Primally Pure’s Holistic Esthetician Shares 4 Tips to Combat Adult Acne

While we may think acne should end when high school does, the majority of people (especially women) actually experience acne well into their adult years.  

Unfortunately – and surprisingly – breakouts, blackheads and blemishes aren’t skin conditions only reserved for hormonal high schoolers.  Hormones do have a big part to play in the health of our skin, and as we age, they continue to be in flux or out of balance, especially with the reality of our toxic diets + environments.  

As a holistic esthetician, my focus is always on the whole person, not just on their face. Since our skin is a reflection of what’s going on beneath the surface, it’s essential to work with the entire body for beautiful, healthy skin.

Our skin is not just our largest (and only visible) organ, it’s a detox organ – and acne is a detox reaction. So clear skin isn’t just about avoiding dirt and french fries (confession: my favorite food).  If our main detox organ, our liver, is being overworked or overloaded with toxins from chemical-laden products, processed foods or artificial hormones, it relies on the skin for support in filtering out waste and toxins.  Enter: acne – no matter how old you are.

Our tissues, organs and systems are all interconnected + incredibly complex, so while it can be difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of an acne flare up, we can trust that our skin is trying to tell us something. Taking steps to clean up our diet + environment is a powerful place to start.

Here are some simple, yet effective, tips to eliminate toxins in the body and treat adult acne.  


Food is a powerful factor in how we feel on the inside + look on the outside.  Acne (at any age) is an inflammatory response, and processed foods can often be the culprit. Some of the most inflammation-inducing foods to avoid for clear skin include gluten, refined sugars, dairy and highly processed oils (canola, vegetable, soybean).

Focus on adding in more nutrient-dense, whole foods + healthy, healing fats to your daily diet to not only help resolve hormonal fluctuations and vitamin deficiencies that often cause acne, but to also bring life to tired, dull skin.  Consistently making healthier food choices can play a huge part in saying goodbye to adult acne for good.

  • Healthy fats can stabilize blood sugar + hormones and also build strong, resilient cells. Some skin loving oils include coconut oil, tallow from grass-fed cows, ghee, extra virgin olive oil and avocado oil.
  • Bone broth is packed with gut-healing (healthy gut = healthy skin) and collagen-boosting gelatin and is also an abundant source of vital minerals.
  • Leafy green veggies are rich in vitamins and support the body’s detoxification processes, flushing out excess hormones that can cause imbalances + inflammation in the skin.


Even though you may feel like you’re fifteen again, stay far away from products you used back in the day.  Drugstore cleansers just aren’t going to cut it this time around – plus, the chemicals in conventional skincare are scary.  The majority of skincare on the market is made with cheap, toxic ingredients that actually aggravate acne and is one of the biggest contributors to our toxic load.

On the flip-side, natural + non-toxic products help to support a clear complexion. Skincare products made with real, recognizable + organic ingredients can improve the overall health of the skin, making it less susceptible to acne and inflammation. Safe, nourishing skincare alternatives are available, and there are steps you can take to reduce toxic exposure on your skin and in your body.

My tried + true favorites for a clear complexion include this simple, 3-step skincare routine:

  • Cleansing Oil: A different type of “face wash” based on the scientific principle that like dissolves like and the age-old method of using beneficial oils to dissolve makeup + buildup and deeply purify pores.
  • Everything Spray: Healing + calming mist that minimizes appearance acne and other inflammatory skin conditions.
  • Blue Tansy Beauty Cream: Deeply nourishes the skin without clogging pores + powerfully soothes troubled skin, calms redness and combats inflammation.


Having a toxin-free home is foundational to the health of your skin, and your entire self.  We spend countless hours within these walls – it’s where we sleep, gather with friends + family, and relax after a long day at work.  

The environment we create within the home, especially with conventional cleaning products, can significantly add to the toxic buildup in our bodies – leading to hormone disruption, inflammatory diseases, respiratory problems and serious skin conditions.  (Remember, our skin is a direct reflection of the state of our internal wellness.)

Think about all of the products you use in your home on a daily or weekly basis. Bathroom cleaners, laundry detergent, dish soap, air fresheners… These conventional cleaning products are loaded with harmful + hazardous chemicals that are inevitably inhaled or absorbed through the skin.

Replace toxic cleaning products + improve your air quality with safe options that make cleaning even more enjoyable and positively impact the health of your home, your family – and your acne.


Constant pressures and rapid heart rates relentlessly plague our culture. Chronic stress is serious stuff – overexposure to stress severely attacks the health of our skin. When our bodies undergo prolonged stress, the hormone cortisol is increased which can contribute to inflammation and make our skin more prone to breakouts.

Setting aside time for self-care + creating habits that help minimize stress levels are some of the most powerful healing approaches to acne.

  • Soak in a warm, epsom salt bath in the evening to soothe your nervous system, relax an anxious mind and promote deep sleep.
  • Adaptogens are herbs that support our bodies to adapt and respond in times of stress and have an incredible balancing effect on hormones.  Supplement your daily diet with adaptogenic herbs to build resilience within your body, bring hormones back into balance and strengthen your capacity to handle stress.
  • Keeping a gratitude journal is a simple, powerful practice to bring your mind back to the present moment.  Rather than reflecting on stresses + issues in life, daily write down 3 things (big or small) that you’re thankful for, to reduce stress and to remember all of the beauty and blessings you’re surrounded by.

I hope these simple, practical steps provide you with the tools you need to take back your health and banish your acne, once and for all.  Once we begin to see our skin issues as a reflection of internal imbalances, we can view acne as an invitation to do some inner healing. In my opinion, this is the secret to finding lasting solutions for clear, smooth and acne-free skin – especially as adults.  

Struggle with adult acne? What steps have you taken for smooth, healthy skin? We’d love to learn about your clear-skin protocol and what solutions you’ve found!

As Primally Pure’s Marketing Director and licensed holistic esthetician, Courtney Joy O’Connor, has been involved in the beauty industry for nearly a decade. Her in-depth knowledge, hands-on experience and heartfelt passions inspire her to educate others on the positive impact of pure, simple ingredients. Courtney spends her time outside of the PP workshop road tripping the California coast, sharing her love of natural living with anyone who will listen, sipping a “fatty latte” and blending superfood-filled bliss balls.

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  1. Ok, I have tried the oil cleansing method before. On two different occasions. And it ruined my skin. I made my own combination of oils at home based on loads of research ( being very careful to avoid pore clogging oil and getting high qualty oils) and tried one combination the first time and a different one the second time. Both times my skin was great initially. I didn’t really go through a big detox period. But then right around the 8 week mark (this happened both times a couple years apart), my face exploded into awful cystic acne. I had never had breakouts like that in my life. It was awful and so painful. And both times it took a full 6-12 months to get my skin back to normal (during which I discontinued the oils and switched back to a face wash/tone/moisturize routine). So while this sounds nice, I am terrified to ever try oil cleansing again. If it had happened once, I’d think maybe I just need to try different oils. But twice??? Any other recommendations for people who can’t do oil cleansing?

    1. I use a warm cloth to open pores and rose hip seed oil mixed with honey as a mask. I know you are adverse to oils but rose hip is a dry oil and not greasy at all, it is great for the scars often left behind by acne. You can try this weekly. Daily, I wipe clean, do a salt water rinse (add lemon for a refreshing boost if you like) then moisturize (especially before bed).

      Honey-antibacterial properties and soothing.
      Rose Hip- skin clearing
      Salt (pink)- Most bacteria can’t survive in salty environments, it’s the reason some ppl use salt crystal deodorant. I personally like primally pure charocal deodorant. I know not all acne is a result of bacteria but it works for me.

      I also drink tons of water and eat pretty well. This is a game changer too.

      Of course do your own research but I hope this helps. I have oily skin. I’ve never tried the traditional oil cleansing, thanks for the warning. 🙂 Good luck!

  2. I have pretty clear skin normally. During pregnancy my skin is pretty much perfect. Clear and glowing. No need for makeup then postpartum hits and my skin is night mare worse than when I was a teenager. My diet doesn’t really change. And I wasn’t really stressed with the first two. So I’m assuming it’s all hormones. How can I combat that? Feels so out of my control.

  3. Hi ALLISON . That’a a great article, it would be very useful and helpful to me. I’m oily skin, so I always suffer from acne. I try to deal with the main point of the problem , facial clean. I use facial wash for oily skin as shown here By the way, I haven’t do another way as you suggest above example detox my diet. I intend to do as you suggested. Thank you very much for your sharing.


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