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Acne is an annoying problem to deal with. And for those of us who thought that we have figured out how to cure acne in our teenage years, we’re only shocked to find out that adult acne is very much a thing, and may have a different set of problems to deal with.

In fact, while teenage acne is usually caused by hormones fluctuations during puberty, adult acne can sometimes be more complex. Our lifestyle habits and stress levels – both of which mess up our hormones – can be reasons why we get acne.

While it’s probably easy to say that we can then prevent acne occurrences by adopting healthier lifestyle habits and managing our stress, we know that realistically, this is easier said than done.

This is why we’ll share with you tips on how to cure acne externally instead.

Ahead, we’ll share with you how you can manage and cure acne during three different stages:

  • Early acne stage: This is when you see clogged pores, blackheads, and whiteheads
  • Acne inflammation stage: This is when your acne is “active”, so it’s red, swollen, probably painful, and sometimes pus-filled
  • After acne-care: This is after your acne has healed

Read on for our tips and those that we picked up from WishtrendTV.

How to cure acne in the early stage

At this point you may notice that you pores are clogged and you may even be seeing whiteheads or blackheads appearing.

Acne is formed when P.acnes, an acne-causing bacteria that fees on the plugs (hardened sebum and dead skin cells) that clog your pores, cause inflammation. What this means is that, at this stage, we should be focused on getting rid of the excess sebum and dead skin cells that are clogging your pores to prevent the proliferation of P.acnes and in turn, prevent inflammation from happening.

Learning how to cure acne at the early stage is very important because it can prevent the full inflammation of your skin, which is harder to treat and has more chances of bigger damages such as scarring.

Practise good cleansing habits

Always remove your makeup with a cleansing oil to thoroughly break down oil that’s on your skin. But you’re not quite done yet after this stage. Practise double-cleansing by following up with a water-based cleanser to remove all other debris that’s still left.

Remove dead skin cells and excess sebum with AHA


Chemical exfoliants are a great way to gently exfoliate. Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA) are a good skincare ingredient to look out for in your exfoliants. AHAs help break down excess sebum and dead skin cells, which helps with unclogging your pores and treating upcoming acne at an early stage.

You’re recommended to exfoliate at night for the best results.

How to cure acne in inflammation stage

At this stage, the clogged pores have already been inflamed and you’re seeing red, swollen, and painful pimples. This is the time when learning how to cure acne is extra important.

You should continue to focus on mild exfoliation so continue to use a chemical exfoliant to break down excess sebum and dead skin cells so that your acne condition will not worsen.

Use a gentle cleanser


You should also consider switching to a gentler cleanser that’s suited for skin with acne.

Look out for cleansers with rich foam. The fluffy foam forms a cushion between your hands and your face, which helps make sure you’re not rubbing your skin too aggressively. Remember your skin at this stage is rather fragile, so you’d want to avoid any harsh tugging or rubbing.


However, many foam cleansers foam up because of sulfate, which is super drying. Instead, go for cleansers that are formulated with amino acids instead. These cleansers still foam up well but are gentler alternatives to cleansers with sulfate.

DV Tip: You may feel like you want to cleanse your face multiple times a day especially if you’re suffering from excess sebum production. However, note that over-cleansing can damage your skin’s barrier, leading to more problems. Stick a twice-a-day routine (day and night).

Minon Amino Moist Clear Wash Powder

Minon Amino Moist Clear Wash Powder

This is an enzyme powder cleanser that can be used on irritated and sensitive skin.

Besides cleansing skin, it also has an exfoliating effect, so take note to stop your other exfoliating step if you already use this product.

You’ll love that it leaves your skin feeling hydrated after cleansing.

Read our readers’ reviews of other Minon Amino Moist products here.

Retails for S$24.98. Click on the link below to check for promotions.

Kokoro Japan

Skin Inc Pure Prodew Cleansing Foam

Skin Inc Pure Prodew Cleansing Foam

This gentle cleanser removes makeup, impurities, and excess sebum.

Formulated with eight kinds of amino acids, this also brightens, hydrates, and strengthens your skin.

Retails for S$72. Click on the link to check for promotions.


Use spot treatment


Apply blemish-soothing treatment on the affected areas. Salicylic acid is the most common and effective ingredient to look out for. This has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, as well as mild exfoliating benefits.

Other ingredients to look out for in your spot treatment include tea tree oil and benzoyl peroxide, but note that the latter can be a little drying on skin.

Pixi Zero Zit Blemish Solution

Pixi Zero Zit Blemish Solution

This lightweight spot treatment helps keep sebum at bay and reduce redness and swelling, thanks to the salicylic acid and sulfur in its formulation.

Retails for S$36. Check the link below for latest promotions


REN Clean Skincare Non-Drying Spot Treatment

REN Clean Skincare Non-Drying Spot Treatment

This purifying blemish treatment fights acne-causing bacteria while rebalancing healthy bacteria. Besides calming irritation, it also speeds up recovery. You’ll love that it has a non-drying formula and can be used either on bare skin or under your makeup.

Retails for S$27. Click on link to check for promotions.


Don’t forget to moisturise


Many acne-combating products can be drying on the skin because they focus on reducing sebum production and have a mattifying effect. As such, if you’re on a acne-treating regimen, remember that you’ll need to take extra care to moisturise your skin.

Go for an intensely hydrating moisturiser that’s gentle and soothing. Look out for ingredients such as hyaluronic acid and aloe. The former is moisturising while the latter is soothing and helps with hydration too.

Avoid popping your pimples

It may be tempting, but avoid popping your pimples. This can introduce more bacteria to your skin and even causing scarring if you’re unlucky.

What’s more the sad truth is that as you get older, your skin regenerates slower than before. What this means is that picking at your pimples as a more mature individual compared to a youthful person can have more lasting damage to your skin.

DV Tip: Besides not popping your pimples, you should in fact avoid touching your face altogether to prevent introducing more bacteria to your inflamed skin.

How to care for your skin after your acne heals

Now that your acne has just healed, it’s time to give it some nourishment.

Use vitamin C products


To speed up your skin’s healing process and to ensure that you’re preventing scars from forming while brightening your skin at the same time, go for products with vitamin C content.

However, take note that if you’re treating your skin with vitamin C, stop your exfoliation step. This is because vitamin C has a mild exfoliating effect on your skin and continuing with your exfoliating routine can cause over exfoliation, which will irritate your skin.

Melano CC Concentrated Brightening Essence

Melano CC Concentrated Brightening Essence

This contains three vitamin C variants and vitamin B that can penetrate deeply into the skin.

Designed to improve acne and acne scarring concerns, this affordable serum also contains antibacterial and antiseptic ingredients to prevent the occurrence of acne.

Read more about what we think of the Melano CC Concentrated Brightening Essence.

Retails for S$24.90. There’s an ongoing promotion at the time of writing, so click on the link to check for latest price.


Mario Badescu Vitamin C Serum

Mario Badescu Vitamin C Serum

Containing 7.5 Ascorbic Acid (a pure form of vitamin C), this helps reduce discoloration and brighten skin.

On top of these, it also offer anti-ageing benefits to improve skin’s firmness and elasticity.

Retails for S$96. Click on link to check for promotions.


What if it’s cystic acne?

So how do you cure acne if it’s cystic?

The case is a little different if you are suffering from cystic acne. Cystic acne are large, red, and painful.

This is caused by infection that’s deep within the skin and manifest as huge bumps that are filled with pus. It also spread after it bursts, causing even more breakouts.

In these cases, usually regular skincare may not be sufficient to cure it. You should look for a dermatologist who can prescribe you topical, as well as oral, medication to cure the acne.

Video on how to cure adult acne

Prefer watching a video? Here’s one that we love: