Adult acne: why Me?!
Acne has been called the bane of teenagers. But as we age we realise that that saying isn’t always true… because acne can also be a bane of adults! Adult acne is unfortunately a common, natural reaction of our skin when it is exposed to oil, dirt and perspiration. Hormonal imbalance can also bring about those nasty red bumps, especially during pregnancy or with the use of meds.
How are acnes formed? Here is a short video:
Women are more prone to adult acnes than men. Women past their 20s, 30s and 40s can still get adult acne. In addition, the Filipino skin so used to the humid environment can react with an acne breakout when we travel to other countries.
Unlike teens who often have theirs concentrated on their ‘T-zones’ (forehead, nose and chin), adult acnes are often more widespread. We can find them on our jaws, around our mouths, neck, chest, back and shoulders. One huge difference is that if we try to pop it, permanent scarring might take place.
Acne is not only painful to touch and difficult to work around with. It also hurts our self-confidence as it could be a target of jokes, pushing some to extreme cases like avoiding social events totally. But this should not be the case if acne is treated correctly.
Here are some short-term and long-term treatments to control adult acne breakout.
Primary treatment (short-term)
- Get rid of teen acne solutions. Teenagers have oilier skin than adults. This means that our skin needs are different from teens. The first step to a primary treatment is to use brands that target adult acnes only.
- Drop oil-based skin products. Pay attention to the labels of the products you use and drop those with oil because additional oil can block the skin’s pores. Get only oil-free or non-comedogenic products for your skin.
- Salicylic acid wash. Skin cleansers with salicylic acid will remove dirt, oil and exfoliate your skin. If the skin becomes too dry, wash your face or affected areas only once a day. Don’t forget to toughen the skin up with SPF lotions as acne creams make it sensitive to the sun.
- Moisturise. Cold weather can shrink up pores and cause the skin to dry out, leading it to be more clogged. Moisturise against biting temperatures to prevent a breakout in regions with colder climates.
- Keep hair off face. Hair has oil, and this oil can contribute to the blocking of the pores on the skin. Tie or clip your hair in place. Who knows, maybe this is also the time to try on shorter, hipper ‘dos!
- Consider pills. For women who are expecting their periods, taking birth control pills with analog hormones can balance out the body’s hormone levels, leading to acne-free skin. But it is better to check with your doctor first before trying this out.
- Visit a dermatologist. The dermatologist will be your best friend, and he or she can prescribe the best topical retinoid, antibiotic and anti-acne cream that’s fit for your age and skin.
Lifestyle changes (long-term)
- Stay away from stress. Daily stress from work can trigger the production of more cortisol, the ‘stress hormone’ that pumps more oil into your skin. Forget and run away from stressful situations or persons. Try to get eight hours of sleep a day, sleepless nights’ exacerbate the detrimental effects of stress.
- Exercise. A simple, 30-minute workout will boost the production of the ‘happy hormone’ endorphins and reduce cortisol in your body. Exercise can also boost the amount of oxygen that gets in the skin cells, making it hard for bacteria to multiply.
- Whole grains and veggies. Stick with food that are rich in vitamins A, B-complex, C, E and have essential fatty acids, zinc, chromium and selenium. Not only are they generally more nutritious than sugar-rich food, they also don’t provoke acne breakouts.
- Control chocolate binges. Sorry folks, a study in April 2013 revealed that chocolate can increase the swelling of the skin during an acne breakout. If you can’t completely drop chocolate from your diet, it will still help to eat less of it.
- Quit smoking. Smokers usually have dry, leathery skin and some develop what is called ‘smoker’s acne’: bumps on the skin that are not inflammatory. Not only is quitting good for the complexion, it also keeps away severe illnesses like cancers and the like.
- Drink more water. Hydrating the inside of your body by drinking more water will help stop pores from clogging up. Limit your intake of dehydrating drinks like coffee and soda, or else double your water intake to balance fluid levels.
No one is immune from acne. But everyone has the power to control them when they breakout by being consistent with the treatment regime. Don’t be discouraged if results to do not come immediately, as many factors contribute to the breakout of acne on the skin. Try all short-term options, and be patient with the long-term treatments. By following them strictly, you’ll soon have an acne-free and a healthy life.