How To Treat Adult Acne
Acne, it was supposed to go away after our teenage years but yet it persists. Here some of us are in our twenties, thirties and even forties and fifties with this unsightly acne covering our face and impacting our self-esteem. But what is adult acne and how do we treat it?
Acne is the most common skin condition affecting people between the ages of 11 – 30 years old. More than 17 million people struggle with it. Basically it is due to a problem with the functioning of the skin glands that produce oil. These are known as sebaceous glands and they sometimes over produce oil. This over production of oil can cause the formation of clogged pores and combined with bacteria that is present on the skin it can cause significant inflammation and hence acne cysts and blackheads.
Acne usually starts during puberty because this is when the sebaceous glands start functioning and it can be made worse in periods where hormones can causes the glands to produce more oil, such as menstrual cycle time, pregnancy and stopping birth control pills.
How is Adult Acne Different From Teen Acne?
Adult acne differs from teen acne in that it tends to be of a more chronic nature. Acne in the teen years tends to show up on the forehead and the nose while adult acne tends to show up on the chin, jaw and neck. In both teen and adult acne the premenstrual time frame can cause an increase in the acne however stress tends to increase and aggravate adult acne while the fluctuations in hormones tend to be the cause of teen acne.
The important thing to remember regarding adult acne is when and when not to seek treatment or to talk to a dermatologist regarding your acne. It depends on how much your acne is affecting your life. If you simply have a pimple every now and again and it doesn’t bother you then you can naturally treat your acne at home or simply use products that can be purchased at your local pharmacy will work.
Products that contain ingredients like benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid may simply be enough. However, if they are not working and you are seeing no relieve then you may want to see a dermatologist to help you determine the problem and develop a better course of treatment. A dermatologist can help you by actually identifying what type of acne you have since they are often treated differently. Blackheads and whiteheads are treated in a different manner than cystic acne. Often it is the cystic acne that can cause significant scarring and will potentially need to be treated with medication.
Gentle Cleansing – Many times people believe that if they clean their skin with strong cleansers and scrub their skin really well then they will help get rid of the excess oil. However, you can actually dry out your skin and make the inflammation a lot worse. And also stop touching your skin and picking at the blemishes on your skin, this will increase inflammation and introduce bacteria to your skin.
Topical Cleansers – There are a lot of cleansers on the market today and it can be a little overwhelming to pick the right ones. Therefore it is a pretty solid choice to select any acne treatment that contains benzoyl peroxide. Benzoyl peroxide is great at treating the bacteria on the skin as well as the inflammation. Salicylic Acid is also a great choice for helping to treat skin inflammation and bacterial infections. Two stronger topical products are Clindamycin and retin A. They are both made to target clogged pores and oil. These products actually help the skin cells regenerate.
Oral Medications – Dermatologists will frequently prescribe oral medications along with some of the stronger topical medications like Retin A. They actually are used in combination to help the effects of the other. Tetracycline is a common choice for treating skin problems but sometimes they can cause side effects such as stomach problems or loss of appetite, so make sure you find out from your doctor what they are. There is a product which is a form of Vitamin A. This product is called isotretinoin and is only prescribed for severe acne. It works very well, but has been linked with birth defects so it is often required to take two forms of birth control while taking this drug. A lot of times dermatologists will also prescribe birth control pills for women who suffer with adult acne.
For deep cystic acne doctors can use an injection treatment. The cysts are injected with a corticosteroid that can cause the cyst to dissolve. However it can thin the skin causing other problems. Also laser procedures have been used successfully on some people but they are expensive and usually only used as a last ditch option.
There is proof that acupuncture and herbal medicine has a strong success rate with treating adult acne. It really depends on what is at the root of the acne. Chinese medicine will treat the cause, be it hormonal imbalance or some other cause. By treating the root, they are able to stop the cycle from occurring, not just masking the outbreaks.
Whatever the choice is, it is always important to remember that your acne probably didn’t start over night and you have probably been dealing with this for some time. So we need to have patience. It can take almost 2 months sometimes to see results, so make sure that you pick something and give it a fair chance to work. Constantly changing skin products and treatment can confuse the skin and dry it out making the inflammation worse and simply sensitizing your skin to any kind of treatment.