The notion that acne is a trouble reserved for puberty no longer holds true with the incidence of adult acne on the rise. In a study published by the Journal of Women’s Health, 45% of participants between the ages of 21 and 30 had acne. While most of us can relate to the passing embarrassment that the occasional blemish can cause, the long term effects of chronic acne can have severe consequences on the self esteem and confidence of sufferers. The challenge that people face with adult-onset acne is understanding that is not caused by the same triggers as adolescent acne and therefore, it requires a different treatment approach. In this article we share the common mistakes people make when they struggle with adult acne and what can be done to treat and clear it.
Adult Acne | How it’s different.
- Teen acne is generally found over the entire face, with higher concentrations of blemishes in the t-zone.
- Adult acne occurs along the cheeks, jawline and chin with occasional blemishes erupting on the nose forehead, hair line and temples.
The sebum production in adolescent acne is more prevalent – often adult acne can be accompanied by concerns with dry skin.The hormonal shifts brought on by puberty that trigger adolescent acne are different from adult acne. Adult acne has been linked to an imbalance in androgen hormones coupled with stress.
Step #1 | Stop attacking your skin.
A common and perfectly natural response to seeing a pimple on our face is to panic and go to extremes in order to be rid of it. In the case of adult acne however, attempting to dry the skin out and avoiding moisturizers and oils can actually make the problem worse. This is why:
As the skin ages, its barrier function is diminished. A compromised barrier causes moisture loss and makes the skin vulnerable to bacteria and pollution. By using at-home products that strip the skin of its natural moisture and refraining from moisturizer use, the barrier function is further compromised. The skin responds accordingly:
- excess oil is produced to compensate
- the skin feels tight and fine lines are visible due to dehydration
- the compromised barrier makes the skin vulnerable to bacteria and breakouts ensue
- the skin is sensitized resulting in a flushed or ruddy skin tone
In the end, our attempts to clear acne can cause further problems and the cycle of breakouts rages on.
The best products for adult acne.
- Drugstore brands still have a ways to go in addressing adult acne. The majority of over the counter acne products are designed with teen acne in mind.
- Popular infomercial regimens (which will remain unnamed) have been touted as acne skin saviors. This may be the case in the beginning, however, the combination of glycolic acid and benzoyl peroxide in these formulations dries out and strips the skin, leading to the problems discussed above.
Rather than naming specific products to treat adult acne, we suggest consulting with a skin expert.
At Collective Skin Care, we offer a 30 minute complimentary consultation called The Collaboration. We analyze your skin, discuss your current skincare regimen and lifestyle in order to make recommendations that suit your skin’s unique needs.
Cosmetic Acupuncture is another invaluable tool to address internal factors that can cause adult acne. Consultations with Dr. Mahsa Ahmadi, DTCM, R.Ac., C.SMAC are also available upon request.
With that in mind, we’ve listed our golden rules for clear skin as a general guideline to follow.
The golden rules of clear skin.
- Wash your skin morning and night with a gentle pH balanced cleanser. Integrating an oil cleanser and/or a Clarisonic® brush are excellent tools to ensure your skin is thoroughly cleansed. Read more about the importance of skin cleansing.
- Always moisturize your skin and protect it with a minimum SPF 30 broad spectrum sunscreen. For those who are concerned with sunscreen clogging their pores, we suggest using a chemical-free sunscreen such as this one.
- Exfoliate regularly with a chemical exfoliant. Exfoliants that rely on alpha hydroxy acids and enzymes are notably more effective than granular exfoliants, for both treating and preventing acne and age prevention. Retinols are another effective exfoliating treatment. Whatever exfoliating regimen you choose, make sure to follow the instructions of a skin expert for the best results.
- DO NOT PICK. What’s worse than a pimple? A pimple that is enlarged, red and scabby. We’ve all been there, but just step away from the mirror the next time you’re tempted to pick and book in for a spa facial instead. Your skin will thank you!
End the cycle.
To get off the blemish cycle takes being guided in a new direction. To learn more about your skin and the best professional treatments and at-home products to clear acne, we welcome you to book a consultation with us. Book online or call 778.228.4275
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