My Battle with Hormonal, Adult Acne

 How many people spent their teenage years with the occasional zit or two, praying for the day they could be an adult and have their hormones balance out? Yup, that was me. In my mind, adults didn’t have acne, and acne was a rite of passage that all teens needed to face.

I’d like to think that I was pretty fortunate during high school and college when it came to acne. A few spots here and there, usually triggered by *that time of month* and a mountain of blackheads on my nose that would be a dermatologist’s extraction dream, yet I never faced cystic full-face acne with damaging scars. Not until I hit my early 20s.

Adult Acne Is Real

Yes, adult acne is a thing. Little did I know as a dreaming teenager that I would have more acne as an adult than a teen and that growing older didn’t magically erase pimples and blackheads. For me, growing older actually made them worse.  Over 50% of women 25-40 face a form of adult acne. For most women, adult acne is hormonal acne comprised of painful cystic pimples appearing on the neck, chin and jawline due to hormone imbalances, stress, and menstruation.

When I turned 23 years old, I started noticing these painful blemishes on my face and jawline, and decided to invest in my skincare. I threw away all my cheap drugstore cleansers, moisturizers and even makeup, and went to the best place I could afford – Hand and Stone Massage and Facials. I bought into their $60 a month membership and started receiving monthly facials with their Dermalogica and ClarityRx product lines in hope of tackling this acne.

Fast forward one year and blemishes were still attacking my face, chin and neck – now worse than ever. I’d be remiss to say I hadn’t battled a lot of stress – we moved,  work was busy and in a large period of transition, and my mom had unexpectedly passed away causing the most stress, anxiety and grieve I had experienced in my lifetime. I felt the weight of the world on my shoulders, but continued eating healthy, staying hydrated and strictly practicing my Dermalogica regimen. Zits continued to form and form, debilitating my confidence and damaging any self love and beauty I felt for myself.

June 10 - Cystic, re-occurring acne

To say that I lost my confidence during this time was an understatement and something I am not proud of. On the outside, makeup covered my blemishes but only for so long causing me to reapply during the day. At the office I felt like clients and coworkers stared at my red, irritated bumps rather than taking me seriously as a young professional. At home I loathed taking my make up off in front of Nick because I wanted him to view me as beautiful, rather than looking like a hormonal teen girl with raging acne. While Nick never told me I wasn’t beautiful, I didn’t feel beautiful standing next to a guy who I’d never seen wash his perfect, acne-free face. I wanted a change and I wanted it fast but I didn’t know where to turn.

Fast forward again to June 2019. I was talking to my friend Gina who runs the blog, Mindfully Flourished, about my adult acne and explained that I feared taking antibiotics and using prescription skincare from a doctor. As someone who preaches natural remedies and holistic medicine, she advised against any form of antibiotic or expensive cream that would likely strip my face from all natural vitamins and oils and instead introduced me to her friend Chelsea, a Rodan + Fields consultant.  In that moment, my skin care journey had begun.

My Rodan + Fields Introduction

For those who don’t know, Rodan + Fields (R+F)  is the top-selling skincare brand in the United States founded by the same women behind ProActiv.  If you haven’t heard of them, then you likely aren’t on social media as they found their success without selling a single product in drugstore, department store or Target. Yes, you heard me right – Rodan + Fields is one of those marketing, social media sales funnels that I always try to ignore. Yet that random sunny Saturday in June at a yoga retreat, I went against my usual instincts and decided to give R+F a try. Don’t ask me why, but for some reason I did and I couldn’t be more grateful!

R+F Skin Solution Tool

I sat down with Chelsea and took my personal R+F Skin Solution Tool test to determine what regimen would be best for my skin type. R+F carries a variety of product lines, most commonly known for the following: Redefine (fine lines and wrinkles), Reverse (even-tones, radiant skin), Unblemish (adult acne) and Soothe (dry sensitive skin). The company also has a teen acne line called Spotless that wouldn’t have been appropriate for my skin type, but would be great for any teens battling acne.

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After taking the short test, my results determined that I had very sensitive skin and that I should go with the Soothe regimen. However, Chelsea wasn’t convinced that Soothe would combat my acne. Don’t ask me why I trusted her so much in that moment but I decided to go against the test and order the full Unblemish regimen for my adult acne.

My R+F Results

Week 1 – Start using Unblemish every other morning

Week 2 – Starting 2nd week using Unblemish every morning

Week 3 – Using Unblemish every morning and every other night.  Saw my “lapse” due to hormones and stress.

Week 4 – Using Unblemish every day. Visibly clearer skin and less acne scaring.


Acne products have always been too drying and harsh on my sensitive, fair skin. With the Unblemish skincare line, you slowly incorporate the acne targeting ingredients to your skin to not overwhelm the pores and increase damage. Here’s a look at the recommended usage schedule:

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I was relieved to see a slow progression of product usage, especially because of my past history with other acne specific products. Since my acne is exclusive to my neck and jawline, the rest of my face typically does not need the intense acne ingredients and caused irritation and drying. The game changer in the R+F regimen were the acne treatment (step 3) and shine-free lotion (step 4). After each use of all four products, my skin felt genuinely clean and refreshed unlike other products I used in the past.

As you can tell in the pictures, my skin saw immediate results in the first weeks using Unblemish. There was a period where I “lapsed”, but I’ve heard this is common as the ingredients are working at an accelerated rate to clean pores rapidly. I trusted the processed and stuck with it knowing that I would see results again. As you can see, I did!

One hiccup I faced one month into using the Unblemish product line was over drying, especially around my eyes and mouth. As mentioned earlier, I wasn’t surprised that these products were causing dry flaky skin, but I didn’t want to give up on the regimen because I was already seeing positive results! Chelsea and I decided to add the Soothe Moisture Replenishing cream and Soothe Rescue Mask to my skincare routine to add more moisture and protection to my drying face. After two weeks, my dry, flaking skim was smooth and hydrated.

I could go on and on about these R+F products, but I’ll save you scrolling time. After two months using Unblemish, I have seen drastic results to my skin, from less weekly pimples and fewer scars to a more even skin tone.

Week 8 (60 days) using Unblemish every morning and night + the addition of Soothe Moisturizer and Mask. Wore no makeup to work besides a little highlighter and mascara. 

Do I still get pimples? Yes. I’ve only been using the product line for two months, and during that time frame I’ve grieved the one year anniversary of my mom’s death and am in the middle of a very large, stressful life change (more to come on this soon!) But I am human and I am a woman with – let’s face it – stress and hormones that can cause acne. However, now I am a woman with less acne and the confidence to walk out of my house without makeup on knowing that people aren’t looking at my zits and instead are looking at me.


For those looking to make a change in their skincare regimen and gain confidence in their appearance, please reach out to my skincare consultant, Chelsea here.

Please note that this post is not sponsored and all opinions are my own. I do not have a degree in dermatology and am only sharing my results using the Unblemish product line for my adult acne. Results may vary for all individuals and all skin types.