If you are one of many people who suffered with acne as a teenager, you probably thought that once you hit your 20’s acne would be a thing of the past. Instead, as you grew older, those acne problems didn’t go away so easily. Or, perhaps, you never experienced break outs in your teens but now, well into adulthood, you are having to deal with acne. Whatever the case, having to deal with acne as an adult is not only very frustrating but embarrassing. The truth is, men and especially women in their 30’s, 40’s and 50’s are in a constant battle with adult acne. Although this may seem like a horrible nightmare, knowing what may possibly trigger your breakouts can put you on the road to recovery and help you gain (or regain) some control over your skin.
What is acne?
Acne is an inflammatory skin disorder in which hair follicles become clogged with dead skin cells and oil. This leads to pores becoming blocked and inflamed, thus causing a comedo. You know it as pesky whiteheads, blackheads, or pimples. What is the difference between these three types of comedones? When pores become completely clogged with sebum and remains closed, a whitehead forms. If the pore remains partially closed, still allowing sebum to escape, a blackhead will form. The black/grey color forms because of exposure to oxygen in the air, thus reacting to the exposed pore. When whiteheads and blackheads become infected, a pimple forms.
Causes of Adult Acne
There are many causes of adult acne which include having a reaction to medication, cosmetics, and not having the proper skin care routine. Below are other causes that you may not have considered.
- Heredity. The truth is, if you have a first line relative such as a parent or sibling who has had issues with acne, you may be genetically predisposed to getting adult acne.
- Stress. Our hectic, fast paced lifestyles can definitely wreak havoc on our looks. Stress raises our level of cortisol, a hormone which is linked to testosterone. High levels of testosterone is linked to acne.
- Hormones. We all know that hormones, particularly in women fluctuate throughout the month. When these levels change, there is usually an increase in oil production. Increased hormone levels lead to clogged pores, allowing bacteria growth thus causing inflammation and breakouts. These hormonal fluctuations can also happen to women who are premenstrual, pregnant, or have just given birth, perimenopausal, or who are starting/stopping birth control pills.
- Sugar. There are ongoing studies that show a possible link between certain foods in our diet and breakouts. A diet high in refined and added sugars can cause blood sugar to soar causing spike in the hormone insulin so that your cells can absorb the sugar. It’s not just that candy bar, it’s other simple carbs such as bread, chips, and pasta (consumed on a regular basis) that can contribute to this spike in insulin causing inflammation in the gut and skin. You can discover good foods you can eat for healthy, glowing skin.
- Hair and Skin Products. Be mindful of the composition of ingredients in your favorite hair and skincare products. Many include ingredients that are too heavy and irritating and can lead to clogged pores which leads to adult acne.
Solutions For Acne
There are many over the counter (OTC) solutions for the treatment of acne. If OTC remedies do not give desired results, it is suggested that you see a doctor or dermatologist.
- Retinol. A derivative of vitamin A, retinol is anti-aging, anti-inflammatory and acne fighting. Although retinol gets a bad rap for causing irritation in some, in the right amount, retinol helps diminish fine lines, wrinkles and scarring. It also acts as an exfoliator, allowing new skin to form. For optimal results, use retinol at night and use a sunscreen during the day. Natura Bisse Essential Shock Intense Retinol Fluid.
- Sulfur. Sulfur, which is a natural mineral, dries the skin and makes the epidermis thinner. These are important characteristics because those with adult acne tend to have thicker, more textured skin than those with dryer to normal skin types. Sulfur is antimicrobial (kills acne bacteria), takes down inflammation, reduces oiliness and is great for mild blemishes to moderate acne. Sublime Beauty Oil Control Sulfur Mask.
- Benzoyl Peroxide. Although benzoyl peroxide may be too strong for some, it is great for killing the bacteria that causes adult acne. For optimal results, benzoyl peroxide is best used on a continuous basis because it prevents pores from becoming blocked. Paula’s Choice Clear Extra Strength Daily Skin Clearing Treatment.
- Salicylic Acid. This beta hydroxy acid which is at the core of most acne treatments, is derived from naturally occurring willowbark. This anti-inflammatory ingredient goes deep into the pores to exfoliate and dissolves the cement that holds the sticky cells together. Salicylic acid does not kill bacteria so it’s great to partner with benzoyl peroxide. Boscia Clear Complexion Willow Bark Spot Treatment.
- Light Therapy. Light therapy is a non-invasive option for those with mild to moderate acne which can prove to be very effective. Light therapy consists of using visible light (blue and red) to treat acne. There are professional, as well as, at-home therapy options. How does light therapy work? Blue light penetrates deep into the pores to kill bacteria and to reduce the appearance of active breakouts. Red light stimulates collagen, is anti-aging and takes down inflammation and reduces oil production. Neutrogena Light Therapy Acne Mask.
Are you struggling with adult acne? What are some of the ways you deal with breakouts? Leave your comments below.