If you’re one of the growing number of adults faced with nonstop blemishes or chronic breakouts, you know all too well that acne isn’t simply a teenage problem. On the contrary, acne — which rates as the most common skin condition in the United States — also affects adults of all ages, ranging from young adults in their 20s and 30s to middle-aged adults in their 40s or even 50s.
Whether it’s an unresolved problem that began when you were in high school or it emerged for the first time well after your teen years were over, adult acne can be particularly stressful and frustrating.
If you’re getting acne as an adult, your breakouts and flare-ups may be related to hormonal fluctuations, stress, genetics, or even your normal skin care routine. While you might be tempted to simply allow each breakout to run its course, letting persistent acne go untreated can lead to permanent skin discoloration, visible scarring, and reduced self-confidence in social situations.
Here at Dermatology Associates of Central New Jersey, we’ve helped many adults overcome chronic acne and restore clear, blemish-free skin. Here’s what you should know about adult acne, including what you can do to get rid of it for good.
Why do I have adult acne?
At its surface, acne develops when hair follicles become clogged with oil and dead skin cells. It can become deeply inflamed or turn into painful cysts when bacteria that live on your skin gets inside these oil-clogged pores and begins to multiply.
Although acne actually is more common among teenagers, the problem has become more widespread among adults. Women, in particular, are more likely to experience breakouts in their 20s and beyond.
Although the basic mechanisms of adult acne are the same (oil-clogged hair follicles), certain factors are thought to trigger chronic breakouts or help perpetuate the cycle. Adult acne has been linked to:
Shifting hormones — such as the kind women typically experience around their periods, during pregnancy, throughout menopause, or after discontinuing the use of hormonal birth control medication — have all been associated with adult acne.
Ongoing stress can cause your body to increase its production of androgens, male hormones that actively stimulate your skin’s oil glands and hair follicles. Research shows that adults who are under constant stress are more likely to experience ongoing acne flare-ups.
Research suggests that some adults have a genetic predisposition for acne, meaning if your parent, sibling, grandparent, or cousin has a chronic acne problem, you may be more likely to develop one, too.
Skin care products and medication
Certain skin care products and medications can also trigger or exacerbate adult acne. To help ensure your skin care routine isn’t the source of your problem, make sure every product you use is labeled as either non-comedogenic, non-acnegenic, or oil-free.
Likewise, if you think your acne may be a side effect of a specific prescription medication, talk with the physician who prescribed it, and finds out if there’s a more skin-friendly option.
What can I do to get rid of adult acne?
Chronic adult acne can seem like a never-ending problem: Just as one breakout clears up, a new one emerges. To reduce your risk of sustaining lasting skin damage, it’s important to begin a customized acne treatment protocol as early as possible. Even though acne can’t be cured, it can be greatly minimized and kept under control.
Effective adult acne care usually combines two or more targeted treatments, ranging from oral medication and powerful topical creams to in-office skin rejuvenation treatments and detailed skin care recommendations. Photodynamic light therapy, which is an ideal solution for adults with moderate acne, uses a special blue light to destroy the acne-causing bacteria growing in your pores.
Another excellent way to manage adult acne and prevent flare-ups is by implementing a solid skin care routine. You should:
- Wash your skin twice a day, as well as after sweating
- Use your fingertips to gently apply a nonabrasive cleanser
- Use alcohol-free, oil-free products that don’t irritate your skin
- Avoid scrubbing your skin, which can make acne worse
- Keep your hands off your face, and don’t pick at pimples
- Minimize your sun exposure, especially if you take medication
At Dermatology Associates of Central New Jersey, we take a comprehensive, personalized approach that’s designed to eliminate breakouts, brighten your complexion, and improve the texture of your skin.
If adult acne is making you feel self-conscious, give us a call at one of our three convenient office locations in Old Bridge, Union, or Freehold, New Jersey. Alternatively, use our easy online booking tool to schedule an appointment with one of our top-rated dermatologists.