Acne is a skin problem associated with puberty. Most people develop it and experience its wrath during their youthful years. It is disappointing to battle acne again beyond your 20s when you had hoped you’d have smooth, clear skin. Acne affects adults too. But things don’t have to remain this way. There are things you should know that can help you turn your face around.
Moreover, red, inflamed skin with bumps or pimples could result from rosacea. Many people mistake this for acne and use the wrong treatment. However, skincare for rosacea is different from acne. The treatment includes a combination of topical and oral medications and lifestyle changes.
What Causes Acne in Adults?
Several factors lead to adult acne. Some of them are:
• Hormonal fluctuations
More women than men get acne because of reasons unique to them. Pregnancy, menstruation, use of contraceptives, and menopause trigger acne breakout. Estrogen and progesterone levels increase or drop thus, causing acne.
During adolescence, the increase in androgens, especially for men, can stimulate the sebaceous glands. This could lead to a growth in sebum production and the development of acne.
• Chronic stress
Our well-being reflects on our skin. Acne is one of the manifestations of stress. The production of a hormone called androgen increases when we are stressed. It then stimulates the adrenal gland and hair follicles resulting in acne.
Stress can cause an increase in the production of inflammatory molecules called cytokines, which can contribute to the worsening of acne. Additionally, it can cause changes in the skin’s microbiome, the ecosystem of microorganisms that live on the skin. This further contributes to the development of acne.
• Skin products
Skin products are different, depending on how they are constituted. If you don’t understand your skin type and match it with the right product, you will likely experience a breakout.
Certain skin care products, including makeup and facial cleansers, can contribute to acne. Ingredients such as mineral oil, lanolin, and certain waxes can clog pores and trap oil and bacteria on the skin, leading to acne. In addition, products containing alcohol and other astringents can dry out the skin and cause irritation, contributing to acne.
• Underlying health conditions
Adult acne can be a symptom of undiagnosed health issues. One such condition is PCOS-polycystic ovarian syndrome. Gastrointestinal disorders such as celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis have also been linked to the development of acne. An imbalanced level of hormones such as androgens and insulin can also worsen acne.
Treatment for adult acne
1. Routine skincare
Follow these steps in your daily skincare.
• Wash the face with warm water and a gentle cleanser. Lukewarm water helps to lift all dirt from your face.
• Using your hands or a flannel baby cloth, massage the face for 30 seconds in a circular motion. Pay attention to the areas around the nose, jaw, and hairline.
• Massage the face for 30 more seconds to remove any dirt left behind.
• Splash water to rinse the solvent. Use your hands to remove any traces of the cleanser that could have remained on the face.
• Pat dry with a smooth towel. If you rub, you can easily irritate the skin.
2. Use chemical exfoliators
Exfoliation removes dead skin from the face. It leaves the skin soft, tight, and bright. This helps to reduce breakout by preventing the pores from clogging. If you are struggling with acne, mechanical means of exfoliation that use brush and scrubs is not for you.
Instead, opt for chemical means because they do not contain abrasive agents. Chemical exfoliators contain enzymes and acids that dissolve, loosen, and disintegrate the bonds which hold dead skin cells. Look for product labels with non-comedogenic, which means they do not clog pores. Other products will read non-acnegenetic, meaning the skincare product does not cause break out.
Also, check for retinol and Retin-A, which helps keep the skin clear and wrinkle-free. Be careful while using these products because they can burn the mucous membrane. It is advisable first to test it and exfoliate at least once a week.
3. Light therapy
Modern technology that uses phototherapy options can help to treat acne in adults. Visible light therapy comes in two-fold: blue light and red light therapy.
The blue light wavelength has an antimicrobial effect that helps to destroy several types of bacteria that cause acne. On the other hand, red light therapy facilitates the healing process. It also helps to conceal the acne scars. Additionally, the red light therapy works deeper under the skin to help soothe and rejuvenate the tissues. Dermatologists recommend it for those with chronic skin issues.
The sessions last for 15-20 minutes, where simple light devices are applied to different parts of your face in a circular motion. After several repeats of this procedure, the session is over.
4. Use of supplements
Zinc can help treat acne. It decreases the production of oil in the skin, therefore, protecting it against bacterial infections. Consult the doctor before you begin taking your daily amounts. Another supplement that can help treat acne is vitamin A. It is an antioxidant that eliminates free radicals that cause skin aging. It also helps to clear clogged skin cells and aids in the healing process.
Always consult your dermatologist when you think your acne is getting out of hand.