Hi Friends. Coming at you with a more personal post today, but I wanted to open up about adult acne. I think some people will be shocked to see the photos I’m sharing today, but I think it’s important to share that I’m just like you if that makes sense. With social media, you can have an altered perspective of other people’s reality because you only see what people want you to see. I almost feel like I’ve hidden apart of myself over the last year and a half, hiding behind makeup, filters, and photo edits. Today, I’m hoping to change that so if you’re also suffering from adult acne you know you’re not alone, and I hope you be hopeful to clear things up.

Let’s start with a little back story on my adult acne.. #stress

I started getting breakouts around February 2018. I was very stressed out with work in an unhealthy / gossip environment, started my Youtube journey, and put more time into my blog than ever to pay off my student loans.  I’m not exactly sure what triggered everything, and I didn’t even realize the toll it was taking on my body. I went in for a yearly checkup and I wasn’t expecting the Doctor to tell me my blood pressure was high. They told me to check it daily for a week and if it was still high to see a doctor.

Excuse me, what?! Never in my life had I had high blood pressure. But suddenly I could feel it. My pulse felt hard in my throat, I would notice heart palpitations, I felt swollen, and just generally unhealthy. From there I became more and more aware of when my blood pressure felt elevated. I think this just fueled further stress/anxiety and made it worse. One day on my way home for lunch to escape, it was so bad I felt like I needed to stop by CVS and check it with those automated readers. Y’all, it was HIGH. I googled it and the recommendations were to go to the ER. So I went to Urgent Care and they prescribed medication and recommended I see a primary doctor.

Because of this, I didn’t want to increase my risk of having a stroke, so I decided to go off my birth control. I never mentioned this on social media because everyone’s first response who I did tell was asking if we were starting a family, which wasn’t the reason. I’m not saying birth control causes stroke, but there is a higher risk for them when taking birth control and your risk factors increase based on specific comorbidities (like high blood pressure). I know my skin would react to the change in hormones, but I wasn’t quite ready for just how bad it got. Which lead to even more stress, it was a vicious cycle.

How I started clearing up adult acne

I tried changing my diet, I switched to decaf coffee to help my stress, I avoided touching my face, I never slept in makeup, washed my pillowcase all the dang time.. and I still had constant cystic breakouts. When I washed my face at night I would just feel the soreness and roughness of my skin. It was so frustrating, painful, and took an emotional toll on me. I was doing everything right to avoid more breakouts, but nothing cleared it up. In fact, it kept getting worse.

Because of my blog and youtube channel, I had to continue being in front of a camera. It was so frustrating to watch. I hid behind makeup, good lighting, and filters. But at times there was nothing I could do to hide them.

In March of this year, I started using the Rodan and Fields UNBLEMISHED regimen (c/o). I could not wait to use it because I was so hopeful anything would work. I’ll go more in detail of this routine in a later post, and chat about why I stopped using it, but here are my before and after photos. NOTE: I stopped using the regimen in June after my breakouts slowed down, so the most recent photo is with a new routine.

* These are obviously unedited photos 😉

I did have a purging phase about 3-4 weeks into this regimen that lasted for 2 weeks, but I’ve heard that is normal with acne regimens because it’s speeding up exfoliation to get things moving out quicker. Around this time, I attended my first Reward Style conference. It was hard feeling so insecure about my skin, but I was so proud to be there I didn’t want my insecurity to stop me from going.

Where my skin is at today

In June my breakouts finally started slowing down. I’m not sure if it was the products, time off the pill, or a combination of both. I still have an occasional breakout on my jawline around my period. My dermatologist recently recommended a prescription pill to manage that, however I’m not too keen on taking unnecessary medications.  I still have leftover pigment from all those breakouts called post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. I’m relieved to see I have very little acne scarring, which is different from the redness still on my skin. Acne scarring presents more like ice pick scars or raised bumps on the skin and are much harder to treat. I’ve read post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation can take anywhere from 3-24 months to fade. Check the blog Wednesday to see the products I’m using to tackle this.

I stopped using the UNBLEMISH regimen in June because I felt like it started to cause increased redness and irritation in my skin. I’ll go into more detail of these products in a future post, but they have very strong ingredients and my skin would react if I used them too consistently. I may add it back into my routine if I notice a change in my breakouts, but for now I’m really happy with the results of my current routine.

I plan to share a full skincare routine on my Youtube channel Tuesday. This routine has been a long time coming because I didn’t see the point to share what I was using when I had horrible skin. But now, I feel like it’s even more helpful to see products that have worked for me. My skin still isn’t perfect, but I’m proud of its progress!

* * *

Over the weekend, I left the house for the first time in months without makeup, which got me thinking up my idea for this post. If you struggle with adult acne, I hope you realize you’re not alone. xoxo

Amanda John

Leave a Comment


  1. Bre wrote:

    You’re a champ Amanda! Thanks for sharing! R&F has always been wayyyy to harsh for my skin having only light breakouts but have loved hearing about your use of TULA! It has changed my routine completely and I couldn’t be more thankful! Thanks love!

    Posted 8.11.19 Reply
    • Thanks Bre! I agree it was getting too harsh for my skin and I’m so happy I switched it up with Tula and Colleen Rothschild. So happy to hear it’s been working for you, too!

      Posted 8.11.19 Reply
  2. Jessica Hamelin wrote:

    I’m actually struggling with adult acne right now and acne period for the first time in my life. My husband is deployed and I think that stress on top of being in nursing school is what is causing it, however, it’s creating such self esteem issues. For the first time in my life I feel too hideous to leave my house and I’m terrified for my husband to come home and see me. Sharing this made me feel like I’m not alone and I appreciate knowing there are things to help.

    Posted 8.11.19 Reply
    • Girl no one is too hideous to leave their house. You are beautiful whether or not you have acne and your husband will see right through that! I hope you find a solution to it and start loving the skin you’re in. Acne is completely normal and we’re both not alone dealing with it! Thanks for reading and sharing your story – xoxo

      Posted 8.11.19 Reply
  3. Jo wrote:

    Hi Amanda,
    Thanks for sharing. You have my sympathy. I had a horrible horrible skin in my teens and early 20s, which cleared up when I started using birth control. After my second child was born (at 40) I had a blood clot and had to go off birth control overnight because of the incresed risk for stroke. My worst fear that my skin would break out again but luckily it didn’t. My advice: find a beautician who is knowledgeable and ethical and cares about your skin, not selling products. I’m in my 50s now and get frequent compliments on my skin. I don’t wear foundation and frequently wear only mascara and lipstic. If you’re interested in the products I use, it’s the Environ range. A South African brand that is available internationally. Good luck with your journey!

    Posted 8.11.19 Reply
    • Thank you Jo! I do need to find someone to help me along in my journey. So happy to hear you love the skin you’re in! xoxo

      Posted 8.11.19 Reply
  4. Elizabeth wrote:

    Thank you for this post! I also suffer from High Blood Pressure! Though we didn’t find it out until I was 32 weeks pregnant with my daughter.. But I’ve had it since then! Being on BP meds has made my skin breakout and also stress doesn’t help mine either! I haven’t used R&F yet, but I found a nice gentle cleanser from Beautycounter that I’m trying out first!

    Posted 8.11.19 Reply
    • I’m currently using the Tula cleanser and have been loving it / repurchased. I’ve heard good things about Beauty Counter, too!

      Posted 8.11.19 Reply
  5. Jamie wrote:

    Girl you are not alone!!! I suffered for many years as a teenager and now as an adult and I know the struggle very well a little to well it was so bad as a teen I had to take Accutane. Now I have breakouts just not as bad and I use micro needling for the scars plus I use Supplements DIM elite supports estrogen and metabolism second one DHEA energy mood enhancement anti aging you can find on Amazon. I noticed a huge difference in my skin due to the supplements.
    Thanks for your post most women would not be so open.

    Posted 8.11.19 Reply
    • I need to look into those supplements! I just started using the Glopro to try and tackle my hyperpigmentation at home and so far so good! I may also buy a red laser light, well see!

      Posted 8.11.19 Reply
  6. Wendy wrote:

    You are brave and beautiful! Thank you for sharing!

    Posted 8.11.19 Reply
  7. Ally wrote:

    You are SO brave to post this….I had no issues with acne until I turned 40, if you can believe that. I was stressed at work, trying to adopt a baby, move…whatever it was, it started and then didn’t stop. My derm put me on Spirolonactone, which I think was originally used as a blood pressure medication. I used it for a few years and LOVED the results. (And I am one to refuse to take a Tylenol when I have a headache, so it was a big deal to take a “serious” medication.) Anyway-you are gorgeous and your videos are really helpful for those of us trying to stay hip and stylish into our old age. Congratulations on such a courageous, well written post.

    Posted 8.11.19 Reply
  8. Rachel wrote:

    You are so brave and strong for sharing your journey with everyone! It is so refreshing to see a blogger be vulnerable and share their real, raw selves with their audience. You’re amazing! (and gorgeous as always!) xo

    Posted 8.11.19 Reply
  9. Heather wrote:

    How incredibly brave of you to share this. I hope you know that by opening up this platform by sharing your story, you have created a safe spot for others to open up about their insecurities too. Thank you so much and I’m so glad that you have found things to help you out with your skin. You look fabulous ❤️

    Posted 8.11.19 Reply
  10. Shelly wrote:

    I suffered from severe acne breakouts after going off the pill that I had been on for several years and it was terrible and it also caused me to have other hormonal side effects that I wasn’t anticipating it would be nice if doctors let you know this before you go on the pill and what to expect after that could possibly happen I’ve been using cure Curology for over a year as well as taking some supplements recommended by Annie Jaffrey on her YouTube channel who is much younger than me but they have worked thank you so much for sharing your story I know how embarrassing it can be and I’m so glad things are turning around for you

    Posted 8.12.19 Reply
  11. Darsi Grunewald wrote:

    Bless your heart! My son suffered from severe acne and I know how it can mess with your confidence. I’m so glad you’re seeing improvement in your skin! I know you talking about this will help others. You are a beautiful woman with a great sense of style. Wishing you continued success!!

    Posted 8.12.19 Reply
  12. Britt wrote:

    I have suffered from adult acne too. It got so bad I visited a dermatologist. I have been using epiduo forte and getting chemical peels every 3 months to treat scaring. And It is covered by my insurance. The dermatologist prescribed me an antibiotic, but I only took it for a month and now just use the epiduo forte. My skin looks the best it has looked since my early 20s. I am 30. I highly recommend this product it only cost me $40 with insurance and it has changed my skin dramatically. Over the counter there is differin gel (adapalene) and you could buy an acne treatment with 2.5% benzoyl peroxide and use both. I looked at the rodan fields products and they are way overpriced and have irritating ingredients. Skincare doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive to be effective. I know how acne feels. I hope you find what works for you. 🙂

    Posted 8.12.19 Reply
  13. I definitely know what you’re talking about. Adult acne can be so annoying. Thanks for sharing!

    Posted 9.16.20 Reply