More than half of women get adult acne in their twenties, and nearly 40% get it in their 30s. So why are the pimples of our teen years coming back to haunt us? And what’s the best way for us to prevent and treat adult acne?
Causes of adult acne
No matter what age you get them, acne is caused by a simple thing: pores are clogged by oil, skin cells and bacteria.
During our teen years, our hormones cause our oil glands to go on overdrive. Unfortunately, hormonal fluctuations continue to affect us the rest of our lives. During our periods, our estrogen levels go down causing an imbalance of testosterone. Testosterone affects oil production, which increases our risk for clogged pores. That’s why many women get breakouts during That Time of the Month.
Testosterone levels can also be affected by what we eat. Studies show that it goes up when we have a high-glycemic diet (think pasta, rice and pastries!) or hormone-rich food like dairy. It doesn’t mean that food can “cause” acne, but if you are already prone to it, your diet can be the tipping point that leads to a breakout.
Another hormone that causes acne is cortisol. This is the stress hormone, and adult life can bring on lots of stress! You may notice breakouts when you’re under a lot of pressure at work, or haven’t gotten a lot of sleep because of deadlines. Stress also makes us turn to habits that aren’t helping our skin: skipping meals and eating high carb junkfood, drinking coffee (a diuretic, which leaves the skin dehydrated), even falling asleep with our makeup on because we are just so tired.
Treatments for adult acne
The acne products that worked when we were teenagers may not work for us when we’re older. Our skin has changed over the years. For example, it may have become more sensitive, and will react to harsh astringents and aggressive creams. Some ingredients may also dry out the skin – and older skin needs as much moisture as possible to keep fine lines and wrinkles at bay!
Use an effective but gentle acne treatment that can also address the skin concerns of older women: dryness, dullness, and early signs of ageing. Also be proactive about post inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH). Since our cell renewal slows down and melanin production goes up, it’s harder to fade acne marks and post-breakout blemishes.
Treatments for adult acne
Our clinic offers many solutions for adult acne. Lasers can prevent and treat acne and acne marks. The focused heat energy can kill acne-causing bacteria and gently clear pores, or break down the melanin from post-breakout spots.
Our clinic also offers Agnes, which selectively treats the problematic pores without irritating or drying the rest of the face. Researchers found that this was able to successfully treat 83% of non-inflamed acne and 93% of inflamed acne. If you notice the acne tends to appear in the same parts of your face, Agnes may be a good option to keep breakouts from reoccurring. It’s also a safe option for those who are pregnant or have rosacea.