Treating adult pimples with over-the-counter skincare products

Ask the Raffles Medical Group Experts


I am in my mid 40s but I still have very oily skin with blemishes, despite a diligent skin care regime. There are many skin care products that cater to such problems. However, my concern is whether these products should only be used for younger skin like teenagers who tend to have acne problems during puberty. Are they also suitable for treating adult pimples?

In addition, I have pigmentation problems – some brown spots on the cheeks. I have been using sunblock above my foundation and make-up powder which contains sunblock ingredients although they are below SPF20. Today, most make-up products come with sunscreen protection. Will applying an additional layer of sunblock result in clogged pores especially for oily skin type?


Yes, these products may be used for adult skin with pimples. However, if you continue to suffer from outbreaks despite the use of over-the-counter skincare products, you should consult a dermatologist for prescription-strength anti-acne creams which are more effective. An example would be a topical retinoid, which is useful for controlling excessive oil production.

Regarding your query on sunblock application, I would recommend applying an additional sunblock if your make-up product does not provide sufficient broad-spectrum sun protection against both UVB and UVA rays, and if you are spending more time out in the sun. The SPF only relates to protection against UVB, but both UVB and UVA are damaging to skin. Check the label to see if there is UVA protection as well.

If using a sunblock, choose one which is formulated for oily skin. These should not clog pores as they have a non-greasy texture. You may still have to try a few brands before you find one that best suits your skin type though. Also, remember to cleanse your face thoroughly at the end of the day to remove all traces of sunscreen.