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ou may have outgrown some things from your teenage years: the braces, rebellious nature, and awkward in-between transition, but there`s one thing some of us can`t run away from: adult acne.
"Usually acne starts at puberty; from ten to 17 years old in males and 14 to 19 years old in females, but an estimated 20% of men and 30% of women suffer from acne breakouts from 25 years old and beyond,"
Adult acne, just like teenage breakouts, is caused by sebum, that oily substance produced by our skin`s sebaceous glands. When pores are clogged by an excess amount of sebum, they become a target of bacteria, thereby causing an inflammationmore commonly known as a breakout.
But the causes of the overproduction of sebum in adulthood vary, and such inflammation can last for days, weeks, or even months.
Some men and women are simply predisposed to breakouts, while others experience acne in waves or stages, such as menstrual cycles and bouts of stress. Other external factors such as touching your face and using face cosmetics or hair products that don`t agree with your skin type are also considerations. internal factors such as medication (i.e. steroids, anti-epileptic drugs, and iodides, to name a few) can also affect your skin`s behavior. And although not experienced by many, a high glycemic index diet as well as some dairy products can also stimulate sebum overproduction. Endocrine disorders that affect the balance of hormones (especially androgens or "male hormones")
With the numerous causes of adult breakouts, treatment can be challenging because targeting the trigger may take some time. Nevertheless, here are some approaches:
Exfoliation. Preventing blockage of pores lessens the chances of bacteria build up and inflammation, so use a mild scrub to slough off and discard the oil build up. If your skin is sensitive to even the gentlest of granules, ask your dermatologist for salicylic or glycolic acid recommendations, which exfoliate skin very lightly.
Spot treatment. Bacteria-killing treatments such as benzoyl peroxide puts an end to sebum production. However, teenage skin is oilier than adult skin, so applying drying treatments all over the skin may bring more problems. Instead, use the treatment only on the specific affected spot, to avoid over drying the complexion.
Prescription Medication. Other acne-suffering adults can turn to medication for more dramatic results. Topical antibiotics such as clindamycin and tetracycline can help kill bacteria, but discuss this with a trusted dermatologist instead of venturing on self-medication. For dire cases of acne, hormonal manipulation or replacement may be the solution, but you will need to seek help from your OB gynecologist or endocrinologist rather than your dermatologist in this case.
Finding the solution to adult acne may be frustrating, but don`t worry. Between 85 to 100% individuals will experience acne at some point in their lives, and given the medical and scientific advancements (even in your favorite skincare products) and alternative choices, there will always be a solution.