7 Facts You Need To Know About Adult Acne

As an aesthetic doctor, I meet many patients with adult acne, and they are often very perplexed and troubled by it.

"I'm 35!" One woman tells me. "I haven't had acne for 15 years!"

One gentleman has lived with acne that has covered his cheeks and chin since he was 13.

Another woman wants to know how she can prevent the recurring acne that appears on her face every month just before her period. As a person who has many social engagements, having pimples greatly affects her self-confidence.






Combating adult acne can be very different than the treatment for teenage acne. Here are 10 things you should know about adult acne, and how to overcome it.


1. Adult Acne Is More Common Than You Think

Although most people think that acne is something exclusive to the teenage years, more adults have acne than you may realize. An estimated 25 - 40% of men have some form of adult acne, and for women, the figure is more than 50%.  Some people in their 50s can also get acne. 

2. Adult Acne Is Often Not The Same As Teenage Acne

Teenage acne tends to occur mostly around the forehead areas, and consist mostly of whiteheads or blackheads that are a result of clogged pores. Adult acne tends to appear mostly on the lower and middle parts of the face. They appear as bigger and deeper nodules or red papules that recur often in the same areas. 
Some people do have acne that has not been resolved since their teenage years, and this is most common amongst men. 

3. For Women, Hormonal Changes Are Most Likely Causing Your Acne

Women often find the onset of acne occurs with hormonal changes during menstruation, pregnancy and menopause. It can also occur when you start or stop a contraceptive regimen, or change from one type to another (eg. from the Pill to using an inter-uterine device). 

A severe case of acne can indicate hormonal imbalances or even serious problems such as poly-cystic ovarian syndrome, so don't hesitate to consult with your doctor if you have any concerns. Some women opt to control or correct hormonal imbalances with hormone treatments such as contraceptive pills, some of which are designed to control acne as well as provide contraception.

4. Male Acne Is Often A Response To Improper Skincare 

Men tend to have the thicker, oilier skin that they had as teenagers for longer, and improper skin cleansing or treatment can exacerbate that. Should acne suddenly appear unexpectedly, it tends to be a form of skin irritation. 


5. High GI Foods And Dairy Intake Are Linked To Acne Breakouts

High glycemic index foods such as refined carbohydrates and foods high in processed sugar causes insulin levels in your body to fluctuate, which can lead to hormonal imbalances. A low-GI diet has been shown to promote the reduction in acne problems among adolescent males. Avoid foods such as sugary can drinks, cakes, pastries, chocolate and refined grains such as white flour, white rice and noodles. Instead, eat more fruit, vegetables, wholemeal grains and brown rice. 
  
A 2009 Harvard School of Public Health study found strong evidence of a link between drinking milk and the presence of acne. Hormones in milk may be playing havoc with your hormonal balances, so it is worth a try to restrict the amount of milk in your diet, to see if your acne improves. All types of milk can trigger acne, but processed milks such as skim milk and low-fat milk can increase your risk: skim milk drinkers have a 44% increased risk of developing blemishes. For more information, visit this website by a dermatologist who explains the link between milk and acne. 


6. Chose The Right Skincare Products

The right skincare products can do a lot to improve the condition of your acne. Using the right cleansers can help to reduce the presence of acne-causing bacteria, as well as helping to reduce the sebum that is causing the clogging of pores. The most effective cleansers contain bezoyl peroxide or salycylic acid and should be used twice daily. Topical treatments that you can try include clindamycin (antibacterial) cream, dapsone  (antiinflammatory) gel, and retinoid (Vitamin A derivative) creams. Tea tree oil can also be a great topical application that can help to reduce the acne inflammation quickly. For severe cases, a doctor may prescribe oral antibiotics or anti-acne treatments such as isotretinoin (Accutane). 

Always choose non-comedogenic skincare products. Sunscreen is important for acne sufferers because UV light can worsen the scarring effect of acne blemishes. Always look for sunscreen that is noncomedogenic, and all make-up products should be carefully chosen for acne-prone skin as well. If you regularly get acne blemishes, proper cleanliness of makeup products and equipment is also something to consider - so do not share products with others, and ensure you cleanse your face and hands well before using regularly cleansed makeup brushes and powders. 


7. Your Cosmetic Doctor Can Help Improve Your Acne

There are many treatments for acne that we can try. The Omnilux combination light therapy is one such example. Blue light wavelengths kill the bacteria that cause inflammation, and can be a calming and soothing way to quickly and effectively treat acne cases. Often this is supplemented by red light therapy, which is a healing wavelength, proven to help improve cellular repair and reduce inflammation. 


The Omnilux Combination Therapy Can Help Heal Even Severe Acne Cases

Many other laser therapies also help to combat acne by the use of light or heat to kill bacteria, reduce inflammation, and control the hyperactivity of sebum glands. Examples of these include Fotona Q-Max , Sciton BBL  and Isolaz, all of which I have tested and found to be effective for acne treatment. Isolaz is especially effective for large, cystic acne, as it combines light therapy with a vacuum system that clears out and treats acne pustules individually. 

--- Cosmetic Medicine, MD

Dr. Liow Tiong Sin is an aesthetic practitioner who practices in Kuala Lumpur and Melaka, Malaysia. He has more than 13 years of expertise with non-surgical cosmetic treatments, and conducts training courses for other doctors from all around Asia. 
To connect with Dr. Liow, Like Cosmedmd's Facebook page, visit Beverly Wilshire Medical Centre's website at http://www.beverlywilshiremedical.com or drop him an email at cosmedmd@gmail.com



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