Treat, Clear and Prevent Adult Acne

by Dr. Diana Howard

Adult acne is often a difficult and persistent condition, and its treatment may seem impossible at times. But The International Dermal Institute has researched several ingredients that are extremely effective in controlling acne. Some of these ingredients have been shown to regulate sebaceous gland secretions by inhibiting 5-alpha reductase enzyme activity. They have also shown a decrease in overall lipid formation in the sebaceous glands. We can classify these ingredients according to the problem that each specifically addresses.

Treating adult acne begins with interrupting the degeneration of the follicle by affecting the four main contributing factors of acne. These factors are overactive sebaceous glands, cell proliferation, bacteria and inflammation.

Overactive Sebaceous Glands

By inhibiting overactive sebaceous glands, we not only eliminate the food source for the bacteria, but we also eliminate oily shine and create a more esthetically pleasing appearance for the client.

The following ingredients are known sebum-regulating agents:

  • Nordihydroguaiaretic Acid
  • Niacinamide
  • Yeast Extract
  • Horse Chestnut Extract
  • Acrylates Copolymer (micro sponges)
  • Sarcosine
  • Zinc Gluconate

Cell Proliferation

To control cell accumulation, we need to stimulate natural exfoliation both superficially and in the follicle lining. By exfoliating to remove surface cells that have not been shed, we can help eliminate the impaction of follicles, which triggers the early stages of comedone formation. Salicylic Acid, Lactic Acid, Sulfur and Papain are known exfoliating agents.


By controlling the lipase activity and the bacteria on the skin’s surface and in the follicle, we can control the source of fatty acids that contribute to irritation.

The ingredients listed below are known anti-bacterial agents:

  • Benzoyl Peroxide
  • Spiraea Ulmaria Extract
  • Cinnamon Extract
  • Salicylic Acid
  • Tea Tree Oil
  • Zinc Gluconate
  • Zinc Sulfate
  • Balm Mint Extract
  • Rosemary Extract
  • Sulfur
  • Sarcosine


Scientists have discovered that specific ingredients can inhibit the lipase enzyme in the bacteria that is responsible for breaking down sebum triglycerides into free fatty acids and causing irritation in the skin. Controlling the breakdown of triglycerides helps minimize inflammation due to the free fatty acids; and since the fatty acids are often attacked by free radicals leading to additional irritation, we can inhibit the formation of the free fatty acids and effectively prevent inflammation before it occurs.

To help keep inflammation caused by adult acne under control, we must consider the application of topical anti-inflammatory repair agents, botanicals and humectants to help the healing process and soothe inflamed skin.

The following are known anti-inflammatory and reparative agents:

  • Green Tea
  • Panthenol
  • Camphor
  • Bisabolol
  • Allantoin
  • Coneflower
  • Oat Extract
  • Licorice


Treating Adult Acne

The treatment of adult acne can seem near impossible at times. At The International Dermal Institute, we know that the most effective way to treat this condition is to apply the most beneficial ingredients topically, which will ensure that the product goes straight to the source of the trigger. In addition, consider the possible internal and emotional/mental factors that may contribute to the condition, and remind your clients to treat those issues as well.

adult acne bacteria sebaceous gland inflammation
  • Print
  • Save
  • PDF
Treat, Clear and Prevent Adult Acne