Acne can be extremely frustrating, especially for adults. A few pimples when you’re a teenager, ok- most of us can accept that as normal. When you’re dealing with a Mt. Vesuvius-sized cystic pimple on your chin plus wrinkles, it just doesn’t seem fair.
Many adults who get acne never suffered with acne as a teenager. Some adults have been suffering with acne for decades. So why do adults get acne?
Reasons for adult acne
First off, women tend to get adult acne more often than men, so unfair. If you’re suffering from acne as an adult it is likely due to one of the following:
Crazy Hormones: Hormonal imbalance can lead to breakouts. Women tend to experience fluctuations around their period, during pregnancy, menopause or starting/stopping birth control pills.
Stress: When you’re stressed, your body produces more androgens (a type of hormone). These hormones stimulate more oil and hair follicles in the skin, which can lead to acne.
Family History: Yep, thank your mama for this one. Research suggests that some people have a genetic predisposition for acne.
Skin Care Products: Your thick anti-aging night cream could be making your acne worse. Make sure you are using moisturizers, cleansers and sunscreens that are “non-comedogenic”, aka won’t clog pores.
Medication Side Effect: Acne is a side effect of some medications. If you suspect that a medication is making your acne worse talk to the doctor who prescribed it for you. They may be able to change the medication you are on.
How to treat adult acne
Cleansers: Make sure you cleanse your skin every day. Don’t let dirt, grime, make-up and pollution build up and clog your pores.
Over the counter treatments: Using a face wash or applying an anti-acne gel can help kill bacteria and reduce oil, both of which are contributors to acne. Look for products at the drugstore with the following ingredients: Benzoyl Peroxide, Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs), Salicylic Acid and Retinols. If you don’t see an improvement with your acne after 4-8 weeks, it is suggested to see a Dermatology professional to determine the most appropriate treatment.
Topical Treatments: There are probably 30+ different prescription topical treatments to choose from. We consider factors like your skin type, age and severity of acne when choosing the right cream for you.
Oral Medications: If you suffer from swollen, painful, cystic acne, a pill may be prescribed to help treat your acne from the inside out. Depending on my patients needs, I prescribe antibiotics, birth control (helpful for women with balancing hormones), or Isotretinoin (commonly known as Accutane).