Braces and angst are two things most of us can happily leave behind in our adolescence; acne, less so. In fact, breakouts are seemingly becoming more common later in life: Studies published in Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology note that 50 percent of women will suffer from acne at some point in their adult years, and that the median age of those afflicted has increased from 20.5 to 26.5 years old. All acne is not created equal, however. Younger acne will most always involve T-zone-centric blackheads and whiteheads, while adult acne hits around the jawline and neck, and often shows up as painful cysts and nodules. And grown-up breakouts might be more scarring, because skin becomes less resilient with age.
The newest does-it-all weapon in the war on acne—and on less-than-perfect skin in general—is an overseas import. Originally popularized by Korean soap opera actresses, BB (aka “blemish balm” or “beauty balm”) creams have become a sensation in Asia, thanks to their multitasking potential to conceal pimples and fine lines, boost moisture, soothe irritation, and protect skin from the sun, all while absorbing excess oil. Our BB favorites: duty-free must Bobbi Brown BB Cream SPF 35 (which has yet to launch in the U.S.); Korean import and Sephora best-seller Dr. Jart+ Water Fuse Beauty Balm; and Clinique Age Defense BB Cream SPF 30, with a seaweed extract that decreases the excess creation of sebum.