Monday, March 19th, 2012
We think of acne as the bane of youth, but it commonly occurs in adulthood as well. About 25 percent of men and 50 percent of women develop acne at some point in their adult lives. One third of adults affected by facial acne have acne on other parts of their bodies, as well. Here at Peer Group in Florham Park, New Jersey, we see many cases of adult acne. Interestingly, an article that appeared in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science not long ago found “recent epidemiological studies show that there appears to be an increase in post-adolescent acne, and that the disease is lasting longer and requiring treatment well into the mid-forties.”
The root causes of adult acne are unknown, but hormones, cosmetics and stress are thought to play roles. An increase in bacteria strains resistant to antibiotics may also be a factor. Women often experience pre-menstrual flare-ups, often around the mouth and chin. In adults as in adolescents, acne can cause depression and social anxiety. But adult acne should not be treated the same way as adolescent acne. Treating adult acne can be a challenge, because many acne skin care products are geared for teens and the oily skin that often contributes to the formation of adolescent acne. But these skin care treatments are a poor choice for adults’ drier skin. Here are the basics of skin care for acne in adults:
Cleansers, Creams and lotions – Over-the-counter retinol products can clean pores and reduce fine lines. Products with salicylic acid and glycolic acid – natural acids – can prevent discoloration and reduce acne scars. Avoid cleansers with granules and abrasives. Benzoyl peroxide is an effective treatment for breakouts, as it can kill bacteria that cause acne.
Prescription acne medications – Antibiotic topical ointments including clindamycin, tetracycline taken orally – oral contraceptives and spironolactone, a blood pressure medication, can help stabilize hormones and often provide relief from adult acne. A gel containing the antibiotic dapsone can help fight infection and inflammation
Laser and intense pulsed light treatments – These treatments can help heal acne scars, and blue light lasers can kill bacteria that cause acne.
With the range of treatment options available, adult acne sufferers can get effective help for this condition. Just check the qualifications of the facility and physicians carefully to be sure they are qualified to offer the full spectrum of adult acne therapies.