friend. According to Dr. Weiser, it’s a great ingredient to look for in your skincare routine. Why? “It’s anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and redness-reducing,” she said. TreeActiv's anti-acne sulfur mask is specifically made to pull impurities out of your skin, tackle the breakout-causing bacteria, and smooth and soften your face, all in one easy mask. It has all-natural ingredients like sulfur, bentonite clay, witch hazel, aloe vera, and grapefruit oil, all of which thoroughly cleanse skin without leaving pores feeling dry, irritated, or tight, like other acne-fighting solutions. It also possesses healing properties to reduce discoloration and acne scarring, and reviewers even say it smells like citrus.

Switch To Natural Products To Combat Dryness And Eczema

Beauty by Earth Skincare Bundle , $32, Amazon

According to Dr. Weiser, patients with dryness or eczema need to take particular care when selecting skincare products, as allergic reactions can be caused by certain chemicals. The Beauty by Earth skincare bundle could offer those with sensitive skin a complete skincare overhaul. Because this set contains a hydrating facial mask, a toner, and two cleansing sponges, you’re killing three birds with one stone, and all of those metaphorical birds are 100 percent natural and organic. The mask hydrates and cleanses with aloe, shea butter, jojoba oil, and bentonite clay, while the toner evens with witch hazel, cucumber extract, and rose water. Plus, the sponges exfoliate and clean with nothing but natural bamboo fibers and activated charcoal. Whether you’ve got oily, acne-prone skin, or dry, easily-irritated skin, this combination of fresh ingredients is sure to heal, nourish, and pamper even the most sensitive of faces.

Protect Your Skin And Your Heath With Chemical-Free Sunscreen

Naked Turtle Natural Mineral Sunscreen , $16, Amazon

“Sun protection still remains a common problem," says Dr. Weiser. "Many patients are not applying broad-spectrum (UVA and UVB) sun protection daily, and only seldom are patients appropriately reapplying sun protection every two hours when outside for prolonged sun exposure.” Reach for a mineral-based sunscreen to protect your skin, like Naked Turtle's natural mineral sunscreen. Not only does it shield your skin with broad-spectrum UVA and UVB protection, but it also contains healing and anti-oxidant rich ingredients like aloe vera, coconut oil, green tea extract, vitamin E, cranberry seed oil, and shea butter. Along with the fact that it uses primarily minerals and natural ingredients, reviewers love its smooth consistency, and how it absorbs without greasy residue.

Don’t Let Stress Contribute To Your Acne

De-Stress Essential Oil Set , $15, Amazon

“The stress hormone, cortisol, can have many negative impacts on the skin and body,” Dr. Weiser says, including an increased incidence of acne. My personal go-to distressing activity is definitely meditation, but to deepen my practice, essential oils are my not-so-secret weapon for bringing down stress hormones. Essential oils (like the De-Stress essential oil set) can be applied topically or breathed in through aromatherapy to help you calm down and relieve anxiety. This particular set is made with high quality therapeutic-grade oils, and they're all specifically geared toward de-stressing you (including blood orange, ylang ylang, lemongrass, grapefruit, and chamomile to create three distinct blends: Stress Relief, Relaxation, and Quiet Time).

Incorporate More Nutrients Into Your Meals & Clean Up Your Skin

Clean Eating Cookbook & Diet, $7, Amazon

Dr. Weiser told me that a highly processed diet is associated with dull complexion and higher incidence of acne and inflammation. She says, “A body sustained on brightly colored nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables, plenty of water intake, healthy fats and grains, and good skin care will have healthy radiant skin." As soon as I freshened up my own diet with clean eating, my skin followed suit. This clean eating cookbook is one of the best resources when it comes to trying simple and delicious recipes, as well as getting tips on grocery shopping. It’s also a great start for anyone looking to cut out the processed, sugary foods, and switch to preparing fresh, natural meals that could lead to better skin.

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Images: Unsplash/María Victoria Heredia Reyes; Amazon (9)