Adult acne is by no means an uncommon problem. Five percent of all adults over the age of 45 and one in five women between age 25 and 40 experience regular acne breakouts.
Although adult acne may feel like an entirely different situation from the acne you experienced as a teenager, it is quite similar. All acne is caused by the same factors: over-secretion of sebum in the sebaceous glands brought on by an increase in androgens, mixed with bacteria in the pores and the flood of white blood cells to the area that begin the healing process. The result is an inflamed surface pimple or deep, painful cyst.
Adult acne is more challenging to treat due to the special needs of adult skin which may be dry, showing signs of aging or sensitive to acne treatments designed for oilier, teen skin. As we age, collagen production slows down which in turn slows the skin’s healing process, allowing the possibility for scarring. Read on for more information about the causes of adult acne, as well as how to treat adult acne.
What Causes Adult Acne?
Stress – Causes in increase in androgens which stimulate sebaceous glands. Read more about Stress and Acne
Stopping birth control pills – Oral contraceptives contain estrogen and progesterone, hormones which control androgen activity. Acne flares up when the pill is stopped because androgen activity goes up again.
Pregnancy – The androgenic hormone progesterone increases with pregnancy, causing sebaceous glands to be stimulated.
Prescription Drugs – Barbituates (found in sleep aids), Lithium (for treating depression), and corticosteroids are known to cause acne.
Menopause – Strong fluctuations in hormones cause sebaceous gland activity to increase, causing pimples. Androgens (male hormones) have a stronger effect with the dropping of the estrogen (female hormones) levels during menopause.
Oily skin care products and make-up – even though your skin may be dry, the additional oils in your skin care products may not be doing you any good. Look for non-oily alternatives which will hydrate the skin without clogging the pores.
How to Get Rid of Adult Acne – A Few Tips
Take your skin type into consideration when choosing acne treatment products. If you are sensitive or dry, it’s best to use a gentle cleanser and non-alcohol toner along with a calming mask as opposed to the oily skin acne treatments which may cause dryness. Harsh cleansers, toners and scrubs will only irritate the condition.
Drinking at least 8 glasses of 8 ounces of water daily will keep skin hydrated and help dilute the skin’s secretions, preventing pore congestion.
Reducing the fat content of the diet can help slow the increase of sebum in the skin.
Eating foods rich in antioxidant vitamins keeps skin and body healthy.
Speed up cell turnover by using a product that exfoliates not with scratchy grains but with Salicylic Acid or Glycolic Acid.
Consult with a dermatologist if the acne is severe so it can be treated more quickly to avoid scarring.