4 things to remember about mid-life acne over 30!

Hi Dr.Irwin! I feel like you've explained this before but seems like I'm still a little lost... I'm 45 years old with acne prone skin and have been using Retin A Micro 0.04% for a couple of years.My dermatologist never suggested another strength or different form of retinol. What are your thoughts?Can skin get used to it? Best,

I get why mid-life acne over 30 is so confusing. Acne at 16 is not the same as acne over 30 or over 50, and often it needs to be treated differently.  Acne starts at puberty and often goes away at menopause (except if hormone replacement) BUT, in that journey in between, it changes!

4 things to remember about acne over 30.

  1. Try a topical retinoid or retinol: If you are still oily over 30, it may help to go up to one of the stronger topical retinoid (vitamin A cousins) creams like Tazorac, or Retin A (tretinoin generic) 0.1% or a retinol (non prescription in the U.S.) 1.0%.  If you are dryer, this often will NOT help, and just cause irritation which will cause you to stop using it.
  2. Diversify your treatment:   Your dermatologist can help you or your primary care doc.   Add a gentle hydroxy based cleanser in the am?  Try adding a prescription strength clindamycin gel in the morning, etc.
  3. Eliminate pore-clogging products: Make sure that all of your make-up, moisturizers etc are NOT clogging your pores and making your acne worse.  Look for the words noncomedogenic.
  4. Remember that hormones still play a part: Not only this, but generally oral contraceptives for mid-life acne are not recommended (after about age 35).  Spironolactone in low doses can be very helpful in this type of acne and is very safe.   Discuss with your doctor!

Hope this helps with your mid-life acne (acne over 30 years old),  Dr. I

For more of my personal favorite products for patients suffering from acne:

see my acne shop section here.

See Dr. Irwin’s article on Acne and Menopause

Also, see Dr. Irwin’s related article on Menopause and Your Skin



Dr. Brandith Irwin, MD

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Hi, I’m Dr. Irwin. I believe that consumers deserve a medically trained and unbiased skin care advocate.

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