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Acne doesn’t just happen to teens. Here’s how to clear up your complexion and get on with your life.
Male Facial Spa Licious

We all expect to get wrinkles, crow’s feet and fine lines as we age—it’s just a fact of life. But long past adolescence, many people have to deal with pesky pimples too. According to a study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, about 40 percent of men have “adult acne,” with many middle-aged men among them, while only 45 percent of women in their 30s and 40s struggle with it. That could be partly because men’s skin is biologically different from women’s—thanks to higher levels of testosterone, it’s about 20 percent thicker, with more collagen, larger hair follicles and more production of sebum (an oily substance secreted by the glands), which can lead to breakouts. Sometimes the culprit is more surface-level, though: Did you know a dirty razor or a bacteria-harboring hat or helmet could cause pimples?

The easiest way to keep breakouts under control is by establishing a baseline skin care regimen—and sticking to it. Over-the-counter acne products targeted toward men are less creamy and oily than women’s varieties, as dudes usually have enough sebum as is. But almost all acne products, regardless of gender, contain either benzoyl peroxide, which kills acne-causing bacteria and removes excess oil, and/or salicylic acid, which unclogs pores.

Invest in a gentle, acne-fighting face wash, and wash your face morning and night (but not more often than that). Then, using a cotton ball, apply toner to your T-Zone (the area of your forehead, nose, mouth and chin)—the best are those that contain witch hazel, a natural astringent that reduces redness and inflammation. Finish things off with a thin layer of moisturizer and exfoliate with a scrub no more than twice a week to remove blackheads and dead skin.

If sporadic breakouts are your problem and you want to tackle zits one at a time, add spot treatments containing salicylic acid or glycolic acid into the equation. If none of the above are working, see a dermatologist, who can prescribe prescription-strength benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid or retinoids, which help to regulate cell growth and stop acne over time.

The bottom line? Though skin composition and acne products vary between the sexes, the rules are the same for men and women: Consistency is key when it comes to preventing and treating blemishes. And, oh yeah, no picking or popping, please!

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