What Causes Adult Acne?

thUKH22109_edited  So here you are now an adult and thank goodness those teenage pimpled face years are far behind. Right? Think again. – More than half of women over 25 still have acne, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.

Though the pimples look the same, grown-up breakouts are different from the kind you had in high school.
Adult acne is usually on the lower half of the face; teen acne is typically on the upper half. Adult acne is also deeper and appears as cysts, or ‘under the skin’.

What Causes Adult Acne?

There are many reasons you can break out as an adult. Stress or changes in your hormone levels, like menopause or switching or stopping birth control pills, are two possibilities. Some medications, including lithium, anti-seizure drugs, and corticosteroids, can also cause acne.

Acne is a difficult problem to treat because it has several underlying causes. Some are genetic, some hormonal, others involve external factors. There is no ‘cure’ for acne, but management is possible

The problem with acne really begins within our skin as it naturally produces oil in our sebaceous gland. Acne-causing bacteria metabolize this oil and that metabolized oil is irritating to our skin. As the skin becomes increasingly irritated by this oil our hair follicles will become plugged, thereby collecting debris. This debris then erupts down into the deeper layer of our skin, the dermis. This debris is an intruder in the dermis, a foreign body, which doesn’t belong there. As a result our body attempts to get rid of this foreign body with an inflammatory response.

Daily Skin Care

It’s very important to cleanse your skin every day.

  1. Wash your face no more than twice a day.
  2. Use cool or warm water and a gentle cleanser.
  3. Use your hands, a baby washcloth (it’s gentler than a regular one), round cleansing sponge, or a cleansing brush for 30 seconds.
  4. Pat (don’t rub) your skin dry, and always wash in circular and upward motions – in other words – Don’t pull down on your skin!

The types of products you can use to curb your acne include:

Cleansers. Cleansers wash away dirt, grime, makeup, bacteria and pollution. A good cleanser will also let other skin products reach your skin and work better. Choose gentle cleaners that won’t strip your skin of it’s natural oils and remove the protective barrier. This will keep your skin becoming over dry and irritated.

Over-the-Counter Creams and Lotions. Retinoid creams or lotions can help clear your skin and also lessen wrinkles. Products made with sulfur can be good for the occasional spot treatment. Benzoyl Peroxide is another acne fighter. Use benzoyl peroxide products only occasionally, because they can dry out your skin.

Cosmetics. Some cosmetics include salicylic acid, which fights acne. In general, look for skin care products that say on the label that they are noncomedogenic (which means they don’t clog pores) or non-acnegenic (they don’t cause breakouts).

Prescription Medications. Medications that affect hormones, like birth control pills, can help control acne. You might also discuss antibiotic pills and prescription retinoids with your dermatologist.

High-tech solutions. Light therapy, or PDT, uses lasers to treat acne. Vacuum therapy can also work with lights. Both of these are options, but can get pretty expensive.

Chemical Peels. AHA/BHA peels can be very helpful in treating acne, especially as a part of an overall acne management program. Chemical peels work by exfoliating the upper layers of the skin, and removing debris and irritants from the skin. This improves the skin and increases cell turnover. Peels also stimulate new collagen formation and improve acne scarring. So you can actually kill two birds with one stone when you have a chemical peel for acne treatment. Also helpful are Retin-A medicines as they too will improve acne.

And lastly, but most certainly not least! – Do NOT pop!! 🙂


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