Acne is often thought of as a teenager’s problem, but the reality is this skin condition can affect you at any age and even become a chronic problem that follows you throughout your adult life. While the primary reason you get pimples is the same whether you’re a kid or a parent, there are some differences that determine your risk for developing acne as you age.
What causes teenage and adult acne?
Your skin contains a waxy, oily substance called sebum that moisturizes your skin. When sebum combines with dead skin cells, your pores become clogged and attract bacteria. This causes the growth of whiteheads, blackheads, and pimples near the skin’s surface or deeper within the skin. These deep pimples can become painful and may take awhile to go away.
You may also be more prone to developing acne if your family has a history of it. Those with parents who have oily skin or large pores may be more susceptible to developing chronic acne themselves as either a teen or an adult, or both.
Another factor in acne involves your hormones. Acne is common in the teenage years as puberty causes acne-triggering hormones to surge through the body. Hormone-related breakouts are also common in pregnancy and when using hormonal birth control. When hormonal changes eventually level out, acne breakouts become less common. This is the primary reason why you may have bad acne as a teen but not as an adult.
If you don’t properly remove makeup or if you go overboard on lotions and oils, you may be at increased risk for frequent acne breakouts.
How should teens and adults care for acne?
Acne breakouts should be handled the same regardless of your age. It is important to keep your skin clean and free of bacteria, using gentle cleansers that won’t irritate current bouts of acne. For some people, acne goes beyond the face. You may develop breakouts on your back, chest, and other areas of the body that will also need daily cleansing with gentle, acne-specific products.
Avoiding acne irritants besides soaps and cleaners is also important. Some studies also indicate that dairy products and refined sugars can result in acne due to the hormones found in these products. If you wear makeup, look for oil-free products and those that are designed specifically to treat or prevent acne.
Both teens and adults should look for anti-acne products with:
- Salicylic acid: removes dead skin cells before they can be infected with bacteria
- Glycolic acid: removes dirt and oil for the skin
- Benzoyl peroxide: kills pimple-causing bacteria
- Retinols: can help prevent new pimples
When it comes to adult acne treatments, there are some additional treatments that can effectively battle acne and prevent scars. These treatments, available at Dermatology of Boca include:
LED Photodynamic treatments
The light therapies target acne-causing bacteria and the production of excess sebum that cause clogged pores. These treatments can help clear current acne outbreaks and prevent future ones.
Excel V and Laser Genesis are both effective at treating acne by destroying bacteria on contact. Laser treatments can also shrink your oil glands to prevent clogging and future acne breakouts. Lasers are also able to reach deeper layers of your skin without causing damage to your skin.
Glycolic peels are useful in removing dead skin cells from the outer and middle layers of your skin to prevent clogged pores and future acne outbreaks.
If adult acne is hurting your self-confidence and you are looking for professional help, Dr. Jeffrey Fromowitz can evaluate your skin and recommend appropriate skin care treatments and procedures to treat acne and reduce the potential for scarring.