Adult Acne Treatments

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Even though acne is more common in teenagers, it seems that more and more adults are suffering with what is termed adult acne. According to statistics, adult acne affects 25% of adult men and 50% of adult women at some time in their lives. Some sufferers may have had acne as a teenager and see it recur in their twenties, thirties, forties. Other sufferers may have never suffered from acne when they were younger.

Causes of Adult Acne

Acne at any age can be difficult to deal with and can cause embarrassment, anxiety and even depression. Why should adults suddenly develop acne or see it come back? We know that in puberty the increase in the production of sex hormones causes an overproduction of oil in the sebaceous glands. This overproduction of oil can cause acne. However, the causes of adult acne are not well understood, but are thought to include:

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  • Hormonal changes. For women, especially, hormones can fluctuate at any time. Most women are familiar with a breakout of spots occurring premenstrually. It can also happen during pregnancy and menopause. Acne is a common symptom of polycystic ovary syndrome which is itself caused by an imbalance of hormones.
  • Coming off birth control pills. Interestingly, birth control pills contain estrogen and progestins which control acne in women. However, when they stop taking the pills, acne may develop. In fact, birth control pills are often prescribed to treat acne in some women.
  • Stress. Research has found that stress may trigger acne in women. It has also found a relationship between the increased stress levels present in women with fast-paced careers and higher levels of acne. In times of stress, the body produces more androgens which stimulate the sebaceous glands and hair follicles. The resulting overproduction of oil can cause a flare-up of acne.
  • Genetic disposition. People with a family history of acne seem to be genetically predisposed to getting acne.
  • Cosmetics. Another reason why more women seem to suffer with adult acne than men could be to do with cosmetics. Cosmetics contain chemicals that can cause acne. This type of acne is referred to as acne cosmetica and is a mild form of acne which causes small, pink bumps on the cheek, chin and forehead.

When you understand the possible cause of adult acne, then it’s important to seek treatment. Acne, especially in women, can be a warning sign of an underlying medical condition such as polycystic ovaries. However, excluding an underlying medical condition, most adult acne can be effectively controlled with acne treatment.

Treatment Of Adult Acne 

Adult acne treatments usually consists of either topical preparations, or oral medications. Topical preparations can be divided into two main categories: over-the-counter or prescription-only according to how serious the acne. Examples of oral medications are birth control pills, antibiotics and isotretinoin (for more severe cases).

For women who suffer with acne cosmetica, you’re advised to wear as little cosmetics as possible. It you find it difficult to avoid using cosmetics, then wear oil-free mineral-based cosmetics and avoid lanolin. Flesh-tinted acne lotion and loose mineral-based powder can both be used to hide blemishes.

Finally, eat a healthy diet. Some people may say that diet doesn’t play any part in causing acne, but a recent study found a link between diet and acne. The study suggests that eating foods of low glycemic index such as whole grain breads and pasta, legumes, fruits and vegetables helps keep acne at bay. High glycemic foods found in most junk foods and sugary drinks can interfere with insulin levels and result in rising hormones.

Suffering with adult acne is no fun: who wants to feel like a spotty teenager? It’s important to look at why these acne flare-ups are occurring, whether it be through stress or hormonal changes and to seek the most appropriate treatment.

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